Koach: What I Learned about Jewish Values from the RAC Experience by Aaron

AaronGIt is imperative to fight for what you believe is right and what you value. In February, I attended the Religious Action Center’s L’Taken Social Justice seminar with my TRT confirmation class. Through this experience, I learned to appreciate specific Jewish values and beliefs. The Religious Action Center, also known as the “RAC”, is the Washington DC office of the Union for Reform Judaism and has about 900 member congregations including Temple Rodeph Torah..

During the trip, my classmates and I worked in the Capitol Hill offices of our senators and representatives, urging them to vote to help the homeless and support civil liberties. I learned that it is our duty as Jews and human beings to keep the world in the best shape we possibly can. For example, global warming and pollution have become big problems and it is important that we work to resolve these issues. The concept of repairing the world is known as Tikkun Olam. Through lobbying during the RAC trip, my classmates and I performed Tikkun Olam. We lobbied Congress and urged them to take action by cutting down pollution caused by emissions into the air. From this experience I learned just how much Jews value repairing and making this broken world better. I learned this first hand by joining with hundreds of other reform Jews on the RAC trip and lobbying Congress together to repair the world.

            One of the first things we did on the trip was listen to two formerly homeless people speak about the adversity and poverty they have faced throughout their lives. Their stories surprised me because they said that nobody tried to help them, including the government. From this, I learned just how important tzedakah is. Tzedakah can be done in many ways, but in this case it means helping the needy. My classmates and I lobbied the government to set up better programs for the homeless. I learned how important it is to give to people who are in need.

            By letting our voices be heard, I am confident that in the long run, we will make a difference. Whether it is something small or big, one can repair the world one small step at a time. Overall, I learned some important Jewish values from the RAC trip that will benefit me and others in the future.