Eleventh graders at Herzl-RMHA traveled to Washington, DC, Nov. 15-20, to participate in the Panim: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values seminar.
Panim aspires to educate and empower Jewish youth to a lifetime of activism, leadership and service on behalf of the Jewish people and society at large through the integration of Jewish values, learning and social responsibility.
In addition to the Panim seminar, the Herzl-RMHAstudents took part in several other activities while in the nations capitol.
During a visit to Capitol Hill, one group met with Sen. Mark Udall and others met with an aide of Rep. Diana DeGette.
The students talked to the senator about everything from health care reform to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the economy to homeless issues, said Jerry Rotenberg, program director of special activities and student council, and one of the chaperones of the trip.
The students also toured the US Capitol with Justin Kutner, brother of 11th grade student Mia Kutner. Justin is an intern for Rep. Jared Polis.
They visited the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, explored the Smithsonian Museums on the National Mall, and had a tour of George Washington University, where they met with Herzl-RMHA alumni Mathew Mehrian 09 and Elad Warren 09.
As part of the trip, the 11th graders also participated in a homeless program called Street Torah, in which students bring socks and gloves to homeless people in the parks of Washington, DC, and spend time talking with them.
The most memorable part of the DC trip for me was Street Torah, said Samantha Berenstein.
We gave away items to homeless people, which was wonderful, but more than that, we took the time to talk to them and hear their stories.
Before we went on this activity, we had a homeless panel that discussed the issue with us, and their main trouble resulted from the fact that people gave very little mind to them as human beings.
They reminded us that it is always important to make someone feel worthwhile, because without that, it is hard to take the next step forward in life.
Information: Alana Story, (720) 449-9550.