A Day of Canvassing
Posted on 11/06/2012 @ 08:34 PM
The second day of Voice Your Vote consisted of a full day of canvassing for both candidates. The teens chose which candidate they wanted to campaign for in advance and were split up into teams to cover as much ground as possible. The mission today was not to persuade people to vote for one candidate or the other, but rather to get out the vote.
Jeremy Witchel, 15 years old of BBYO KMR chose to canvass for the Obama Biden campaign and felt extremely passionate about today’s experience:
“It was a really meaningful experience because I never thought about politics. All of my friends have political debates, and I didn’t know how to get involved. After this, I feel I can actually participate in discussions. I learned a lot about how politics work and the Electoral College. It was nice to see my actions from door to door reflect the actual election.”
Casey Lampert, 15 years old of BBYO NTO, who worked on behalf of the Romney Ryan campaign, had her own sentiment to share:
“Before coming here, I only knew that I did not want the incumbent to be reelected, which is why I chose to campaign for the opposite candidate. After working with Romney’s supporters, I actually feel like I do support him. It gave me a better grasp on the issues in a way that I fully understood as opposed to the way they are presented on TV, which are not accessible to teenagers.”
Voting & Judaism
Posted on 11/05/2012 @ 09:40 PM
Before getting into the fundamentals of core election issues, one question sparked a thoughtful conversation. Seventeen-year-old Rosie Lenoff from Northern Virginia asked, “Why does my Judaism matter when it comes to voting?”
Elissa Koppel, 16 years old from Shorewood, WI, had a response. Elissa feels that “we’re raised as Jews with a certain belief system and are taught to take that belief system and express it to others. As Jews, we have a duty to help others and by sharing our beliefs via voting, we are helping them understand issues the way we do.”
Rosie listened to Elissa’s reply and later, when the question was brought up again, she said, “I am very passionate about my Judaism – I want to become a rabbi – but I believe in the separation of church and state. How can we say other people’s views are wrong when we as Jews are so proud of supporting certain sides of issues just because we are Jewish?”
This is just one of many examples where teens at Voice Your Vote have gotten the chance to voice their own opinions. More to come…
Vote Your Voice 2012 Kicks Off in Cleveland
Posted on 11/05/2012 @ 09:33 PM
Today marked the first day of BBYO’s three-day Vote Your Voice Teen Summit in Cleveland, OH. Nearly 100 teens gathered from across the country to learn about and discuss election issues and how they relate to Jewish values. Four Teen Coordinators played integral roles in both the planning and execution of this unique and exciting event: Brad Honigberg, Sofie Jacobs, Sierra Lash and Gary Levine.
After a full day of animated political and social dialogue, the Teen Coordinators have some thoughts to share:
Brad Honigberg, 18 years old, from Mequon, WI was “pleasantly surprised at how knowledgeable people were about the issues and how open they were to hearing other sides. Even though there were differing opinions, there were no arguments.”
The best thing about today for Sofie Jacobs, 16 years old, from Rockville, MD was that “we were preparing ourselves for the work we’re doing tomorrow [with the Obama Biden and Romney Ryan campaigns] and exposing ourselves to new opinions that we may not have considered before.”
For Sierra Lash, 17 years old, from Oakland, CA, “the most exciting part of the day was, after coming from an extremely liberal background, talking to other Jewish teens with divergent opinions. It was really insightful to see how my peers interpret issues differently than I do.”
Gary Levine, 16 years old, from Dallas, TX was “pleased with how the participants were excited to be engaged. They were so passionate about everything. The programming went smoothly, too!”
Tomorrow, the teens will spend the entire day with the campaign of their choice, helping encourage Ohioans to get out and vote!
Welcome to Panim el Panim!
Posted on 07/10/2012 @ 03:00 PM
Welcome to the Panim el Panim Blog!
At Panim el Panim seminars and programs teens from across the country meet, learn from and become friends with a broad network of Jewish teens from around the country. Together they receive advocacy training, participate in service learning and have the opportunity to lobby their elected officials on Capitol Hill, putting what they have learned into action. All Panim el Panim seminars include interactive sessions in which students relate Jewish texts and values to the world around them. In the 2012 - 2013 school year The BBYO Panim Institute is adding new and excited additions to the traditional Panim el Panim offerings.
Upcoming 2012 - 2013 dates include: November 11 - 14, 2012 Pluralistic Day School Seminar December 2 -5, 2012 Orthodox Day School Seminar February 17 - 20, 2013 Community Seminar March 17 -20, 2013 Community Seminar
This is the Place to Keep Up With Panim el Panim!
A Reflection on the 2012 HRGS Experience
Posted on 06/12/2012 @ 08:00 PM
Jewish teenagers sitting around a room talking about the Holocaust, sad but typical. Truth be told that the instance I am describing is anything but typical. To start the people present have come from all over, from DC to Florida, and Pennsylvania, to England. We're a small group of less than 30 teens, but the lack of size is made up for with an unexpected amount of sincerity and devotion to the matters at hand.
While the Holocaust was talked about and the students did take a visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the exhibit visited was that of later genocides. For children raised in the mindset that atrocities do happen, and that we must remember and say “never again.” It was refreshing, but also devastating to see how never again reoccurred in places like Rwanda, Sudan, and Bosnia.
Going to the Capitol, lobbying with congressmen, participating in a congressional simulation, and being lectured on the politics of the United Nations, was one of the most disheartening, yet inspiring experiences. It proved that as the youth of the world, action is desperately needed. For some this might make the situation seem hopeless, but after listening to speakers on human trafficking, modern slavery, and child soldiers, it felt like to not care or want to help was impossible.
Throughout the course of the summit information was presented, but there was never a “right answer” given, allowing everyone to come to their own conclusion. Regardless of how we each identified politically we were all able to reach a middle ground while lobbying on Capitol Hill (something American’s politicians constantly fail to do).
For teenagers false advertising and cliched promotions are insufferable, but participating in the BBYO Human Rights and Genocide Conference helped prove to its participants that living in a country there are certain liberties guaranteed that many will never have, and that people must fight for what they believe in.
-Ashira Naftali-Greer, 2012 HRGS Participant