By Gabrielle Boloker
Today marked the first day we would encounter a speaker that would challenge us and that most of us would disagree with. We began the day by having a group discussion on the topic of abortion in which we got to share our views, opinions and thoughts. After a four hour bus ride in which we watched a hysterical, but also thought provoking, movie about the effects of religious fundamentalism called “Saved”, we finally reached Dallas.
The first place we went was to meet with Operation Rescue, a Pro-Life organization. In my opinion, the speaker we met with was our most memorable yet. Ryan Kirchoff spoke to us about abortion, what the Bible has to say about it and why he, and his organization, are so opposed to it. I think I speak for everyone in saying that Mr. Kirchoff was quite an interesting speaker. He felt very strongly about abortion being murder and never wavered from his view when we presented him with many different scenarios. There were a few of us who did agree with him though the majority did not. It does seem that most of us agreed though that abortion is not something that should happen, there should be the ability to choose.
After that meeting we went to downtown Dallas and Dealey Plaza. We sat on the famous grassy knoll and Billy spoke to us about the presidency of John F. Kennedy and how he inspired the youth of America, and why his assassination had such a big impact on America. We went into the Sixth Floor Museum which is located in the old Texas School Book Depository, the site from where Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy. The museum focuses on that fateful day. The museum was amazing and really hit every angle of the president’s life and death. After the museum, we went back to the grassy knoll and met a man who spoke about all the conspiracies surrounding the assassination and showed us where they supposedly happened. It was so cool to actually be in the place where we have learned so much about and so much happened.
Finally, we went to Congregation Beth El Binah. The synagogue was so welcoming and the congregants literally welcomed us with open arms. This is a Reform temple made up of mostly gays and lesbians as well as some straight members. They made us dinner in which we ate good food, prayed together and enjoyed a deep discussion on our day with Operation Rescue and their thoughts on being Gay and Jewish. In order to prepare for our meeting with Focus on the Family in Denver, we spoke with the congregants about their views concerning gay marriage. Beth El Binah will remain in our hearts forever. They were so nice and educationally stimulating that everyone actually enjoyed attending Friday night services! Today was an unforgettable day and just one amazing piece of the Etgar 36 puzzle.