Etgar 36

Day 34: Washington DC

Our second day in the nation’s capital was jam-packed from the minute we stepped off the bus.

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Our first stop was at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank which believes in traditional American values and principles, such as limited government and individual liberties. To counter our conversation with United for a Fair Economy in Boston, The Heritage Foundation argued against distribution of wealth and raising the minimum wage.

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Next, we walked over to Union Station, and enjoyed lunch from a variety of restaurant options. It was a great way for us to get out of the sweltering temperatures DC is currently facing!Then, we visited Planned Parenthood. There, we learned about their services, which include more than most of us assumed. Planned Parenthood conducts pregnancy tests, provides education for reproductive health, as well as contraception and birth control to its patients. We learned that abortion services take up only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s total services. The meeting with Planned Parenthood was eye opening because they told us about the confusion “pro choice” and “pro life” labels give, and the idea that Planned Parenthood identifies as “pro women’s health” instead.
After that, we had some free time in Farragut Park to walk around, play corn hole, and grab a coffee if we wanted to. It was a great way for us to get some fresh air before our next meetings.

We then met with the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, and learned more about disability rights and action we can take to limit discrimination and inequality. The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities believes that people with disabilities should be able to decide where they want to live and what job they want to have, and not have someone else choose for them.

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Next, we spoke with the founder of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). It was very interesting to hear the pro-legalization side, and his presentation was very relatable and entertaining for our group.

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After our meetings for the day, we went to the Georgetown waterfront to admire the Potomac river and look around a bit. We then had dinner as an entire group before going to Shabbat services.
We went to services at Kesher Israel, a Modern Orthodox synagogue in Georgetown. I had never been to an Orthodox synagogue or service before, so it was interesting to be separated from the guys while praying. The service was surprisingly short, but enjoyable nonetheless.

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After services, we headed towards the monuments. From there, we checked out multiple monuments and memorials, including the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial. Seeing the monuments during the day is always a treat, but it’s a different feeling when they’re lit up at night.

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We spoke a bit about the significance of some of the landmarks, and ended our day by driving back to the hotel.