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Washington DC – Day 1

– Jonah Nogin

Today was another amazing day for the books. We started the day in Philadelphia, visiting the national constitution center and experiencing an in depth explanation of our American history. This museum was one of my favorites not only because of the information in it but how powerful it felt being on those historical grounds in which the foundation of our beautiful country was constructed. The show discussed one of the most important reoccurring topics on this trip; putting the power into the hands of the people. This was the great American experiment, the roll of the dice, putting the power in the hands of the people instead of one person or group. The risk of this is that we are dependent on a knowledgeable and active citizenry, and the reward is a free and independent society where the needs and wants of the people come first. This experiment is being played out today by finding the balance between powers held by the government and the people. I’m optimistic that the people of our generation want change and will use our voices and power to confront and solve the important issues that we face today.

After the museum, we went to arguably my favorite food hall of this whole trip; the Reading Terminal Market. The assortment of restaurants and bakeries was astounding, and I loved seeing the diversity of people who ran each establishment. Every experience that each food hall has to offer is different. In light of this whole trip, I love the differences. It was interesting to see the Amish community working in the bakeries, not touching the cash registers because they were electric powered, and letting people who did not share their beliefs run the register. After the Reading Terminal Market, we had the honor of burning off that delicious lunch by running up the Rocky Stairs! Being able to run up the stairs with my friends while listening to Eye Of The Tiger was definitely a highlight of the trip. To conclude that workout, we got to take pictures with the Rocky Balboa statue and got on our way to the beautiful state of Maryland.

Our drive brought us to a place I had never been before, the National Harbor. Here we not only enjoyed the beauty of the water and surrounding area, we had a well structured conversation about the Israel and Palestine conflict. I loved hearing different peoples’ perspectives on the topic and their perceived ideas on how we could resolve this conflict. Not only did I love hearing the different perspectives, but I also loved learning about the history leading up to and surrounding the conflict that concerns so many people. Personally, I would not say I am the most informed when it comes to the Israel and Palestine conflict, but this knowledge and history have helped inform me and solidify my belief in wanting peace. Although peace is thought to be a pipe dream, I believe if we are able to work together and not use violence to obtain what we want, a compromise will be able to be reached. Being Jewish is part of my identity, and I am proud to be Jewish. I also believe that we have been persecuted for so long and know what it feels like to be treated as the other instead of another. We have the power and resources now to create a world of peace that has never been considered to be possible. With that in mind, I think it’s crucial to use our energy to find the solutions we need instead of getting involved with persecuting and/or causing problems with our fellow humans.

After concluding that informative and well structured talk, I got to enjoy some Chipotle with my friends. After talking with friends from this area, I am proud to say I have officially been through the DMV! It was a short ride to our hotel in Virginia, which was the start of the shorter bus rides because we were on the last leg of the trip, and we were staying relatively close to all the places we were visiting. When we got to the hotel, we had some time to relax and get ready for our meeting with Mike Scheinberg. Mike was with Falls Church Healthcare Center based in Virginia, where one of the services they provide is abortion care. This is a very hot topic in today’s political climate, and it was nice to talk to someone on the opposite side of pro life. We had a great discussion, in my opinion, talking about abortion care and providing it to women “who choose not to be pregnant anymore.” When talking to Mike, we all discussed both sides of the topic and his opinion based on his personal experience working in the abortion field. I personally believe women should have the right to choose whatever they think is best for themselves and their future. I also agree with Mike when he said, “If someone doesn’t want to get an abortion, they don’t have to.” Along with breaking down the stigma around abortion and opening up the discussion around abortion. It was a great conversation, and I love hearing both sides of different topics and discussions that affect a majority of our fellow citizens. Today has been an amazing day, and I am so grateful to be on this trip with these amazing kids, talking about important topics and problems. However uncomfortable, we need to face our issues head on and work through them to create a better life for ourselves, our children, and future generations. As we move towards the end of this amazing journey, I am excited to have these last experiences and finish strong!