|Ruth Messinger speaking|
For me, it had been six years since I had gone on the trip when I attended the institute and it had seemed like a long time had passed (many things in my life had changed). And even though I had remembered some elements of the trip, it seemed like it was fresher in-mind for most of the attendees, who had attended in the previous few years.
I found some of the demographics to be interesting:
- Obviously, the Orthodox attendees were in the minority, but that's more of a given at AJWS events, so it really wasn't noteworthy, per se
- Most of the attendees were women
- Many were not only married, but parents, as well (I wonder if that's because we're rabbis)
- For many, social justice was an assumed value (it might have been thoughtful to have a discussion on its importance – unless that was too basic)
|Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda speaking|
Okay, now on to more substance! There were a several speakers on multiple topics, which were helpful, such as AJWS'
|Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky speaking|
But it was the other headliner that stole the show for me.
By far, the highlight of the conference was hearing from Dr. Erica Brown, who I had never heard speak before, but I found that she had such amazing wisdom to teach that I found myself hanging on every word of hers! I, however, am not the first person to be amazed by her: she was written up about in the New York Times only two months previously!
|Dr. Erica Brown speaking|
Furthermore, on the topics of which she spoke, she had not only concrete information to teach us, but great explanations of them. It was totally helpful. In fact, as one student who thanked her at the end (not me) said, this stuff is not only important and helpful now, but it will probably be material we will find helpful twenty years now down the road. I now wonder when I will be able to hear her speak again!
In conclusion, I enjoyed my time at the second AJWS RSD AI and am looking forward to the third one starting today!
*I'm not a fan of calling it "development"