AJC LeadersFor Tomorrow
Photo: Courtesy American Jewish Committee
AJC CEO Ted Deutch spoke to Leaders For Tomorrow students in 2023. On March 3, 2024, AJC will host an LFT Accelerator program, open to all 10th through 12th graders and high school parents at Congregation Anshai Torah.

LFT Accelerator program March 3 at Anshai Torah

By Deb Silverthorn

The American Jewish Committee will present its Leaders For Tomorrow Accelerator program from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at Congregation Anshai Torah. The program provides empowerment to DFW-area teens in grades 10 to 12 and support to their parents.

Sessions will offer effective tools for students to voice their perspective within their school community and to engage in discussions with peers during the Israel-Hamas conflict; to navigate the issues on social media; and to advocate for improvements in communication, education and emotional support as they navigate the impact of the ongoing conflict. Concurrent sessions for parents of high school-aged students on present-day concerns are also scheduled.

“It’s a three-hour packed opportunity to learn to express your voice and to learn program leadership,” said Aaron Bregman, AJC’s director of high school affairs. “We are excited to be in Dallas and we know of students and parents who are interested.”

LFT’s full program is hosted nationally in 12 of AJC’s 25 national offices. During COVID-19, meetings were held virtually.

“We are going to bring the virtual program back to Dallas and hope to have it grow,” said Bregman.

Joining Bregman and Corey Minkoff, AJC senior associate of high school affairs, will be Joel Schwitzer and Amy Berger of AJC’s Dallas office and Congregation Anshai Torah’s Rabbi Michael Kushnick.

The LFT Accelerator program is an abridged course that empowers teens to build their Jewish identities, stand up for Israel and combat antisemitism. The Accelerator program, in Dallas and seven other cities around the country, will not only educate and inform, but also inspire and encourage students to recreate the program here.

Schwitzer emphasized that the session is open to 10th to 12th graders and parents from all congregations and those who are unaffiliated.

Berger, associate director of AJC Dallas, said that “our future leaders, our children, are being called on today and we must support them. We must be conscious of, and know how to respond to, the conversations which are changing daily, the forum and formats and the absolute need for situational awareness.”

Participants in the March 3 event are eligible to attend AJC’s Annual Global Forum in Washington, D.C., in June at a discounted rate. There, students will hear from world leaders and headline speakers; explore key political, strategic and social concerns affecting Israel and the global Jewish community; have exclusive opportunities to dine with ambassadors, foreign dignitaries and policy experts; and have face-to-face meetings on Capitol Hill, advocating on issues that matter to them.

“As our high school students are dealing with the rise of antisemitism and protests related to Israel, we have an obligation to impart the knowledge and confidence to help them confront these challenges. LFT is one of the strongest ways we can empower our teens and, in this one-morning event, also provide support to our parents,” said Kushnick. “They must learn they are part of a community, that there are numerous networks and organizations ready to support them and that they are not alone in this fight.”

Kim Zoller, an AJC Dallas board member and program co-chair with Kushnick, is dedicated to the organization, following in the footsteps of her mother, Harriet Whiting, a former AJC Dallas president.

“What do the threats mean and what is the language we are hearing every day, all day? Language of hate and of fear,” she said. “This program answers the questions not from an emotional level but with tangible truths.

“We didn’t choose to be born to a minority; we were chosen to be Jews,” Zoller emphasized. “When we have an opportunity to speak, reply or post, it’s important to know the ‘what,’ ‘when’ and ‘how’ to be effective.”

For more information, email dallas@ajc.org; to register, visit ajc.org/Dallas/LFTAccel.

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