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Early morning and Shimon Peres

by Gelena Aleksandrovskaya

May 5, 2009 | 1:05 pm

Shimon Peres
Photo by Michael Kovac

RINNNNNNNNNNNNG-my wake up call was calling. It was 7:30am on Monday morning and it was time to start the day. I laid in bed for fifteen more minutes before my phone alarm started going off followed by the VCR alarm and finally the clock alarm. Alright, alright, I’m up. I sheepishly dragged myself into the shower…30 minutes later (I get dressed fast when it come’s to hearing President’s speak) I was running down the stairs to catch the shuttle. I had fifteen minutes before Israeli President Shimon Peres spoke and I wasn’t going to miss it for the world.

President Peres thanked the 6,000 AIPAC activists for their dedication and involvement in the U.S-Israel relationship. “For 60 years,” he said, “America has been and still is more than just an ally - it is an unusual partner and a brave friend.  I have heard it said, and I have heard it sung - today, more than ever - God bless America.” Peres wished success to President Obama and said the new American leader “offers hope to the world.”

I could not believe that I was sitting before the President of Israel speak 50 feet and 200 body guards in front of me. I wondered to myself when, if ever, I would have this type of opportunity again.

Speaking of opportunities I found myself talking, networking and taking pictures with some impressive political figures today.Joe Liberman and Gavin Newsom are just some examples of who I got to chat up. Shortly thereafter we headed over to the dinner reception. I was blown away by all 5,000+ people that were seated there eating dinner. How in the world were they able to feed and make food for this many people!? I wanted to go take a look at their oven just to see what it looked like but the staff would not let me into the kitchen…I wondered my way downstairs to the dessert reception and indulged in chocolate covered strawberries, cupcakes, pecan tarts, chocolate cream puffs, short bread cookies and anything else I saw that I could stuff my face with. Before I could even digest all the dessert I ate a group of us headed out to a bar called Posh.

In the midst of all the people squished upon one another, dancing, drinking, and talking I stood there taking in the scene. I understood now why everyone that’s ever been to AIPAC has said it was AMAZING. How could it not be? There I was sitting amongst 5,000+ people who all shared a passion, a belief, and were on a mission for Israel. When has anyone ever been in a room with 5,000+ people where you all had at least one thing in common? The energy was contagious. This has been a truly amazing experience indeed. The people I’ve meet, the new knowledge I gained and the experiences I have been exposed to while here have been priceless. Someone during the conference said that while growing up we were all asked “who do you want to be when you grow up?”. After watching all the speakers, AIPAC supporters, congress men and woman, and AISH supporters I now ask myself not what do I want to be when I grow up but WHO do I want to be as I get older (I guess at 23 I can no longer say “when I grow up”). I may not have the answer to that question exactly just yet but after watching all the speakers thus far I have an idea…I cannot wait to get back to LA and start working on finding the answer to that question…Lalel Tov for now…

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