Approximately 150 Students Join YUPAC in Washington to Lobby Congress in Midst of Israel-Hamas War
Approximately150 students from both the Beren and Wilf campuses traveled to Washington D.C. with the Yeshiva University Political Action Club (YUPAC) on their annual lobbying trip on Nov. 30.
During the trip, which was rescheduled from the spring 2024 semester in response to the Israel-Hamas war, students met with multiple U.S. representatives and congressional staff members to promote legislation aimed at supporting Israel, penalizing Iranian aggression and combating antisemitism across the country, especially on college campuses.
“Organizing a lobbying trip to DC is something YUPAC does annually,” YUPAC Co-President Jacqueline Englanoff (SCW ‘24) told The Commentator. “But this time around it felt like we had an extra fire lit beneath us. Never in my life have I felt the imminent necessity for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship like today.”
Students traveled on three buses, leaving Beren and Wilf campuses at 5 and 5:45 a.m. respectively. Once in D.C., students split into 15 groups, each of which had lobbying appointments with two members of Congress.
Members of Congress lobbied included prominent members of both parties and YU’s representatives. Rep. Adriano Espaillat, who represents Wilf Campus, met with students personally.
Specific legislation students advocated for included the SHIP Act, aimed at strengthening American sanctions on the Iranian oil industry, $14.3 billion in military assistance to Israel and resolutions in the House and Senate condemning antisemitism on college campuses.
“The trip was unique from past years because the students felt a sense of urgency and a heightened level of responsibility,” Ezra Seplowitz (YC ‘25) told The Commentator. “Our heartfelt stories and expressions of appreciation impacted the congress members. Yet I feel that the mission impacted the students even more. We left Washington with our heads held high knowing that we performed our crucial role in Israel’s war, but we also left more united and more mission-driven. We, the future leaders of tomorrow, decided that our impact begins today.”
Students were also addressed by Reps. Dan Crenshaw and Ritchie Torres, both of whom stressed the importance of maintaining the bipartisan American-Israeli relationship. Reps. Greg Landsman and Dan Goldman, both of whom are Jewish, also joined students to recite prayers for the American government, the hostages held in Gaza and the American and Israeli armed forces, at the steps to the Capitol.
The trip concluded with dinner at the Israeli embassy, where students had the opportunity to ask questions about the military situation in Gaza and the response of the Israeli government. Following the dinner and prayers, the buses returned to Beren and Wilf campuses.
Photo Caption: Rep. Dan Crenshaw addresses students on the Capitol steps
Photo Credit: Yeshiva University Political Action Club