The Final Blog

Last year, like every year for almost three decades, this incredible organization plucked five wide-eyed graduates out of a pool of hopefuls, saving us from the fate of moving home and living with our parents.


With two suitcases, a plane ticket from London, and new roommates I found on Craigslist, I arrived at the RAC in late August hoping I could fake it just long enough to figure out how a bill becomes a law in this country. Coming from Surrey, England, Washington D.C. felt a long way from home – 3,700 miles to be exact. Twelve months later, I’m packing my bags to take the return flight, and I can’t imagine a better way to have spent my year.

Working as a Legislative Assistant at the RAC I have been, at some point or another, a lobbyist, a youth worker, a conference planner, a receptionist, a policy expert, a DC tour guide, a protestor, and even a 23 time birthday-cake-baker. Each of these roles has challenged me, changed me, and inspired my understanding of Jewish social justice and its place in my life. At 23 years old, the RAC has afforded me opportunities and responsibilities beyond those I could ever have hoped for. John F. Kennedy had it right: “The Jewish people, ever since David slew Goliath, have never considered youth as a barrier to leadership.” What a testament to the values of the Reform Jewish Movement.

My sister Rebecca is currently leading Kadimah Summer Camp in England’s rainy countryside. Later today, she will say goodbye to her campers for another year. Like every good Jewish camp, the ‘sikkum‘ (summing up) usually begins just after the halfway mark – we all love a good feedback session. After six years as a councillor, I find myself in need of my own little sikkum. So, what has this year has taught me? How to write a blog about anything, that’s for sure. Perhaps rather more profoundly, the true lesson of the last twelve months isn’t in my in-tray, but in the choice of job itself.

I am reminded of my Confirmation almost a decade ago. Rabbi Danny Rich, who would later go on to lead the Liberal Jewish Movement, wrote a passage that speaks more to me now that I could ever have imagined as a precocious fifteen year old. He explained, “What are lives of holiness? Lives of holiness are acted out by those who begin each day grateful for human life and the natural world. Lives of holiness are carried out by those who use each day to attune their spirits and give of their best. Lives of holiness are manifested by those who retire each night, conscious of the privilege of having served God and their fellow human beings.” A life of holiness – that was the gift of the RAC to the LA class of 2010-2011, and every class that has come before us.

Thank you, Religious Action Center, for the opportunity to be a part of something extraordinary. May my wonderful friends and colleagues continue to be sources of holiness to all those who encounter them.

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Amelia Viney

About Amelia Viney

Amelia is a 2010-2011 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the RAC. She is from Surrey, UK, and is from Kingston Liberal Synagogue.

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