This past weekend, thirty six HAFTR students went to the University of Pennsylvania to participate in the annual Penn Model Congress. Students picked specific committees in Congress to be a part of, wrote simulated bills, and went to meetings serving as delegates in the form of mock Senators and Representatives.
Arriving Thursday night, the students went to the Penn Hillel for dinner and then had the opportunity to listen to the keynote speaker Marjorie Margolies. After this presentation, they had sessions in their committees where they had the opportunity to present, debate, amend, and vote on bills.
On Friday students attended two committee sessions and religious Jewish students were able to attend an extra session to make up for the session scheduled for Saturday morning.
Throughout Shabbos students participated in Friday night and Shabbos morning services and meals at the Hillel in Penn.
Avery Feit, a HAFTR student who went on the trip, really loved the Jewish community at Penn. "The Hillel at Penn is enormous, diverse in levels of observance, and it is extremely active" said Feit. During the day students were encouraged to explore the beautiful campus and see what life at Penn is like.
On Saturday night there was a ‘Delegate Dance’ at which the students were able to relax and have fun. Justin Merkin, another HAFTR student who attended, thinks that "Penn was really a fantastic weekend. Everyone who goes immensely enjoys the whole occasion; I strongly encourage everyone to go and experience it for themselves." Although the school could not stay for the awards ceremony on Sunday night, Adam Lifshitz, a HAFTR student, won an honorable mention award for his committee.