I’m at the JStreet conference with a press pass. It has an orange lanyard and my name and Jewschool on it. So far the press pass means: the press room, where I’m leaving my stuff and where there’s free caffeine. the press table in the ballroom, where there are power strips and people are sitting with their computers looking busy and important. It also means people say, “oh, you have a press pass.”
Having the press pass means I also have to take myself seriously, which is pretty hard. This year’s conference is already very different from last year’s, when I felt like I had a specific purpose-being on a panel for JStreet U. It’s another reminder of how much has changed and how much flux my whole identity is still in-my intention at a conference is usually to be a sponge, learn as much as I can, and process it. These days I need more than that. I need more of everything.
This is the first full day of the conference, and already I’m stewing over the psyche of the American Jewish community and how there is this great possibility that people are expecting JStreet to be all things-a therapist, a band-aid, a savior-in the way that to a certain degree, we who voted for Obama expect him to fix everything, so scarred have we been by George Bush’s presidency and its seemingly never ending fallout.
Many feminist moments in a short period of time, which is heartening. Yesterday, I was feeling super messed up about the fact that I was missing the Planned Parenthood rally to be here, and so the talk here about women at the center of the peace movement is restorative. It’s excellent to see feminism in such a global context, being exercised and applied and relevant and to be reminded that everything is interconnected.