While swaying to the music at a lake-side Havdalah service last year in St. Louis, Rebecca Maslow started to cry. “I had no idea what was going on,” she said of the service that marks the end of Shabbat. “I felt horrible. I felt like an outsider, like there was a secret handshake I didn’t know. But just look at me now.”
It was a moment that almost perfectly defined this week’s United Jewish Appeal young leadership conference in Washington. In one section of the vast Washington Hilton ballroom, hundreds of young Jews were intently listening as special U.S. peace envoy Dennis Ross and Israeli Ambassador Eliahu Ben-Elissar gave sharply differing views of the current Israeli-Palestinian stalemate.