Praying With Your Feet
Julie Bressler is a participant in the RAC's Machon Kaplan summer program for college students. She is a student at Washington University in St. Louis and an intern at the National Education Association.
At our Tuesday night Machon Kaplan class, we were asked to reflect on our first few weeks in Washington. We talked about our internships, our DC explorations, and our lack of sleep. To conclude our discussion, our group leaders told us about Abraham Joshua Heschel's trip to Selma, Alabama, to walk with Martin Luther King Jr. When asked why he came to Selma, Heschel replied, "When I march in Selma, my feet are praying." What does it mean to pray with your feet?
When I consider this question, my definition and comprehension of prayer changes. I always knew I could pray with my heart and my words, but never really considered the power of praying with my feet. As my fellow MKs and I work throughout Washington for tikkun olam, the repairing of our world, we use our Judaism and passion for social justice to contribute to our organizations as much as we can. Each day at the National Education Association (NEA), I join hundreds of employees who work tirelessly to achieve the goal of ensuring great public schools for every student. As states continue to cut funding for public schools in this economic crisis, the continued passion and enthusiasm of NEA employees is admirable and inspirational. Tell Congress to support education funding by clicking here.
A few nights ago, I visited several monuments with a few friends from the Machon Kaplan program. After realizing just how big the Washington Monument really is, we made our way to the Lincoln Memorial. As I sat on the steps and looked out on the reflecting pool and monuments in front of me, I felt the power of this place. Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired a nationfrom that very spot in 1963, and thousands came together to celebrate our 44th President at the 'We are One' concert this past January. Even though it is sometimes difficult to see the big picture and our goals seem impossible to achieve, I try to remember that it often takes many tiny steps to reach such great moments like these. So while our public education system is far from perfect today, I will hopefully be able to look back one day when public education in America is the global standard and be proud of my small part in this achievement.
I have truly fallen in love with this city and want to explore as much as possible. However, I keep feeling like I have to do everything during this trip, as if the city will suddenly disappear once I fly out on July 26th. I need to remind myself that I can come back and that the city will continue to be exciting, but to still make the most of each day as I pray with my feet and work to bring positive change in America.