Michelle Obama speaks at Beth El Synagogue


Ginny Lyons

The Beth El Synagogue hosted Michelle Obama on September 10.

Bridget Yazvec, Staff Writer

Earlier this month, former First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at the Beth El Synagogue as part of their National Speaker Series. In just a little over an hour, the moderator engaged Obama on a variety of topics, ranging from her time on the campaign trail to the hardest parts of being First Lady.

BSM seniors Abby Letscher and Ingrid Lundberg attended this event on September 10. Both agreed her talk was politically unbiased and well spoken throughout.  “I lost my driver’s license while going through security, but it was totally worth it,” Lundberg said.

Beth El has hosted several speakers over the years including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Tickets were sold out within an hour of the Star Tribune tweeting that Obama was coming to the Twin Cities back in June of this year. As a result, tickets were pricey and the majority of the audience was adults.

It was inspiring to see how passionate she was about it and I took away some of that passion.

— Abby Letscher

“In the rows in front of me were two girls who were in 6th grade at the most and it was amazing to their reactions to her. I was so glad that their parents took them to see such an inspiring and powerful women of color so they would have another great female role model,”  Letscher said.

Lundberg enjoyed learning that the First Lady’s favorite part of being First Lady was working with kids. Obama camped out with the Girls Scouts in the front lawn, trick or treated, and previewed the State Dinner with kids from across the country. “I thought it was cool that kids got to eat the actual food served at the State Dinner and feel a part of it,” Lundberg said.

Lundberg also mentioned her one of her most memorable and funny moments was when Obama said: “Sometimes a good group of girlfriends is better than a husband.”

As First Lady, Obama struggled with social media and “getting ahead of the lies,” specifically involving her fashion. When Obama was asked about her fashion, she turned the question back on the moderator, saying that people would obsess over her fashion, so instead of fighting it, she learned to embrace it as a method to give more attention to the important work she was doing. “She was so inspiring by being aware of the criticism she was facing as First Lady. It was really cool to hear her actually verbalize it,” Letscher said.

The Former First Lady also commented on what she is doing now in regards to girls education. In developing countries, her main goal is to get parents to recognize the importance of education and get girls to schools.  But in the States, she stressed the importance of equal access to academic opportunities and knowing a high school diploma is no longer enough to get a quality job. “It was inspiring to see how passionate she was about it and I took away some of that passion,” Letscher said.

Both Lundberg and Letscher mentioned how Obama stressed that she will not being running for President in 2020 and both found it an all-around surreal and inspiring experience.