Hello everybody! Hope your summers are still incredible and refreshing, and you’re gearing up for the upcoming semester (which for me, as a new CA, is actually right around the corner). My time at AVODAH has really changed its course since I have arrived. In my first post, I outlined a flash-fundraising campaign and my exposure to non-profit management, but now my experience has been centered around alumni outreach and programming from more of an educational standpoint.
During the third week of my internship, my supervisor began to teach a morning class as part of the List College (the joint program of Columbia University and The Jewish Theological Seminary) pre-college program, “JUSTCity.” This program gathered 18 high school upperclassmen to discuss issues of social justice and inequality in New York City through a Jewish lens. My supervisor’s daily sessions provided a Jewish textual context for exploring and aiming to solve these issues, as well as an open space to dabble with personal experiences and inexperience with antipoverty work and current events. I primarily functioned as the TA of the class, giving a hand to my supervisor and interjecting relevant information pertaining to areas about which I know a thing or two. These 16-18 year-old kids engaged in a remarkably thoughtful, sophisticated discussion about racial, economic, and environmental justice, as well as the escalation in Israel and Gaza. The conversation that struck me most followed their reading of excerpts from “A Case for Reparations” by Tanahisi Coates, an article featured in The Atlantic hashing out an unprecedentedly non-radical approach to reparations for Blacks in America. Admittedly, aside from all I learned from simply sitting and listening, it was also great to see my cousin who was a participant in the program. No worries, everyone- I made sufficient plugs for Brandeis with this group of college-searching kids.
Following this two-week stint, I have been spending much of my time managing the alumni database, and transferring bios of alumni from a large spreadsheet into the new online system. Since I haven’t really met very many alumni, I’m glad I can at least take this route to learn about them and what they did after the program. I even found someone who really is very similar to myself, and am planning on contacting this person to as how she got to her current job! I did not expect bio-transferring to be a networking opportunity!
I am under the impression that my internship will comprise a similar set of tasks for the duration of the summer, and that I will be exposed to a greater arsenal of Jewish texts on issues of social justice, that I will interact with more alumni material, and that I will get to know my co-workers better.
Thanks for reading, and I look forward to updating you at the conclusion of the program.