It has now been four weeks since I was given the illustrious title of Social Media Director for the Hebrew University Beit Midrash and I am starting to feel a sense of normalcy or routine in my time here in Israel. My job is very different from any other position I have held so far. The greatest contributor to that difference is my boss himself, Rabbi Yonatan Udren. Rabbi Udren is the best and most supportive boss I could have hoped for and is the driving force in everything I am getting out of this internship on a professional level. I am not exaggerating when I say that in one hour of working with Rabbi Udren on the program’s summer fundraiser I received more compliments and affirmation from a supervisor than I had received in the rest of my seven years of working combined. All of the feedback, praise, and guidance I have gotten from Rabbi Udren has made this the most enjoyable work I have ever done, and I truly feel like I am an important and valued member of the office.
The work I am doing for the Beit Midrash is the most interpersonal and interdependent experience I have ever had. I came in with a limited skill set and was trained to adapt that skill set to the various websites and organizations tools that nonprofits use, like Donorperfect, in order to help support what everyone else in the office is doing. At the same time I am reaching out to and talking with people who know the program I am working for but not me. It has really helped me to break out of what was left of my metaphorical “shell”. Everything done in the office is backed up by at least two other people so I am learning to work on a professional team and complete projects in a way that schooling has never been dynamic enough to teach me.
I am learning how to be part of a professional team project which is always applicable to the workforce but more specifically and importantly to me, I am leaning to use all of the tools, both virtual and behavioral, that are necessary to keep a Jewish nonprofit running. As someone who wants to work as a rabbi and will almost certainly spend time in the world of Jewish nonprofits, this work experience is directly applicable and is teaching me how to succeed in that future job before I even know what that position is because all of the skills that I am learning are universal and transferable to any situation. And on a more personal level, Rabbi Udren and I have been using weekly meetings and over-text check-ins to help me work through the book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Franklin Covey. Rabbi Udren recommended the book to me when I first told him about myself two months ago and the lessons in personal growth, management, and interpersonal connections that I can learn from the book have already started to help me develop myself professionally.