So Long and Thanks for All the Fun

I was in Israel for so long that in a way it still feels weird to not be there and working to fulfill my goals at the RRG Beit Midrash. I spent a lot of time this summer working on myself and my professional skills and I think that I have come away with a much better understanding of who I am and what a Jewish nonprofit is like that should give me a leg up in the future when I need to put those skills to the test!

In a way, I intended this internship to be a proving ground for me to test myself, to see if working as the rabbinic head of a Jewish nonprofit was something that I was capable of, let alone liked doing. I can’t say that after this summer that I now feel like a position of that kind is my calling, but I haven’t ruled it out as a potential job that I could work in the future and now that I have some experience I would feel much more comfortable in such a role.

I would recommend someone to take an internship position at the RRG Beit Midrash in a heartbeat because of how much of a positive work environment it is and the best advice I could give for someone with my internship would be not to underestimate themselves. The people I worked with were incredibly supportive and kind and helped me through whatever I needed assistance with and were too considerate of my limits to the point where I needed to tell my boss that I could handle more than he was giving me. But to get to the point where I felt comfortable with telling him that I needed to believe in my own ability to rise to the whatever task I was given, with or without help. There is nothing that you will encounter in this or any internship that is too difficult to do with some help, so there is no need to hold yourself back out of fear or lack of confidence. And in the world of Jewish nonprofits the best thing for an intern to have is confidence, even if it’s only false confidence at the start. Internships like mine are all about how well you can interact with people and we are all human, a smile, some friendliness, and the impression that you know what you are doing are all you need to succeed and make an impact. It seems scary at first but isn’t once you get used to it.

My goal for the summer was to get experience working at a nonprofit and to make an impact where I worked and my most proud accomplishment is what I helped the organization to accomplish and how doing so helped me to achieve my goals. All nonprofits live and die on how much money they can raise and the RRGBM is no exception. When I arrived back in June my boss told me the program had an ambitious goal for the summer, to raise $60,000, more than twice as much as they had ever raised in a year. I am happy to say that in part thanks to my efforts we raised slightly over our $60,000 goal and managed to secure full funding not only for the program’s usual operations but also enough money to expand our outreach to two new locations in Givat Ram and the IDC in Hertzelia! So I leave my internship with a sense of accomplishment and the knowledge that my efforts will make a real difference in the lives of hundreds of young Jewish college students.

So long, Jerusalem and see you soon!

So Far, So Good and SO MUCH Fun!

Greetings from Jerusalem! I am interning for the Hillel at Hebrew University in Jerusalem for their English language Beit Midrash (Jewish text study house), working under and with the head rabbi of the program, Rabbi Udren. So far in June my job has been mostly to work with the rest of the Hillel team to promote fundraising (shameless plug) for next year to get money for programs to rebuild the community after the worst of the pandemic left campus empty. We have done most of this fundraising by calling potential donors and sending messages on WhatsApp. We meet in the office twice a week and make phone calls and documenting the response we get from the people we talk to. So far our efforts have raised $35,000 of our $60,000 goal which is the most successful phone drive the program has had to date!

In July my job will switch to focusing on the social media presence of the University Hillel; I will be in charge of posting to their Facebook and Instagram as well as finding ways to further promote those two platforms to increase their presence and popularity both for the community and as a way to promote Rabbi Udren’s weekly Torah learning podcast, Sparks From the Fire (yes, another shameless plug!). I have already put some effort into this task while I was in quarantine, which has given me a head start and an insight to the problems that the accounts have. The objective is to, by the end of my time there, recreate the schedule and guidelines for posting on those two platforms in a way that can be continued by the rabbi when I leave and to increase the reach of the podcast to people all over the world. I have even been given the illustrious title of Social Media Director for the program! The title only came with pride and a sense of appreciation, not a raise.

From the internship I hope to gain experience and insight into working for a Jewish nonprofit and to make connections that can aid me in my professional life. Furthermore, I have been given the opportunity to learn Jewish texts at a Yeshiva (house of study) two mornings a week, which has served to deepen my spiritual connection to Judaism as well as given me more experience studying Jewish texts, which has been imperative for my professional development.

While I do go into the office several times a week, most of my work as the Social Media Director can and is done remotely, from the comfort of whatever park I am exploring on a given day. I have been able to interact with many Israelis which has taught me one thing: I need to learn more Hebrew. I am hoping that with enough time and practice here that I will finally realize all of the lessons that my Hebrew professors have been trying to instill in me for three years now. I’m sorry, Sara and Guy.

(My view from the office)

Harrison Carter