It has been just over a month since I started my work as the new Bronfman Fellow at the Schusterman International Center (SIC), and I couldn't have asked for a better start to my year.
I spend the better part of my mornings focused on the details of Hillel's upcoming Engagement Institute. For a week in August, 500 students and staff from Hillels around the country (including myself!) will come together at Camp Ramah Darom in Georgia. There, they will prepare to engage previously uninvolved students in meaningful Jewish experiences throughout the new academic year. It promises to be an unforgettable and crucial week of learning and reflection.
Next I meet with the International team to discuss and formulate our engagement strategies for American Jewish students away on study abroad programs. This year, Hillel's Global Campus Initiative (GCI) is focusing on two cities: Buenos Aires, Argentina and London, England. We have interns in both cities and are currently training and inspiring them for the engagement work they will be doing this upcoming semester.
In the afternoons, I try to take a short break to have coffee with one of the staff members who surround me in the office. We enjoy the opportunity to share and exchange our personal, professional, and Jewish stories. Learning more about the people I work with everyday informs what I do and deepens my understanding of Hillel's mission and values. On both a professional and personal level, it allows me to understand where to go for help and support in my work and how to provide the same in return. The staff here has gone out of their way to make me feel comfortable here and encourage me to take advantage of what everyone has to offer, already making my fellowship a dynamic and significant Jewish learning experience.
For my final task of the day, I focus on another exciting project in my portfolio - my work with the Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Experience. Grappling with the big questions of how to bring Jewish campus life to the next level, I research innovative Jewish learning resources, gain an understanding of Jewish organizational landscape in America, and my favorite aspect, make phone calls to field professionals and connect with them about the work they do on campus.
I come to work happy every morning and I leave every evening fulfilled. Whether it's working to engage American Jewish students on study abroad, learning web design skills from the IT department, or engaging Hillel directors in discussions about Jewish learning, I love what I do.
I have the privilege of working on a diverse portfolio of projects each with a distinctive purpose. Judging from this first month of my fellowship, the subsequent months promise to be immensely productive, challenging, and impactful.