All of the interns for the Harriet and Maurice Lewis Summer Intern Program (LSIP) gathered for their orientation June 4 to 6 to meet one another and learn about the JUF. The interns came from a wide range of schools including University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, DePaul University, Michigan State, Vanderbilt, University of Maryland, University of Wisconsin, and many other schools in Illinois and around the country. Additionally, there are two interns brought to us by the JUF's Partnership Together program from Kiryat Gat, and two more interns brought to us from Kiev through JUF's Kiev-Kehillah program. While the interns met one another, the first day of orientation was an introduction to work life and the Chicago Jewish community, and they learned about the amazing work that the JUF does.
The second day of orientation was a unique experience for all of the interns. In Geneva, Illinois, there is a farm (called Pushing the Envelope) that uses Jewish values to maintain the land. This farm belongs to Fred Margulies and his son, Elan, acts as farm manager and Jewish educator. During the visit, interns planted crops, pulled weeds, made hummus and pita from scratch, made their own aromatherapy balms, and picked vegetables for the salad at lunch. While working the land, the interns engaged in discussion about Judaism and nature and how to successfully own a business using Jewish values.
On the last day of orientation, the interns went on a mini-mission where they were able to see the resources that the JUF provides for the Jewish and non-Jewish people of Chicago. The day started at the Gan Project Homestead at Horwich JCC in Rogers Park, a community garden that allows Chicagoans who cannot afford fresh produce to pick their own produce in confidence. Following the garden, the interns went to the Jewish Vocational Services English as a Second Language (JVS ESL) program where they met many adults who have come from all over the world and are learning English in order to find jobs. Many of the interns are working at CJE: Seniorlife, so the next stop on the mini-mission was at the Lieberman Center in Skokie. After seeing the Lieberman Center and the resources that they offer to their residents, the interns visited The Ark where they learned that The Ark provides free dental and vision care in addition to an extensive, kosher food pantry to Jewish community members. The conclusion of the mini-mission was at the Jewish Child and Family Services (JCFS) where the interns learned about both secular and religious schooling for children with behavioral challenges.
At the end of the three day orientation, the interns were excited for their work to start at their respective agencies. Everybody is looking forward for the upcoming weeks of the internship!