In June, the
interns of JUF’s 2014 Lewis Summer Intern Program, an eight-week work/study
internship program created by The Hillels of Illinois and funded by the Harriet
and Maurice Lewis Family, began their first day of orientation. The 2014 cohort
was given the morning to become acquainted with one another before being
introduced to several speakers, including JUF Chief of Staff Jim Rosenberg and
Andrea Hoffman, executive director of Newberger Hillel.
topics varied, one theme was common throughout the presentations: the strength
of the Jewish community and the interns’ role as part of it. Rosenberg identified
the two fundamental goals of the Federation as “building community and helping
people” and encouraged the interns to contribute to this mission in their own
way throughout the summer. Hoffman’s discussion of Jewish meaning centered
around teaching the interns the recipe to a meaningful Jewish experience by
building relationships, gaining knowledge, creating meaningful memories, and
The first day
also addressed professional development through activities such as speed
networking, where the interns had one minute to introduce themselves to one
another and identify a common interest or skill. Aleen Bayard, of MarketZing,
gave a presentation about varying communication methods in the workplace and
how to tailor their own communication styles to complement their supervisors.
The second day of
orientation took place at Pushing the Envelope Farm in Geneva, Illinois.
The community farm and education center, rooted in Jewish tradition, gave the
interns a chance to put Hoffman’s recipe for a meaningful Jewish experience to
the test by introducing them to sustainable farming practices that not only
uphold Jewish tradition, but also contribute to the local community, just as
the JUF does.
The interns were
taken around the farm where they saw a sukkah tucked away in a wooded
area of the 14-acre site and interacted with goats and hens on the farm. Later
in the day, the interns learned to make pita, hummus, and candles and enjoyed a
farm-fresh meal prepared by the incredible staff at the farm. The final
activity before boarding the train back to the city involved teaching the
interns what it means to build and sustain a community based on Jewish
traditions and values. The interns were divided into groups in which they had
to make decisions on how to construct and maintain their cities in accordance
with Jewish values, while given a budget and limited options.
The third and
final day of the LSIP orientation had a more somber tone. The cohort met at the
Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center where they were gifted an entire
day, including a tour of the museum and a presentation by George Brent, a
Holocaust survivor originating from Hungary. The interns also learned more
about the museum’s role in the Jewish community and in helping survivors pass
on their legacy to educate younger generations.
inherent solemnity of reliving the events of the Holocaust, the tour contained
an important message of hope: to defend those in our community to ensure that
such events never take place again, impressing upon the interns that they have
a responsibility to the Jewish community. Once the day neared its end, the
interns were given the opportunity to reflect on their day and on their overall
behind them, the interns prepare to take on the summer and make their
experience at JUF not only meaningful for themselves, but for the Jewish
community as well.
is a Lewis Summer Intern.The Harriet & Maurice Lewis Summer Intern Program
is partof the
department of Campus Affairs and Student Engagement at Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Chicago/Jewish United Fund.