A Mensch's Guide to Campus Activism


Internships boost professional skills and offer Jewish learning

 Lauren Mangurten 
By Lauren Mangurten

Jewish students can learn valuable skills, give back to the Jewish community and round out their résumés with an internship as a Jewish professional.

The Jewish community offers internships in a wide range of fields, including social services, communications and politics.

My colleagues and I who interned at JUF News attained our positions through the Harriet and Maurice Lewis Family Summer Intern Program, which is an eight-week, paid work and study experience. The Hillels of Illinois and Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF/JF) internship program is funded through a gift from the Harriet and Maurice Lewis family as a way to pass on passion for Jewish life to the next generation.

The Lewis program places interns at agencies around Chicago in fields including public policy, social work, health care, education and communications. Judith Teller, director of the Lewis program at the Hillels of Illinois, said the agencies are either department affiliates or beneficiary agencies of the JUF/JF.

There are about 30 interns each year. Two interns come from Kiryat Gat, Israel through the JUF’s Partnership 2000 Program, and two interns come from Kyiv, Ukraine through JUF’s Kyiv Kehilla program, Teller said.

The positions available change over time to meet the needs of the Jewish community, Teller said. For example, as the agenda of JUF changed to include outreach to high school students, a position in Israel Experience and Youth Initiatives was created to meet that need.

Regardless of an intern’s agency placement, Teller said the program teaches the interns that the JUF offers a sense of community.

“I think they find that it opens a lot of doors,” she said. “A significant number of interns have found jobs within the network. I’ve written many references for students. It’s a highly respected place.”

Deena Greenspahn, now a division director of Trades at JUF, was a Lewis intern in the summer of 2001.

As a Lewis intern, she worked in Leadership Development, where she was in charge of a small intern campaign. Greenspahn also compiled information about the JUF board and committees.

She said she liked that the program was not just a work experience, but that there was an educational component to the program through the seminars.

“I thought it was fantastic,” Greenspahn said. “I enjoyed my experience running the intern campaign.”

When she was searching for a job, Greenspahn said she thought of JUF because she had such a positive experience working there as an intern. Before working in Trades, she worked in the Women’s Division.

“I would encourage [college students] to participate,” Greenspahn said. “It’s a  unique program.”

For information about the Lewis Family Summer Intern Program, please visit the LSIP web page, e-mail lsip@juf.org or call The Hillels of Illinois at 312-444-2868.

Posted: 1/22/2010 04:48:36 AM

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