Last week, I had the chance to attend an incredible event in my role as Program Director for the Research Training Internship (RTI). Rebecca Gross, a participant in the RTI Cohort 5, was recently invited to speak at the National Council of Jewish Women Chicago North
Shore Section’s (NCJW) City Salon about RTI’s antisemitism research. Each month, the women of the NCJW come together for a discussion group facilitated by Salon members at Salon members’ homes. The group chooses a new topic for each salon, and source materials links are then emailed
to everyone to read. Topics include a wide variety of current progressive, feminist and social justice issues, very similar to RTI. RTI is a partnership between JUF and DePaul university for Jewish girls and non-binary teens to explore social justice issues through the lens of feminist
research. Each year, the interns choose a topic they care about and research how it manifests in the Chicago area Jewish community. Rebecca was invited to speak at the Salon after her grandmother, a NCJW member, attended RTI’s end-of-year community presentation.
Rebecca presented to a crowd of 50 women, the City Salon’s biggest event since starting earlier this year. Jonathan Mintzer, Assistant Regional Director at ADL Midwest, started the evening with an informational presentation about ADL’s work in tracking and combating antisemitism as well as
tips for how we can combat antisemitic remarks we hear in our daily lives. Rebecca’s presentation was interactive. After explaining the work and methods that went into this year’s research, she asked the group questions from one of the surveys used in the report, and she invited audience
members to share personal stories before she shared the statistics from the RTI report. Rebecca and Jonathan ended the evening with a question and answer session.
It was very inspiring to see Rebecca take our research to the broader community. Her presentation is the second event in which interns have been able to share their research with the broader community. Earlier in August, Rachel Fadem, Ellie Goldsmith, and Sara Grostern,
facilitated small group conversations about antisemitism in progressive spaces as a part of lunch put on by the Jewish Community Relations Council, the Jewish Women’s Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago and NCJW. One of the goals of RTI is to raise awareness around important social justice issues in the Chicago Jewish
community. These presentations are a great example of how interns continue this important advocacy work even after their RTI year has ended.
Applications for this year’s RTI cohort are open until September 16th. You can apply
Birger is the Program Director, Teen Leadership & Philanthropy at
JUF. She runs the Research Training Internship and Voices: The Chicago
Jewish Teen Foundation – two innovative programs for teens who want to change
the world. She's passionate about
connecting young people to opportunities that allow them to explore complex
topic and tackle the world's challenges head on. Outside of her teen work,
Beckee is working with the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs to create spaces for
Jews of Color in Chicago.