[by Jacob Efman]
Summertime is here and two college students are getting the most out of their three-month hiatus from academia by serving as interns for Jewish Community of Louisville (JCL) and Jewish Family and Career Services (JFCS). The interns are enhancing the knowledge and developing skills that will help them pursue and excel in their fields of study.
Now in its 10th year, the Jewish community’s summer internship program is a collaboration between JCL and JFCS. It was created to offer positive summer experiences that encourage Jewish college students from Louisville to form bonds and become more active in the Louisville Jewish community and gain professional experience by working with Jewish nonprofit agencies during the summer.
Ellen Shapira, the vocational/career services supervisor for JFCS and the director of the internship program, said, “The internship program’s purpose has been to capture students while they are in college and allow them to capitalize on a chance to do something professional.”
According to Shapira the Jewish community internship program’s goals and objectives have really not changed although there have been changes in the Jewish community agency structure. The respective agencies, JCL and JFCS want to provide a professional intern experience for local Jewish college students to benefit both the student and the Jewish community. The agencies gain quality temporary staff members for the summer, but more importantly, encourage and nurture professional ties to Louisville that will help develop and benefit future generations of the Jewish community.
Shiela Steinman Wallace, editor of Community and communications director for the JCL, believes the JFCS/JCL summer internship program creates a win/win situation. The interns win because they each get an opportunity for a paying summer job related to their areas of study, and the internship experiences are tailored to each individual. They get an opportunity to learn about the way the Jewish community works and to interact with community leaders. The community wins in the short-term because these young people give the professionals they work with some much-needed help and in the long-term because the interns strengthen their connections to the Louisville Jewish community and their Jewish identities.
“I am delighted to be working with Jacob this summer. He is a talented young man on whom I know I can count for well-written, accurate stories. He’s a self starter and a quick study with a positive attitude, lots of energy and an ever-present smile, qualities that will serve him well wherever he goes,” said Wallace.
The experience also gives the opportunity to develop ties with distinguished and active professionals working for and making a difference in our community and our given the opportunity to make contacts for future networking through events sponsored by Young Professionals of Louisville (YPAL) and Greater Louisville Inc. There are two interns this summer, Dena Schwartz and myself.
Dena Schwartz is the daughter of Drs. Nat Schwartz and Wendy Pfeffer and is a graduate of duPont Manual High School. Dena is a rising sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and is considering majoring in history and French, which has helped her develop advanced writing, research and communication skills.
She considers this internship opportunity a chance to learn more about marketing and social media. “I decided to apply for the internship because I had a growing interest in marketing and knew it would be easy for me to pick up,” said Schwartz. Her interest in marketing grew from her experience of doing graphic design for the Daily Pennsylvanian, the campus newspaper for Penn.
Schwartz is interning with Beverly Bromley, the JFCS Development Director and began her internship three weeks ago. She is already involved in major projects, which include raising as much as possible through the Republic Bank Golf Challenge on June 21 by going to different businesses and asking for their support through the donation of items for the auction that will take place during the Golf Challenge, along with other tasks. She is also currently developing a social media presence for JFCS through websites such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
“I have enjoyed learning how nonprofits adapt in a tough economy with limited manpower,” said Schwartz. Her goals for the internship are to be able to provide the manpower to create a growing social presence for JFCS, which she plans to do by expanding her knowledge of social media.
Dena is a member of Temple Shalom, and during high school served as the president of SHORTY, Temple Shalom’s teen youth group, which offers many social, religious and social action programs.
I am a graduate of Louisville Male Traditional High School and a rising senior at Bellarmine University, majoring in criminal justice with a minor in Spanish. I have had an interest in this internship program since the second semester of the first year of college but did not put pursue it fully until now.
I decided to apply for this particular internship because I knew it would be an opportunity to improve my interviewing, writing and organizational skills, which I believe are important for any type of career in the criminal justice system, where the work must be accurate so facts and testimony are legal and may be used in a court of law.
It has only been one week since I started the internship and it has already been jam packed with excitement, anxiety and obstacles. The first day of my internship was on Monday morning of May 31, the morning right after the events coast off the coast of Gaza had occurred during the night.
I was privileged to see how the staff at the JCL followed the story carefully, and organized meetings and interviews with Daniel Kutner, Consul General for the Israeli Consulate in Philadelphia, who came to Louisville to speak at the JCC at an event arranged by the World Affairs Council.
Earlier that day I was also able to listen to Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) conference calls with leading of the Israeli foreign affairs experts such as Daniel Ayalon, the Israeli Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs regarding the political and social effects of the incident.
My current tasks are writing articles and the Newsmakers and Around Town columns of the Community. My goals are to improve my research and interview skills so that I may develop in-depth, fair and balanced articles that inform about national and global issues affecting our community.
I would also like to write interesting articles that will spark ideas and inform readers about the great things happening within our community.
I am also a member of Temple Shalom and have been active in the community by being a member of Louisville Hillel.
Dena and I consider ourselves very fortunate to participate in this summer internship program and to be connected with the Louisville Jewish community.