Louisville Student Spends Summer Interning in Nation’s Capitol
Religious Action Center, Washington, D.C. – This summer, David Bloom’s interests in Judaism, social justice and human rights led him to the Machon Kaplan program at the Washington-based Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.
Machon Kaplan is a highly selective summer study-internship program that offers students from across the country the opportunity to take classes and intern at various non-profit organizations in their fields of interest. This is the first summer that the program, which has existed for more than two decades, has offered full scholarships to its participants.
“The Machon Kaplan program is a transformative service-learning experience,” said Religious Action Center Program Director Rabbi Michael Namath. “It provides participants with a Jewish framework for the social justice values they are addressing each day in their internships and has already put many participants on a path to public service after graduation.”
Bloom spent his summer interning at the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, an interfaith organization that works at international, national, and local levels to change the culture surrounding torture, while others in the program worked for a wide variety of national non-profits, including the NAACP, the AFL-CIO Pride at Work and the National Council of Jewish Women.
Rev. Richard Killmer, executive director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, said, “The National Religious Campaign Against Torture is grateful to the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism for providing interns during the past three summers. Each has produced competent work and has strengthened NRCAT’s efforts to mobilize people of faith to end torture in U.S. policy, practice and culture. David Bloom is a committed, hardworking, intelligent young man, and we are fortunate to have him working with us.”
Bloom described his work with NRCAT as policy work. Much of what he did was ask candidates for public office to fill out questionnaires about their positions to be used in voter education materials.
Bloom, a Louisville native, is studying at Indiana University, where he will be entering his junior year. He is studying Jewish studies, religious studies, and French, and also pursuing a minor in Hebrew. He plans to pursue the rabbinate for his career. He is a member of Temple Shalom.
In addition to their internships, Bloom and his peers took classes that focus on the application of Jewish values to current social justice issues such as the environment, civil rights, LGBT equality and campaign finance reform.
Bloom said one class focused on the internship program, helping program participants gain perspective on their summer experience, understand the impact it had on each participant and how they can bring what they learned back to school with them.
The other course looked at Washington, DC, the Constitution and government through a Jewish lens – examining issues and structure in light of Jewish values and considering parallels in Jewish text.