As the pumpkin spice lattes and apples and honey come back into season, signaling the end of summer, Cincinnati college students head back to their respective universities with life-changing internship experiences administered by the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati. Two programs, Onward Israel and the Workum internship program, had a profound impact.
“My experience in Israel was nothing short of amazing,” said Onward Israel participant Aaron Frankel, a student at the University of Southern California who interned at a consulting firm that focuses on high-tech and life-science startups. “Actually living in Israel and being on my own (with some great people from Cincinnati) has really let me see a different side of Israel.”
Through Onward Israel, 24 Cincinnati college students spent their summer interning in Tel Aviv at no cost to them, thanks to Israel travel grants funded by The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati and administered by the Jewish Federation. The students interned at companies such as Joy Records, Bat Sheva Dance Company, iTweet Live, and Liquee Technologies.
“I have had the opportunity to go to schools and teach kids baseball for the first time in their lives, and I have had the distinction of helping out the National Team as they prepared for the European Championships in Slovenia,” said Onward Israel participant Aaron Goldhoff, a student at the University of Arizona who interned at the Israel Association of Baseball. “It feels like I am helping to do something truly good for one of the first times in my life.”
Back home in Cincinnati, 10 Cincinnati college students participated in the annual Workum summer internship program. They interned at Jewish agencies all over the city, learning about our Jewish community behind-the-scenes, and gaining valuable workplace skills.
“The Workum experience taught me that professional development comes about with personal growth,” said Jay Burgin, a student at Denison University who interned at Isaac M. Wise Temple this summer. “I learned a lot about the job, my duties, and the agency, but I also learned my strengths and weaknesses. I learned how to interact with other professionals and how to prioritize my learning.”
This year, the program was under the direction of Sammy Kanter, the Jewish Federation’s Esther and Maurice Becker Networking and Mentoring Coordinator. Under Kanter, the program expanded to connect the students with Jewish young adults and the city of Cincinnati. The Workum interns participated in networking events with other interns across the city and a special workshop with JVS Career Services.
“I think working at the Jewish Foundation made me especially aware of the Cincinnati Jewish community,” said Genevieve Pecsok, a student at Washington University in St. Louis. “I saw that the opportunities in our Jewish community are continually expanding, and that Cincinnati offers many, many different ways to explore our Judaism. It is comparable to larger cities all over the U.S., and that's something to be proud of.”
The Jewish Federation’s Esther Becker Center is now accepting applications for the 2015 Workum and Onward Israel summer internship programs.
“I will say that the people on this trip have been the best part,” said Onward Israel participant Emily Gilgoff, a student at Ohio University who interned at a theatre company, English on Stage. “Words don’t describe how lucky I feel to have been here in Israel, and I really encourage others to apply for this program.”
Workum interns had similar feedback.
“The Workum internship instilled a sense of pride in me. Pride in my city, pride in my temple, and pride in my Judaism,” said Burgin. “I will move forward in my professional development with a strong sense of where I came from.”