Temple University’s Feinstein Center for American Jewish History, along with the College of Liberal Arts, now offers undergraduate students the unique opportunity to gain three course credits while working with arts and culture organizations, social justice start-ups, educational institutions, synagogues and other Jewish community spaces, and more. Feinstein launched its Jewish professional internship program last spring to give students the chance to develop professional skills, while learning about Jewish history and culture outside of a traditional classroom. Working side by side with Jewish professionals, students see how the skills they are gaining in the classroom to think critically, analyze texts, and solve problems have deep value in professional environments. Joyce Salzberg, an alumna of Temple University, has provided generous support for the program.
According to senior Colan Rodgers, his experience in the program is preparing him for life after Temple University: “I am now looking to my future and thinking about what I am going to do in a few months when I am no longer a Temple student in a new way. I am so glad that I was able to attain this internship with Jewish Farm School through a previous Jewish Studies class and that the experience has been a real synthesis of my time at Temple, my passions, and my Judaism.” Sophmore Maxie Erhlich agrees that the program is helping her plan for her future and notes, “So far my internship at the Gershman Y has been a great experience for me. It gives me the chance to reach out to people. The people I have contacted might even be a future employer one day!”
Not only do interns benefit from the program, their host organizations do as well. Rabbi Leah Richman, Community Engagement Specialist at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, explains, “The Feinstein Center internship program has been extremely helpful in providing us with a motivated, reliable, and capable student intern. We are very appreciative to the Feinstein Center for offering this program as it allows us to impact the community in ways that would otherwise be impossible given our current staffing.” Likewise, Nati Passow, Executive Director of the Jewish Farm School, says, “As we continue to grow our work here in the Philadelphia area, Feinstein’s internship program is valuable not only to have the additional assistance an intern can provide, but also to be making a lasting and mutually beneficial institutional connection as well.”
Each of the six students enrolled in the inaugural Feinstein Jewish Professional Internship Program last semester has dedicated ten hours a week to a Jewish organization in the Philadelphia area. Host organizations include the Jewish Farm School, Jewish Federation, the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival, the Gershman Y, Historic Congregation Mikveh Israel, and Repair the World. Over the course of the program, students write reflective essays about their experiences, participate in workshops with Jewish professionals, and receive one-on-one mentoring from Feinstein instructors.
Feinstein welcomes its next cohort of interns, who begin work on August 29th. Several new organizations have joined the program, including the National Museum of American Jewish History, Challah for Hunger, and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. By introducing students to the Jewish professional world, the Feinstein Center and its partner institutions including the Center City Kehillah ensure individual students and the Jewish community of Philadelphia a vibrant future.
Feinstein’s Jewish Professional Internship Program is open to all Temple students in good academic standing. For more information or to get involved, contact Ariella Werden-Greenfield (Ariella.Werden@Temple.edu).