A Summer Against Antisemitism: My JCRC Internship
August 18, 2021
Posted by: Julia Lubar, Intern
I had the incredible opportunity of working with the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) this summer through the Kohn Summer Internship Program, sponsored by Jewish Vocational Services. While emerging from the worst of the pandemic, many offices in San Francisco are still virtual, including JCRC. However, I was able to work online and was fortunate enough to meet my supervisor, Associate Director Hallie Baron, as well as other members of the JCRC staff, at a couple of (safely distanced) in-person events.
During my time with JCRC, I worked on several projects that spanned the summer and helped to update crucial information to assist JCRC’s wide-ranging goals. I monitored state bills and updates from each county’s Board of Supervisors on behalf of Public Policy and Community Building Director Jessica Trubowitch. However, the highlight of my time was assisting Middle East Project Director Karen Stiller to create and deliver a presentation on antisemitism for the 2021 Kohn internship cohort.
I felt a bit nervous presenting in front of my peers, but the presentation was a great success and included a cohesive discussion as to what makes something antisemitic or offensive. Karen and I started with a series of slides that asked whether an image was antisemitic or not. We then led a group discussion to ask people’s reasoning on their votes. The conversation that followed led us down a rabbit hole of the multifaceted forms of modern antisemitism we see today.
Another internship highlight was assisting with the “Here I Am” press conference against antisemitism and hate held at Congregation Emanu-El. Not only was it my first time back inside of Emanu-El in nearly two years, but I had the privilege of meeting many prominent political and civic leaders in San Francisco and hearing them speak about a massively important and unfortunately very prominent issue. And I got to take over JCRC’s Twitter account for the entirety of the event.
Continuing the theme, I also assisted Karen and Jessica in kicking off a new Antisemitism Working Group. We coordinated interviews with volunteers from JCRC and other Jewish organizations, and I participated by taking notes of the interviewees’ responses. We showed them the same slides that we’d given to the Kohn cohort. It was interesting and enlightening to hear the differing responses from participants of different age groups and Jewish backgrounds compared to my peers.
Considering that the future of the working world will continue with at least bits and pieces of virtual workdays, meetings, and events, I am very grateful I was able to assist JCRC online, yet also have some in-person aspects to this internship. I believe Kohn and JCRC taught me valuable skills for my future professional life, as well as provided a glimpse of the hybrid working world to come. The entire staff was extremely friendly, helpful, and engaging through the summer and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with JCRC.
To Hallie: An extra special thanks for being a supervisor, mentor and motivator all rolled into one! Thank you for going above and beyond, meeting virtually with me each week, and completing the mundane (but crucial!) task of signing my timesheets.
To the staff of JCRC: It was great meeting everyone – thank you all for a fantastic summer!