Rosh HaShanah Greetings From MASA Israel to Conservative Leaders

The following message was sent out via email to leaders of the Conservative and Masorti Movement:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This year, thousands of young Jewish adults will begin a personal journey in Israel by celebrating the High Holidays with peers from around the world. As participants of Masa Israel Journey’s more than 180 programs, they will immerse themselves in the unique atmosphere of the chagim in Israel, and create their own meaningful experience.

These young adults are tomorrow’s leaders, the ones who will determine the quality and character of Conservative Judaism in North America and its relationship with Israel for the next generation.

I wanted to share with you the stories of a few young members of the USCJ community whose Jewish lives have been enriched as a result of their semester or year in Israel.

This New Year, help us connect more young Jewish adults to Israel – through a Masa Israel Program, throughout Aliyah and more:

Joel Portman, St. Louis, MO

Synagogue: Brith Sholom Knesseth Israel, St. Louis, Mo

Masa Israel Program: Ben Gurion University of the Negev Year Program

In 2005, I traveled to Poland and Israel with United Synagogue Youth (USY).  The five weeks I spent in Israel were some of the best of my life.  But the experience I’d had wasn’t enough:  I wanted more, and I knew I would have to return. So, in 2008, I spent a semester studying at Masa Israel’s Ben Gurion University of the Negev. And I loved every minute of it. Read more >

Gabi Gordon, Chicago, IL

Synagogue: North Suburban Synagogue Beth El
Masa Israel Program: Nativ

Aliyah to Israel: August 2010

Having been raised in a Conservative home in Chicago, Judaism was always a part of my life.  I attended Solomon Schechter for elementary school and then got involved in USY.  While a Junior in high school, I took part in the Alexander Muss semester program in Israel.  It was then that I decided I needed to return for another extended period of time.  After graduation, I enrolled in Masa Israel’s Nativ.  Read more >

Shana Tova u’Metukah.

Naomi Freedman
Shlichat Aliyah, Jewish Agency for Israel
naomif@jafi.org

Quote #16 – Mitch Albom

My friend posted this on her blog and I wanted to share it with you as well:

“When someone is in your heart, they are never truly gone. They can come back to you, even at unlikely times.”
– Mitch Albom, in his book For One More Day

How true this is…

Back in Denver

Yesterday, I arrived back in Denver to get started for the new school year! I moved in to a townhouse about a 15-20 minutes walk from class/work. I am renting a room from a friend who graduated several years ago. We met at Chabad and he is originally from St. Louis! It’s a nice place and after relaxing from moving in taking longer than I had thought it would (of course!), I like it a lot.

I am trying to catch up on life in Denver and with friends. This week is orientation, but because the schedule overlaps with Rosh HaShanah, I have to make up some sessions with other (earlier) groups which makes my life these next few days a little hectic. I have a lot of reading for orientation that I still need to do and prep work for my Statistics class, that I am a bit worried about. I’m sure everything will work out well though.

It is strange not living in a building that surrounds me with students. It is definitely a different feeling that will take some getting used to. Many of my close friends are not here so I will need to reevaluate what I am doing with my time – new friends, homework, involvement, job search, etc. After being unsure about spending all summer with the family at home, I thought it strange when I realized that I actually miss my family a lot, now that I am back here. Soon enough, I will be too busy to think about all that!

As I get ready for the new year of MBA classes and programs, I look forward to the future!

One To Watch

I have been featured in the University of Denver Magazine Fall 2010 issue as the quarterly “One To Watch”.  Check out the article below:

Dual degree candidate Joel Portman is one to watch

A full plate and busy schedule are nothing new for Joel Portman. Through DU’s undergraduate/graduate dual degree program, he completed his bachelor’s degree in international studies in June 2010 and will receive his MBA in June 2011.

Originally from St. Louis, Portman has dabbled in a little bit of everything during his time on the DU campus, including positions at the Center for Multicultural Excellence and on the Undergraduate Senate. In 2006 he founded Never Again!, a student organization that raises awareness about the Holocaust and current genocide in countries such as Sudan and Rwanda. In 2008 he studied abroad in Israel.

“He works tirelessly, and in doing so he’s brought a different level of awareness to his peers,” says Kerrie Rueda, assistant director of Campus Activities.

In St. Louis, Portman is the assistant scoutmaster of his old Boy Scouts troop, Troop 310. He helped young boys muster the courage to complete swim tests during the Dad ’N’ Lad program held at Camp Famous Eagle in July.

This summer Portman also interned at the Build-A-Bear Workshop corporate headquarters in St. Louis, where he learned about international business firsthand.

“It was a great opportunity,” says Portman, who is considering careers in diversity consultation and international business operations once he receives his MBA. “It’s been great to see how what we’re learning in the classroom applies to the real world beyond the work I’m doing at DU.”

Portman received the University of Denver Pioneer Award, the University’s most prestigious student recognition, in 2010. He says becoming part of the campus culture has changed the way he thinks about his future.

“The things I’m involved with now are not at all the things I’d thought I’d be involved with,” he says. “The way my life might go is not at all the way I thought it might when I started at DU. I just had a lot of phenomenal opportunities to get involved, learn new things and meet new people who have really shaped my interests and helped me develop a passion for making the world a better place.”

Quote #15

My English friend on an experience after a group of us picked him up at the airport:

“This is a taste sensation!  Give that man a medal!”
– Jack Caine

The place of this occurrence was John D. McGurk’s Irish Pub & Garden in the Soulard neighborhood of St. Louis.

Updated Resume

After much thought on design and intention I have redesigned and updated my resume.  It took quite some time, but hopefully the results will have made it a good investment.

Click here to view my updated resume.

September

I cannot believe September is here already!  This summer has flown by and now fall is quickly approaching.  This summer has been an amazing one.  I have learned so much, met great people, and spent time with people who are important to me.  While I was not at camp as much as I would have liked, the internship experience was more than I could have asked for.

As I spend my last week in St. Louis with friends and family, I reflect on my last summer of college and the experiences I have had – as well as the potential for the upcoming year.  Below are two songs that involve “September”.  They are both great songs with meaning that can be taken many different ways.  Interpret as you will, but always with a hopeful eye on the future.

Daughtry – September

How the time passed away? All the trouble that we gave
And all those days we spent out by the lake
Has it all gone to waste? All the promises we made
One by one they vanish just the same

Of all the things I still remember
Summer’s never looked the same
The years go by and time just seems to fly
But the memories remain

In the middle of September we’d still play out in the rain
Nothing to lose but everything to gain
Reflecting now on how things could’ve been
It was worth it in the end

Now it all seems so clear, there’s nothing left to fear
So we made our way by finding what was real
Now the days are so long that summer’s moving on
We reach for something that’s already gone

Of all the things I still remember
Summer’s never looked the same
The years go by and time just seems to fly
But the memories remain

In the middle of September we’d still play out in the rain
Nothing to lose but everything to gain
Reflecting now on how things could’ve been
It was worth it in the end

We knew we had to leave this town
But we never knew when and we never knew how
We would end up here the way we are
Yeah we knew we had to leave this town
But we never knew when and we never knew how

Of all the things I still remember
Summer’s never looked the same
The years go by and time just seems to fly
But the memories remain

In the middle of September we’d still play out in the rain
Nothing to lose but everything to gain
Reflecting now on how things could’ve been
It was worth it in the end

Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends

Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
wake me up when September ends

like my father’s come to pass
seven years has gone so fast
wake me up when September ends

here comes the rain again
falling from the stars
drenched in my pain again
becoming who we are

as my memory rests
but never forgets what I lost
wake me up when September ends

summer has come and passed
the innocent can never last
wake me up when September ends

ring out the bells again
like we did when spring began
wake me up when September ends

here comes the rain again
falling from the stars
drenched in my pain again
becoming who we are

as my memory rests
but never forgets what I lost
wake me up when September ends

Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
wake me up when September ends

like my father’s come to pass
twenty years has gone so fast
wake me up when September ends
wake me up when September ends
wake me up when September ends