My name is Jackie Weiss, I am from Atlanta, Georgia and I am a rising junior at Emory University in Atlanta.
I came to Israel on Taglit (Birthright) at the beginning of the summer and extended my visit for two additional months to participate in an internship program organized by Masa. One of the reasons I chose to work with WIZO is its emphasis on values I strive to uphold: Zionism, Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), and empowerment of others. Interning with an organization that focuses on bettering the lives of youth, women, and the elderly worldwide was extremely appealing to me. As a student with a passion for health, political science, and human rights, I found that WIZO was the perfect organization combining all of my interests.
I could not ask for a better, more meaningful experience than the one I had this summer at World WIZO headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel. The work was very dynamic and each day I was given a new assignment that exposed me to a different realm of WIZO’s operations. I worked closely with Annette Crandell, the Deputy Director of the Fundraising Division at World WIZO. She entrusted in me the completion of important reports for donors and WIZO federations around the world. My internship at WIZO was extremely fulfilling and enabled me to travel throughout Israel to see WIZO's work in action. During the course of my internship, I was lucky enough to visit several WIZO projects and experience firsthand the amazing, positive change that WIZO enacts worldwide. In addition, I have come out of this program with new knowledge regarding non-profits, Jewish philanthropy, and fundraising.
While each site visit and project was fascinating and provided insight into WIZO’s accomplishments, the visit I found most memorable was to the Gan Vanof Youth Village in Petach Tikva. I visited the youth village for its annual rock concert "Aman Bagan" (Artists in the Garden) along with Yonatan Sredni, the Head of English Content in World WIZO’s Marketing & PR Division, and Kaylin Berinhout, the volunteer intern in his division (who also hails from Atlanta). The event is a chance for students who receive music scholarships from WIZO Switzerland to showcase their skills. I felt like I was at an actual rock concert! What stood out to me during the visit were the interactions I had with the students in the youth village. I witnessed the students’ passion for music and could tell how much the music conservatory program at Gan Vanof has positively impacted them. It was powerful to hear how a WIZO program involving musical instruments (something we often take for granted) has transformed the lives of these students, many of whom come from difficult backgrounds. I feel so grateful to have been able to visit this amazing WIZO youth village.
Thank you so much World WIZO for an incredible learning experience and for allowing me to take on such important tasks. I plan to bring the knowledge and skills I obtained back to the U.S. to continue working with WIZO and to hopefully start a WIZO Atlanta chapter.
Jackie, with fellow World WIZO intern Kaylin, at the CHW Hadassim Youth Village