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Non-Profit Narishkeit: The Life and Times of an Intern in the Non-Profit Jewish World

Week 5: Falling into Place

By Jonny Gottlieb

I want to start out this post by giving a shout out to my alleged 37 readers in Russia. Even though I am technically a quarter Russian, I’m not exactly sure who you are or how you found this blog. Feel free to comment and explain a little about how you got here or maybe just share your favorite borscht recipe. Either way happy to have you and пожалуйста продолжайте читать.
This week was filled with quite literal ups and downs. It started off with a bang, as the air conditioning unit above our floor slowly leaked into our ceiling and weighed down individual squares until they began to fall. Luckily no one was hurt, and after our blood pressure returned to normal and the obligatory Chicken Little jokes were made we were able to get back to work.

Accurate depiction of the office atmosphere

Accurate depiction of the office atmosphere

As I mentioned before, the other interns and I had begun having weekly lunches with assorted important peoples of the company. This week’s lunch was with the director of my very own department, Cyd Weissman, and now you will see me try to be appropriately complimentary to my own boss (Enter shameless plug for her blog here). Cyd gave us the opportunity to brainstorm with her on an idea she had come up with for some sort of post-grad position in the education department of various synagogues. Seeing her genuinely interested and excited for our feedback not only validated my lowly intern-level contribution but helped me feel as though I was a part of the bigger picture of this organization.

In a similar vein of zooming out, I was then given the amazing opportunity to attend the Malala Day Youth Assembly at the United Nations. People from all over the world, all under 25, came together to celebrate the 16th birthday of Malala Yousufzai, a Pakistani activist shot in the head last year by the Taliban on her way to school. After making a miraculous recovery, Malala decided to continue to dedicate her life to education activism and presented the UN with a list of demands written by the Youth Assembly. You can learn more and sign her petition here.

I realize now I probably should have spent my time finding the delegates from Russia and inquiring how I can reach the rest of their country, but instead I wasted my time on “meaningful” things like hearing the Secretary-General recommit his efforts for quality education. Aside from the missed PR opportunity, it was awesome to juxtapose my very specific, niche contribution to the effort for global education.

Me, being delegatey

Me, being delegatey

Now back at work with nothing to show for my momentary brush with international fame except for a neon-orange Nalgene, I find myself glancing at it every so often. Every time my eyes wander it reminds me of two important things: Even while sitting at a cubical with a hole in the ceiling in the middle of New York, I am part of a larger conversation on how to make education more accessible and more innovative to as many people as possible. Oh and that I really hate the color orange.

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