"I wasn't sure what to expect"; work experience at World Jewish Relief

My name is Rebecca Herman and I just completed a week of work experience at World Jewish Relief. In September I’ll be going into my final year at JFS, studying art, sociology and, my favourite, geography – which I’m hoping to study at university. I am extremely interested in the relationship between the physical world and the effect it has on humans as well as my innate feeling to help those in need. Thus, doing work experience at World Jewish Relief was perfect for me.

Before I started I wasn’t sure what to expect, I had always heard about the amazing programmes that World Jewish Relief run across the globe so I was extremely intrigued about the work that goes on behind the scenes and learn more about the lives they have touched for so many years. My time there proved my pre-conceptions right! The office is a lovely environment to be in and it was a pleasure to work amongst such passionate and friendly people.

During my week I completed three main projects.

The first was compiling a report for donors signed up to the ‘Sponsor a Child’ programme who give generously to help support less fortunate children in the Ukraine. It was fascinating to read the amazing progress some children have made with the support of World Jewish Relief, which I learnt whilst reading the case studies.

Another project I worked on was evaluating the Bar/Bat Mitzvah programme in which Bar/Bat mitzvah students learn about the role and history of World Jewish Relief and then come up with a new creative way of fundraising.  I really enjoyed coming up with new ideas to inspire kids of that age to get involved and I would recommend the programme to everyone!

My final project was based around World Jewish Relief’s ‘Celebratory Giving’ in which the gift of charity can be given in the name of someone celebrating something special. I really enjoyed this project because it enabled me to get creative and will encourage others to help those who are not as fortunate as us.

Aside from these projects I also attended a meeting on the Rosh Hashanah appeal. Attending this meeting allowed me to fully understand the dedication of the charity and how nothing gets advertised unless it’s perfect. The meeting also helped deepen my understanding about the assistance World Jewish Relief gives to older Jewish people in Ukraine.

I also learnt about the story of ‘The Boys’ – a group of orphans who migrated to England after the Holocaust. ‘The Boys’ were looked after by a man named Oskar Friedmann, a psychiatrist from Berlin who was separated from his family on his journey to England in 1939. Using World Jewish Relief’s archives, which contain over 65,000 names, I tried to search for his family in hopes to get a further understanding of the story about Oskar and ‘The Boys’.

Doing work experience at World Jewish Relief has been extremely fulfilling and I know that it has benefited me greatly, especially as a future geographer, because I have now truly grasped the challenges faced around the world and studied the solutions that we can take to solve them.

Our sincere thanks to Rebecca for her help over the course of the week. If you’re interested in the archives project, Bar/Bat Mitzvah Giving, Celebratory Giving or even work experience at World Jewish Relief, please contact us at info@worldjewishrelief.org

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