In love with Jewish Milwaukee

 

May 1, 2013. College decision day. I don’t think that when I made my decision to attend Marquette University my parents expected me to end up working for a Jewish non-profit four years later. They heard the comments (“You’re actually letting her go there!?”) but fully trusted me in my decision (plus the short hour, fifteen minute car ride didn’t hurt).

I also don’t think that I knew what I was getting myself into when I decided to attend a Catholic University. For one, I definitely didn’t expect to be fully embraced by the surrounding strong and tremendously welcoming Jewish community.

People say that love is hard, but when it’s real, it’s easy, and it all happens very quickly. I immediately fell in love with Milwaukee and with the city’s Jewish community. I loved how everyone seemed to be connected to one another, and that by meeting one person, you were introduced to five more amazing people. I outpoured my love by planning and hosting Jewish programming on Marquette’s campus, leading Kabbalat Shabbat each week at Hillel Milwaukee, volunteering at the Jewish Home and Care Center, and working as an intern at the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center.

I felt that love in return when the community rose up to support the Jewish students at Marquette University when we were fighting anti-Israel legislation in our student government, and when we were later recognized as JNF’s Next Generation leaders because of these efforts.  I feel as though all of this love has come full circle to where I am now, working full time as the outreach and teen philanthropy coordinator at the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.

I must admit, I was basically hired for the perfect job right out of college. How many people get to say that? Just like love, this is a two-way street, and I also think that I was a pretty perfect candidate for the position.

In just over a month of working at the Federation I have continued to experience the beauty and strength of our Milwaukee Jewish community. Through Shalom Baby, I have met, and played, with the next generation of Jewish Milwaukeeans and the loving and dedicated parents who are raising them. I experienced immense joy and passion while marching with the J-Pride group in Milwaukee’s 2017 Pride Parade. I have had extremely meaningful and inspiring conversations over coffee with many Milwaukee newcomers, who are all part of the Shalom Milwaukee program.

I am excitedly preparing for my first trip to the Steve & Shari Sadek Family Camp Interlaken JCC in Eagle River as I want to experience the opportunities that the One Happy Camper grant provides first-hand. In planning for the “Go Jewish!” educational marketing campaign, I have had the opportunity to sit down with numerous Jewish community leaders for some insightful and informative conversations about how to successfully connect more families with the exceptional Jewish education and engagement programs Milwaukee has to offer. Finally, I have been eagerly planning for the launch of our Milwaukee Jewish Teen Philanthropy Board program, a new initiative intended to engage Jewish teens from across our community in a communal giving and learning effort to achieve our goal of tikkun olam.

I am beyond delighted to continue my next journey in this wonderful and powerful community. Milwaukee Jewish Home.

* * *

How to get involved

Anna Goldstein, outreach and teen philanthropy coordinator for Milwaukee Jewish Federation, is coordinating the following programs:

  • Shalom Milwaukee helps newcomers find their place in the Milwaukee Jewish community.
  • Shalom Baby invites you, your baby and siblings to come make new friends.
  • J-Pride Milwaukee is a group of greater Milwaukee LGBTQ Jews, their friends and allies.
  • One Happy Camper provides grants for first-time overnight campers.
  • The Milwaukee Jewish Teen Philanthropy Board will have teens work together as a real philanthropic organization.

Contact Goldstein at AnnaG@MilwaukeeJewish.org or 414-390-5733.