“I currently live in Helena, Montana, and I work as a GIS Specialist for the Montana Natural Heritage Program. My main role is mapping wetlands in Montana and I get to go travel all over Montana during summer for field work. Actually, my work here is really awesome and my boss’s partner is Israeli! It was really nice to right off the bat know someone Jewish in Helena, because there are really few here. I am from southern California so this is my first real winter experience, and I’m making the best of it by learning to snowboard. I wish I could say that I was involved in the Jewish community but there unfortunately really isn’t one to speak of here in Helena. So instead, I’m sharing my stories and practices, mainly food really, with my coworkers and friends, and trying to get home to be with the family for holidays.
It’s really hard to pick one favorite memory from Career Israel. For me the experience as a whole was amazing! I loved just living and breathing and taking in a new culture. I guess then, my favorite part would have to be all of the people we met with on all our trips. I loved getting to learn so much about all of the types of people in Israel and hearing their stories and opinions. Also getting to try so many new types of foods, from Druze to Morrocan to Bedouin.
It may be hard for me to articulate well how Career Israel impacted me, but believe me, it did! I think the biggest thing for me was just really truly connecting to Israel: the land, the people, the culture. I left feeling like a part of Israel, and I know I’m probably a lot more in tune with what’s going on there and have developed stronger support for Israel. Besides that, I think something really important that I took away was the idea that there are many different ways to be Jewish. I have learned that you don’t have to be the most religious person or keep kosher to be Jewish. There are so many ways to connect to Judaism and it’s so important to find your own personal connection. Even though I’m not very religious I feel more Jewish than ever and am very proud of it.”