May 21, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

A Job Experience Worth Having

By Daniel Jaffe

As my time with The Jewish Link this summer comes to an end, it’s crazy to think back to where I was only six weeks ago. I had already signed up for classes, affixing my summer in Teaneck, while all my friends departed for their various camp jobs around the world. I was initially content to occupy my summer with just these classes, but my plans quickly changed. My uncle pointed me to the internship at The Jewish Link, which my parents instantly viewed as a perfect opportunity for me to step into the realm of work, while also gaining experience for my resume. After some convincing from my parents, I ultimately agreed to give it a try.

From the second I stepped foot on Yeshiva University’s campus last May, the only thing people would ask me was “What’s your major?” As I began to try and figure that out for myself, I quickly realized there was very little I could imagine myself doing professionally. One thing I did love though, was writing. That led me to settle on an English major, one that I would enjoy working on, but not enjoy telling people about. But as summer began, I figured what better first step on the “English path” than working for a local newspaper, especially one that operates within walking distance of my front door?

However, my enjoyment of writing isn’t exactly as broad as it necessarily should be. While I always felt confident in my ability to put the right words on paper and could knock out a school essay in a few hours, I certainly would never do so by choice. It was only when I was writing about my own interests, namely sports, opinions or most often my opinion on sports, that I really felt my happiest. My friends can certainly tell you about the long text essays I craft over WhatsApp about some sports argument we are having, to which they typically reply, “I’m not reading all that.” At this point, even though I know they wouldn’t read it, I keep writing, enjoying myself too much to stop.

Ultimately, that was one of my first concerns with coming to work for The Jewish Link. While the paper has a sports section, it is reasonably quiet during the summer,, focusing more on the Jewish sports news than the sports themselves. But an even bigger concern was the attention it would entail. I’m the type of person who cringes at the sound of my own voice or the sight of myself in videos and pictures. This applies quite strongly to my writing as well, to the point that I often struggle with proofreading because I don’t like reading what I have written minutes prior. The thought that my entire community, and so many people I knew, would be reading my pieces was far from exciting for me.

Now with six weeks completed, my first takeaway is that newspaper writing is not for me. Neutrally reporting the basic news of events or recounting the five Ws wasn’t stimulating for me. But that doesn’t mean my time this summer has been wasted. Just the opposite actually, as working for The Link has helped me in so many different ways, both as a writer and more importantly as someone hopefully soon entering the professional world.

While I had the chance to write sports articles as well as some other fun pieces, trying out the many different styles I was less comfortable with turned out to be even more crucial to my summer growth. I wrote a book feature, a webinar summary, and an in-person account of a local event, just to name a few. Although the writing itself wasn’t my favorite, the experience I gained through the process of writing each different piece was particularly valuable. Even though I still try to avoid reading my own pieces, I can tell that these few weeks have really elevated my writing ability.

Most important to me though, was the experience obtained in the various areas pertaining to a typical job. Working within weekly deadlines forced me to be productive and organized with my time. I learned how to be part of a team, communicating transparently and learning from the input of other interns. Weekly meetings were another highlight, getting insider information on the inner workings of a paper, while also participating in the discussions and listening to that which was added by my peers. Even something as simple as communicating with new people, something I’ve personally always struggled with, has improved tremendously for me. I was able to conduct interviews both in person and virtually, something six weeks ago I would have gotten anxious just thinking about.

But most of all, the best part of working for The Jewish Link was the amazing atmosphere created by each and every member working here. Whether it was getting ice cream or recording the podcast, I had a blast meeting and working with the other interns. Publisher Moshe Kinderlehrer, Editor Elizabeth Kratz and all the other office regulars really helped create a warm environment, making every day of work feel like a privilege rather than a burden.

I’d like to end by expressing my sincerest appreciation to Moshe and Elizabeth for this opportunity, and for the amazing few weeks that came with it. I’d also like to thank all members of The Jewish Link team who helped me develop both my writing and professional skill sets. As my next few years look to be filled with plenty of writing, and hopefully other job opportunities, the experience I’ve gained from this summer will surely prove to be invaluable.


Daniel Jaffe, a Jewish Link intern, is a rising junior at Yeshiva University who lives in Teaneck.

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