September 28, 2023
September 28, 2023

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Over the past nine years or so that I’ve been involved with The Jewish Link’s intern program, our team has worked hard to provide an experience that will benefit each student’s future career. Generally, we have been able to take highly literate college students with a strong interest in writing who may have no published journalism experience, and over the course of six weeks, enable them to create works worthy of publication in any newspaper or periodical. We always warn our interns that what they get out of their internship will reflect the effort they put in.

In the past, I have felt that the burden of the intern experience fell on one or another staff member, and sometimes that was me. We had good and bad experiences administering the program, and learned that our best internships are completed by college-level students with a demonstrated interest and innate skill in writing. The pandemic summers were harder on us, as we found that internships completed via Zoom were successful only for intense, self-starting students with a high level of drive and intuition, which is actually quite unfair for many people seeking job experience.

However, this summer was a little different.

We had six strong writers who arrived in our offices quite literally ready to work. Hannah Kirsch, an experienced multi-year Jewish Link intern from West Orange and a rising senior at Binghamton University, returned to write for us but she also served as our intern coordinator. Hannah, who both brings her own story ideas and writes quickly and professionally on assignment, provided an additional level of consistency and support to our team, enabling our staff to either take vacations or work on their own assignments.

Each of our new interns surprised us by their willingness to work hard and by contributing their own energy and passions to their assignments. Noah Motechin, a Rutgers student from Bergenfield, arrived with a column idea called “Jew at the Zoo,” in which he spent seven weeks sharing a Torah perspective after seeing various animals at local zoos. The column was an instant hit and we received a ton of positive feedback. Noah also worked to hone his interview skills by interviewing the other interns and creating a piece introducing them to the Jewish Link readership.

Dina Shlufman, a Cornell-bound student from Tenafly, brought her experience as a high school newspaper editor to our paper, writing many articles on a variety of topics over her six weeks with us. Her interest in theater and digital media, as well as her love for Israel, was especially clear and she was able to write longer-form pieces on these topics that any newspaper in the country would be proud to publish. She was especially adept at interviewing people and bringing out salient points. She worked hard to edit herself and improve each piece she wrote before publication.

Daniel Jaffe, a Teaneck-based student at Yeshiva University, wrote like a Hemingway diarist, completely at ease with the written word and the writing process. He took assignments seriously and reported compellingly on every topic he took on. Over the course of his internship, he determined that journalism was likely not his first career choice, but the industry would be lucky to have him if he were to change his mind. Similarly, Shira Adler, from Teaneck and Stern College, shared that she might not be headed straight to journalism school, but her determination, poise and clarity of mind was evidenced in every piece she wrote; she reported on multiple women’s learning events around the community, showing an interest in promoting these programs.

Finally, Monsey’s Eitan Nissel, who is returning to Shana Bet at Yeshivat Har Etzion, surprised us with a natural journalistic curiosity, which drove his newfound skills in interviewing people and researching topics for the purpose of writing articles. He found the subjects we assigned him interesting, and he taught us that no topic is ever boring if he’s writing about it.

Having these six fantastic interns in our office this summer added fresh voices to our paper and through the feedback we received, we know that their contributions were valued. Our interns also reminded us that we can always give back to our community by teaching others what we know, with the understanding that when we teach, we also learn.

We wish our 2023 summer interns the best as they return to school for the year, and we can’t wait for our next class of summer interns in 2024.

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