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

My Internship With Simon Wiesenthal Government Advocacy

“Hello, this is Sophia from Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal’s office. How can I help you?”

That sentence changed me.

This past summer, together with 25 other young adults, I had the incredible opportunity to intern for various political offices throughout New York City. The Simon Wiesenthal Government Advocacy Internship not only offered the offices and the positions, but there were also weekly dinners with countless significant people who impact the political world in every measure. This program was all about stepping out of our comfort zone. This was whether it was adapting to the MTA and Metro system, becoming more active and involved, or engaging in new conversations.

I worked on the Upper West Side with Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal and her staff. To say I learned an abundance of skills would be an understatement. I worked on my research, writing and speaking skills while learning just how much of a difference I can make. Growing up, I always wanted to make a mark on the world and change it for the better, and working for the assembly member showed me firsthand I am capable of that. For a few months, I worked with constituents ensuring that we solved their issues to the best of our ability.

I will never forget the happiness and warmth that surrounded me when I finally finished a case and helped Joann (a 93-year-old woman) get money for her food stamps. Hearing her voice lighten and seeing her smile is something I will never forget. Throughout my days at the office, I took on various opportunities to research topics that I cared about and had countless chances to further my education, whether it was attending meetings on environmental issues, women’s rights or our prison system. I went to events and assisted constituents, but most importantly, I’ve been a Jewish leader. I have met many people, shook many hands, and said many words while wearing my Israeli Magen David ring.

I had the privilege of observing a meeting at the Israeli Consulate. I shared thoughts with influential people on America’s relationship with Israel and the challenges we have recently seen. I learned what it means to have a connection with another country. I witnessed people with various opinions put aside their differences and focus on Israel and how we can help fight for it.

For the longest time I believed that to support Israel I had to be Republican and follow the views of most right-wing people, but I was so immensely wrong. The people in my office taught me that I can value the rights of Israel while simultaneously fighting for rights in America. The Simon Wiesenthal Center truly blessed me with the opportunity to be surrounded by, and the ability to learn from, such dedicated and hard-working people. People who showed me that I can make an impact not just for one side of my beliefs but for all of them.

I encountered people who make a difference through campaigns, media, constituent services and philanthropy, and they all inspired me.

A Jewish girl who is Modern Orthodox and left-leaning—not something that the political world wants but what I think it certainly needs.


Sophia Green spent her summer between high school graduation and a gap year in a seminary in Israel interning for Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal through the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Wiesenthal Government Advocacy Internship Program. She lives in Hewlett, New York and will be attending Hunter College in the fall of 2023. She loves to read, write, research and anything to do with creativity and the English language. [email protected]

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