Testimonials from Interns
“Interning for the Jewish Dialogue Group this past summer, I had the opportunity to do in-depth research for the upcoming Deliberation Guidebook. The most challenging part of this research was attempting to step into multiple perspectives at once; I needed to be able to adopt views that were not necessarily my own, synthesize innumerable complex perceptions and emotions, and convey this information to those whose views might be radically different. This changed my perspective on what it means to truly understand a conflict. It is not just about knowing the “facts” or even the points of view, but rather about appreciating the nuances in every individual’s relationship to the conflict—his or her dreams, fears, values and aspirations. I learned to draw new connections and to refrain from useless categorizations. In doing so, I simultaneously corroborated and challenged my own beliefs. Being a JDG intern was honestly one of the best ways I could imagine spending my summer—it was interesting, demanding and refreshing.”
Haverford College, Class of 2011
“Interning for the Jewish Dialogue Group has been one of the most rewarding summer experiences I have had thus far. It was incredible to be part of an organization that values each of its members and contributors on a personal level, and is truly interested in each individual's perspective. As a college junior, I am still trying to navigate my own way through the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and figure out exactly what I believe. This summer, I was able to interview community leaders from across the political and religious spectrum. In doing so, I was given the opportunity to not just hear a wide range of opinions, but to really put myself into the minds of leaders in my community who have thought about the conflict and formed their opinions in a real and conscious way. My internship with the JDG gave me the opportunity to discuss an issue that I am most passionate about, and more importantly, it gave me an opportunity to put a pause on all of the rhetoric and talking points that ordinarily surrounds this issue in order to delve deep into the different narratives and perspectives that drives people's intense energy and passion for their views.”
Washington University, Class of 2012
“It is evident that American Jews are becoming more divided in their opinions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Unfortunately, disputes of this nature have in many cases created fissures on the personal level, and have left communities reeling from discord and mistrust. As an intern with the Jewish Dialogue Group this Summer, I helped research the main positions taken by Jews in America with respect to the conflict. The research allowed me to become an expert on each stance, and I often found myself advocating in my head for each viewpoint depending on the narrative I was analyzing at the time. Once completed in book form, I hope these findings will provide readers of all levels of knowledge-base on the conflict with the opportunity to understand the beliefs and concerns of those coming from different sides of the political spectrum, and teach them that they can disagree on political matters without being simply disagreeable.
“In the course of exploring narratives that deviate from my own, I additionally learned to reconcile my critiques of them with my innate affinity for my fellow coreligionists. After sincerely considering all of their fears and aspirations, it was impossible, I learned, to find any belief that was not based on at least some form of logical concern. In the future, I intend to collaborate with the Jewish Dialogue Group to foster mutual respect between Jewish groups on my university campus, so that however we may diverge on issues relating to Israel, we will remain united as a community in our celebration of Jewish life in America.”
Brandeis University, Class of 2011
"Interning with the Jewish Dialogue Group is the kind of experience students will find helpful, unique, and most importantly, genuinely interesting. This was not a coffee-getting, copy-making type of internship; I was able to truly contribute to the project and see the tangible results of my work throughout the summer. Doing research for the deliberation guidebook challenged me and the other interns to look at the way we form our own opinions and judgments, a quality that is incredibly valuable in this day and age. The ability to look at a situation you thought you knew just plenty about through a perspective different from your own is an absolutely fundamental step towards learning tolerance and acceptance. The most rewarding part about interning with the JDG is realizing the truth in the difference this most basic of human behaviors—talking—can make among people of all backgrounds. You are working towards helping others communicate in ways they could not do before, but you are just as much working on your own ability to respect, think and understand."
Tulane University, Class of 2012
"I interned with the Jewish Dialogue Group back in 2005, after searching for dialogue projects across the country. As a college junior, it was really great to meet with so many different kinds of people within and outside the organization. I continue to use the lessons learned that summer: on messaging to your audience, on cultivating relationships with activists across the political spectrum, and the political landscape of the American Jewish community in relation to Israel/Palestine. That I am still in touch with JDG's director is a testament to the faith he had in me, and in his ability to cultivate strong volunteers and leaders. The Jewish Dialogue Group is doing important work that no one else does—to intern with them is an experience that can't be replicated anywhere else. I'm so glad to know that more volunteers are joining their ranks—this is a wonderful chance to take a project and run with it!"
—Jessie Posilkin, Bryn Mawr College
AB '06 Peace and Conflict Studies