My name is Zoe Friedman. As my Jewish teen youth group days are coming to an end, and where I’ve been apart of and had the most amazing time at many or all of them, I can’t help but think of something particularly special about my time as a student at JTConnect. I remember in eighth grade, unlike many others, there was no doubt in my mind I was going to stay as an AID at Emanuel, and a JTConnect bonus made me wonder how anyone could resist it. But, don’t worry- I made up for those missing out by attending not just Sunday JTConnect, but also Monday night. I really couldn’t get away.
One of the first classes that I ever took with JTConnect, and one that still sticks to me to this day, is one discussing the topic of science vs religion. Not only was it taught by the hilarious and brilliant, Jason Kay, but it was one of the first times I was forced to think so out of the box, and challenge what I, for so long, thought I had to believe in because that’s what I was told growing up. JTConnects array of diverse topics made learning fun; I wasn’t just absorbing information, I was interacting with the information, and making it relatable to myself and my Jewish life.
JTConnect is an above and beyond community, with caring and smart educators who adapt to our interests, to make sure we get the most out of our experience. Of course, none of this would be possible without our director, Eric Maurer. Eric is an incredibly hard worker, who has grown the JTconnect family past anything anyone could have ever imagined. There is no one who wants to make JTConnect students happier than him. If it’s taking class ideas into consideration or simply that we want Ice cream for the next weeks snack, you can be assured Eric will do everything he can to make it happen.
Being apart of JTConnect has given me one of the greatest outlets on an early sunday or, what would be an otherwise gloomy Monday. From the jam packed New York City trip days, to JTCares fundraising events, to classes with Marcus, Jason and the Rabbis, I will never forget a moment of it. My JTConnect moments will stay with me forever and follow me and inspire me through my upcoming Jewish endeavor in Israel, this fall.
I’m so thankful to have such a supportive and kind Jewish community that I know I can always come back to, and trust me, I will definitely be back to visit. Thank you.