This interview is part of the Yahel Alumni Spotlight Series, where we catch up with past Yahel fellows and participants to hear about their experience with Yahel and what they’re up to now. This Spotlight is brought to you by Yahel alumna Rachel Lieberman.
Julie Abraham is an alumna of the Yahel Social Change Fellowship '16-'17. We recently caught up with Julie to hear about her experiences with Yahel and how she has seen Yahel's impact since the fellowship ended.
Yahel: Tell us about yourself. Who are you?
Julie: I am 23 years old and grew up in Scarsdale, New York. I attended Tulane University in New Orleans and graduated in 2016. I am currently living in St. Louis. I love to travel, paint, and read.
Y: So Julie, what are you up to now?
Julie: I am currently a student in the Masters of Occupational Therapy program at Washington University in St. Louis.
Y: What did you do while serving as a Yahel Fellow?
J: During my time with Yahel, I lived in Ramat Eliyahu and taught English at Itamar school, a secular elementary school. I also volunteered at Modoanit Zvulun and Vitkin, after-school programs for elementary students through the welfare department. I also participated in the "Homework at Home" tutoring program.
Y: What was your biggest take-away from the Yahel Social Change Fellowship?
J: Yahel introduced me to many communities that exist in Israel; each of which I was previously unfamiliar with. This experience taught me to think critically when learning about foreign countries and communities. It taught me that the beliefs of minority groups are often overlooked and undervalued.
Y: What was your favorite Yahel moment?
J: One of my favorite moments was when my parents visited and had Shabbat dinner with my host family. My host family is Ethiopian and it was both interesting and emotional to watch people who have had such different life experiences connect over a Shabbat meal.
Y: How did you bring what you learned on Yahel back home with you?
J: Yahel provided me with the opportunity to practice leadership skills, and provided me with a platform in which I could practice taking initiative.
Y: Is there anything else you would like to share about the impact Yahel has had on your life?
J: I am from Westchester, New York and grew up in a predominately Jewish community. Now, for the first time, I am living in a community with very few Jews. Many of my non-Jewish classmates ask me questions about Judaism and Israel. I believe Yahel provided me with an experience that allows me to answer questions in a thoughtful and non-biased way.
Thank you, Julie! We are excited to watch as you continue to share information about Judaism and Israel and as you pursue your degree in Occupational Therapy.