Carly Abramson, ISJL Education Fellow
Shalom! My name is Carly Abramson and I am very excited to be B’nai Israel’s new Education Fellow from the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL). I grew up in the sweeter part of Houston, Texas known as Sugar Land. For college, I said goodbye to my familiar suburb and embraced the city of Austin at the University of Texas. There, I majored in Jewish studies and minored in Hebrew. The more I dove into my Jewish identity I noticed that I was no longer as attached to my reputation as a proud Texan, but rather I was willing to follow the journey of being a proud Jew.
Growing up I spent my summers at a URJ camp known as Greene Family Camp. At Greene Family Camp it was easy for me to own my sense of Judaism, though back in Sugar Land I felt as if I had to exchange my “Jewishness” for the approval of my non-Jewish friends. Fortunately enough, as I started getting more involved with the Jewish community it was becoming evidently clear which path I needed to take. For my first stop, I made the decision to study abroad in Israel during my junior year of High School with a program called Eisendrath International Exchange (EIE). After my semester in Israel I no longer felt the need to play coy with my Jewish identity… to reiterate I majored in Jewish Studies and now work for a Jewish non-profit, and that is only a minor fraction of my story. If there was Shabbat or High Holiday services at Hillel, I was leading them. If there was another opportunity to study in Israel, I absolutely took it.
My semester abroad in Israel take- two, was a defining moment for me and became a critical stop on my Jewish journey. When I was a junior in college I got accepted to participate as a fellow with the Nachshon Project. This opportunity awoke my passion to make Judaism tangible for those of us who have to drive over an hour to get to synagogue, or to those of us who have to complain to our grocers about not having enough gefilte fish in stock because we have approximately one shelf for Jewish foods during the holiday season. In other words, after my experience with Nachshon I discovered that I wanted to help Judaism flourish in the South, which brings me to where I am now—Jackson, Mississippi.
I knew that I wanted to expand my knowledge and experiences in Southern Jewry, so it didn’t take long for me to stumble upon an organization known as the ISJL. The ISJL is committed to providing educational and rabbinic services, preserving the rich history of the Southern Jewish experience, sharing Jewish cultural and artistic programs, and facilitating community engagement opportunities throughout a thirteen state region. I cannot stress enough how grateful I am to work with your community and make a difference alongside you.
If you are interested in learning more about the ISJL and the benefits of your partnership with us, or if you are dying to learn more about me and my Jewish journey feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at (601)362-6357.
For more information please visit our website at www.isjl.org.
I am looking forward to meeting all of you!