Part-Time Jewish Jobs
By ISJL Education Fellow Carrie Bohn
The Jewish people are known for being “People of the Book,” but for my generation, “People of the Part-Time Job” also applies. Many contemporary Jews likely had their first part-time job at a Jewish institution. B’nei Mitz’vah tutoring and staffing youth group retreats scratch the surface of what it can look like to do part-time work in the Jewish community.
The college level is the perfect time to become involved with Jewish organizations, and the opportunities are virtually endless. Jewish part-time work can be conducive to the rigor and time commitment of college, and (luckily) considers Jewish holidays. Listed below are a few ideas for part-time employment:
While it might be hard for some college students even to imagine waking up before noon on a weekday (let alone a weekend), religious school is an excellent option for part-time employment. If the congregation a student works at is lucky enough to utilize the ISJL curriculum, all of the fully-scripted lessons are easy to follow and require no prior Jewish knowledge to lead each lesson!
A goal of many religious schools is to provide young Jews a space to learn about their Jewish roots, but teachers are also able to learn more about Judaism. Witnessing young Jews learn Jewish ideas for the first time can be invigorating. JEDLAB Jobs is a Facebook group that posts about jobs in Jewish education, and it often includes listings for religious school teachers across the nation. There are many other places to find these part-time jobs including the Union for Reform Judaism’s (URJ) website and Reshet Ramah. You can post (or find a job) in these locations without necessarily being a “member.”
Summers can be filled with long days at the lake, Shabbat in nature, and everyone’s favorite day of the year—color wars brought to you by counselors (likely) of college-age. One of the most formative experiences a young person can have is attending camp, and the good times do not have to stop when one goes away to college. Becoming a camp counselor can allow a college student to gain leadership experience, create lasting memories, and overall provide campers with an experience that will last them a lifetime.
With school likely off during the summer, committing to work at an overnight camp (room and board included!) can be a great move to gain experience as well as have a lot of fun. Regardless of if one chooses to pursue a career in Jewish communal life, camp is a way to learn interpersonal skills and conflict resolution; articles have been written to highlight how working at camp can be better than an internship. To view jobs in Jewish camping check out The Foundation for Jewish Camping or your local Jewish Community Center.
Additionally, some camps operate year-round. Sometimes they need staff to help with any number of responsibilities on weekends when groups have rented out the facility. It can be a great way to escape campus while also getting paid. You can find a camp here.
Staffing Youth Group Events
Jewish youth groups and their events are another excellent way for college students to have some fun and make a few extra dollars along the way. Even if you did not participate in youth groups as a high school student, the opportunity is still available to you. The time commitments can vary, but likely (as a college student), one might only have to sacrifice a few weekends a year to take part in a lively event.
Several Jewish movements have youth groups, including the URJ and The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), and to find out about opportunities with the teen programs a simple search on your phone (hopefully after class) can aid in landing you a cool gig! The chance to travel to a new place, or see how different communities of teens interact allows for one to become a well- rounded individual.
In a seminal experience such as college, seeking employment in a familiar Jewish space can provide a sense of comfort in a time of many transitions. The opportunity to gain experience, form lasting relationships, and inspire the next generation of Jews is reason enough to search for a part-time job in the Jewish community.