My name is Graham Rotenberg. I am fresh out of high-school, where I served as Head Boy & House Captain, played rugby and was active in student life. Now, as my classmates go to university, I’ve chosen a different path and am spending a part of my “gap year” before university interning at CJPAC. I have been given the opportunity to reflect on, reminisce about, and synthesize my experience as a CJPAC intern through this weekly blog. However, before I get started, I’ll first take a minute to introduce myself and give you some background on how I got here.
Considering my active high school student-engagement, you might be asking yourself why this 18-year-old recent grad is not at university or pursuing an education somewhere else. Why have I bee-lined for the workplace rather than the lecture hall? The answer to that question can be traced back to a pivotal day in late June of 2012 — a day when my conception of what the academic year of 2013 was going to look like changed drastically.
I was preparing to go to my high school prom when I received a letter from my dream school. As I had previously been place on the waiting list, and the envelope I held in my hand was rather small, I assumed that I hadn’t been accepted. Boy was I in for a surprise. I opened the letter and read the first paragraph which stated that I had not been admitted to the class of 2016 cohort. Initially, I failed to read the second paragraph. As I was about to throw the letter away, my diligent sister decided that she should read the letter in its entirety. She exclaimed enthusiastically minutes later, “You have been accepted for the fall of 2013!!”. At this point, a strenuous decision making process began. Was I to discard my dream of attending Brown University and attend my second choice school, or should I embark on an ominous sounding “gap year”?
I decided to try the “gap year” with three personal requirements in place as a framework. The first was to work in politics, the second was to travel to Israel and the third was to play rugby. I hoped these three goals would help give structure to the 12 months ahead and keep me grounded as I took on this mystery year.
I have always been interested in the politics. However, I never opted to get involved in any way. I realized that if I took a year off before attending university, I would have the chance to fulfill my dream of getting involved politically which appealed to me greatly.
My involvement thus far with CJPAC has offered me a unique opportunity to learn, from a multi-partisan perspective, what goes on in politics and how to spread a meaningful, pro-Israel message across Canada. In my short time at the office, I have been welcomed into the CJPAC community with open arms by staff and community members alike.
In the few weeks I’ve been here I have already had some memorable experiences — including witnessing intra-office political debates and working on a by-election campaign.
I know that I am going to have a remarkable time here over the next few months and I so look forward to keeping you in the loop about my experience working as part of the CJPAC team!
Until next time,