Saying goodbye is a difficult and yet inevitable part of life. As I “leave” CJPAC as an intern, I have the opportunity to reflect on all of the incredible lessons I learned here. It is nearly impossible to believe that I started more than four months ago. I guess time flies when you are having a good time! For this blog, I will outline some memorable experiences and lessons that have influenced my thinking as well as reflect on my first full-time professional position.
Since I started at CJPAC, my conception of politics has been altered significantly. First, prior to coming to CJPAC, my views on Israel were fairly neutral. After my time working at CJPAC, and after being exposed to the distortions of the truth that are perpetuated about the State of Israel and its people, my feelings about many of the issues changed quite radically. I learned much about what our community faces, at home, in Israel, and abroad. That inkling of pro-Israel sentiment that I started with four months ago grew immensely as I learned more.
The second thing that became more clear to me during my time at CJPAC is how powerful political involvement can be. I learned that being involved politically can not only be fun, but also interesting and fulfilling. I observed that we can have an impact on discourse and positions simply by speaking out and facilitating engagement. That message has really stuck with me as, prior to this point, I had never experienced the power of mass mobilization firsthand. Overall, my time at CJPAC has taught me about the moral case for the State of Israel and the importance of adding my voice to the political discourse surrounding it.
These reflections on what I have learned have led me to consider one experience in particular that really had an impact on me: the CJPAC fellowship. The amazing few days at the conference taught me about how deeply people care about politics, and how they really want to change the world. For me, it was amazing to hear from a group of dynamic speakers and converse with such intelligent, passionate Fellows. This experience of being exposed to a wide variety of opinions and engaging in meaningful interactions is definitely a good representation of my time at CJPAC as a whole. The Fellowship Conference served as another impeccable example of what’s possible as I travel the road to a more comprehensive political understanding.
These past few months were also my first foray into the working world. I had never worked in an office before, nor had I interacted as a member of an office team. Now, I have been able to experience strategy sessions, hear how dilemmas are dealt with and understand how consensus is achieved. This experience was unique because CJPAC serves as a safe-space where people from diverse partisan backgrounds can come together in support of a cause that is uniquely important to all of them: supporting the state of Israel. This model further reinforced the importance of teamwork and the value in understanding the opinions of others and working together towards a common goal.
These past few months have provided me with an experience to remember. Working at CJPAC has been my introduction to the professional world, to organized politics and to the pro-Israel community. I am eternally grateful to the CJPAC staff for what they have taught me. Words cannot describe the great work all of you do. I wish all of you the best going forward.
Finally, I would like to thank the readers of this blog for allowing me to express my experiences, thoughts, and opinions. I hope that one day our paths cross if they haven’t already! All the best and Happy Chanukah!
On behalf of the CJPAC staff, I’d like thank Graham for all of his incredible work. It has been a privilege to watch him grow into his position at CJPAC and I can’t wait to see what great things he does next! Best of luck with everything you do, Graham. And, remember, no one ever really leaves CJPAC!