Wolf Fellows Serve Communities Abroad

Tags: Federation, Israel, Overseas, Young Adults

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Rachel Seiger spent a year abroad in Germany as a Wolf-JDC International Fellow.

An opportunity many of us do not have the chance to fulfill – spend a year living and working abroad. But that is exactly what Rachel Seiger, of Solon, and Ben Fleisher, a Cleveland native, were able to do. Their overseas journeys became possible through the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and the Roslyn Z. Wolf-Jewish Joint Distribution Committee International Fellow Program.

“This program has impacted me in ways that are very tangible, but also ways that I will unravel for many years to come,” said Seiger, who spent a year in Germany. “I was able to learn about modern life in Berlin, but also reach back and discover the history of Jewishness in Germany, which is very powerful and beautiful.”

The Wolf-JDC International Fellow Program is a year-long, paid opportunity helping Jewish communities around the world develop programs to educate youth, care for the elderly, and train future leaders. “I went in this wondering if I could be both effective and engaged in a classroom setting or an office setting and this experience helped settle that,” said Fleisher, who spent his time in Israel. “I found the one program where I’d be able to do both.”

“Berlin made the most sense because it was working directly with kids and parents,” Seiger said. “That is something I’m very passionate about – education, alternative education - and to engage in a multi-cultural community was something that was very appealing as well.”

Ben also re-discovered the ethics of Judaism while living and working in Israel. “The people around me wanted me to succeed – whether that’s making sure I had a Shabbat meal, making sure I knew about a Thursday night dance group called Boogie, or just letting me know groceries are cheaper at the shuk (market) than the local grocery store.

The Wolf-JDC International Fellowship program was an overall learning experience for Rachel. “This will forever impact my life and I feel grateful to the Wolf family. They truly change lives and provide a complete immersion for a way in which to learn hands-on - that’s something that can never be taken away.”

For more information on the Roslyn Z. Wolf-JDC International Fellow Program, please contact Janet Shapiro at 216-593-2875 or jshapiro@jcfcleve.org.

Ben Fleisher was able to explore surrounding areas like Cyprus while he served as the Wolf-JDC International Fellow in Israel.

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