Where Are They Now – Part Three of Three
In part three of three of Pinat Bogrim (Alumni Corner), we are highlighting Yavneh alumni and college graduate, Shai Weener, who is currently working as a Jewish professional in California. Shai recently graduated from the University of Maryland with degrees in Statistics and Jewish Studies and spent his 17th summer at Yavneh as a madrich on Na’aleh – and his 6th summer with the same amazing kids. Shai currently lives in the Moishe House in the Mission district of San Francisco, and is a project assistant for Rosov Consulting, a firm that helps evaluate programming within Jewish nonprofit organizations. Shai spends his free time running, cooking and watching some great netflix original shows.
1) What Yavneh experiences will you carry forward into your current position?
Throughout my time at Yavneh, one of the most important things I learned is that each person has a unique set of experiences that join together to create a Jewish identity, and how important camp is for the development of that identity. While some campers indicate that Kabbalat Shabbat and Musaf are huge components of their Jewish identity, others would say that learning Hebrew songs for Zimriyah helps build their identity. Furthermore, some would say that merely having Jewish friends at camp is a huge aspect of what makes them feel Jewish. In a job that focuses a lot on the Jewish identity of teens, I have learned not only the importance of Jewish summer camp in the process of a developing Jewish identity, but, also, that each individual has their own way of describing their Jewish identity.
2) What impact do you hope to have as a Jewish professional?
When I was a teenager, there were many Jewish leaders around me who helped me, both directly and indirectly, connect to Judaism in my own way and become an active member of the community. I hope to be able to help foster environments where current Jewish teenagers are able to let their Judaism flourish.