When an internship brought Rebecca Daniel to Denver, she didn’t know what she’d be in for, who she’d meet or the incredible experiences she was about to embark upon. “I moved out here and I was looking for people to meet. I literally just Googled ‘young Jewish professionals Denver’ and Olami popped up,” she laughs, “Rabbi Wolfe reached out immediately and invited me to a Shabbat dinner at their house the following night. I got involved pretty quickly right after that.”
Rebecca began participating in many regular Olami activities, from skiing and social events to regular Shabbat dinners, parties and more. But it was the Olami Mentorship program that really made quite the impact on her. “In all honesty Rabbi Wolfe presented the mentorship program and how it would culminate in a summit in Spain, the Spain part is what really piqued my interest. I’d never been to Spain before and it sounded like a great opportunity.”
To meet the qualifications for the Spain Summit, Rebecca began meeting with her mentor regularly about once a week for 10 sessions. “We discussed a range of topics, ranging from being present to thinking about your past, your Jewish history, family values, and balancing that with components of your identity. I really liked how our conversations were about inherently Jewish values, but also impacted me personally and professionally.” Everything Rebecca and her mentor discussed brought important Jewish values into the conversation, “but it was so applicable too. It could really be what I wanted, with different paths and ways to create a program with your mentor that would work for you.”
Of course, the trip to Spain was amazing as well. Sight-seeing and tourism opportunities were great, but it was the actual Summit portion itself that made the biggest impact on Rebecca. “It was just really nice being with a thousand similar people for a week, and we’re breaking out into song and celebrating our Judaism, it was awesome to be in that community and to meet Jews from all over the world. It was an incredible experience. The sessions brought so many interesting speakers, both Rabbis and business leaders. I really enjoyed the entire trip.”
Rebecca’s Spain experience is just further proof that there is so much out there for anyone looking to further their Jewish education. “When I was applying for colleges, there were many ways to get involved in Jewish communities at your school, but I felt like there wasn’t a lot of conversation about what happens when you graduate college. I knew you could get involved in your synagogue or federation and Jewish community centers, but I didn’t know that groups like Olami existed, and it’s been such a great surprise.”
“It can definitely be a little scary, when you’re going to events and you don’t know anyone. But everyone (at Olami Denver Experience) has been super welcoming, and I’ve made some really great friends in the Jewish Community. It’s been so nice to have, especially since I moved out here and all my family is on the East coast. I think being a part of a community is really important.”
So whether you’re interested in a mentorship program that could take you to trips all over the world, or simply looking to meet some new people, Rebecca encourages anyone to give it a try. “A lot of us are new, a lot of people are transplants” she recalls, “they don’t know anyone either. So you wouldn’t be alone – even if you show up not knowing anyone.”
If you want to apply to the next cohort of the Mentorship program, which includes a trip to Brazil, please click here.