My Experience as an American Intern at the IKG Vienna

Eleanor Monroe
2023 06 18 straßenfest schmidl 09286

Before staring my internship at the IKG, I had no idea that Vienna was home to a vibrant, thriving Jewish community. It has been an incredible surprise to witness the vibrancy of Jewish life and institutions here, and even more amazing to see the number of organizations that are dedicated to providing for the needs of community members.

My time working with different departments within the IKG, including the Communications Office, the Rabbinate, the Ukrainian Aid Project, Nachtbarschaftshilfe, the Archive, and InfoPoint, has opened my eyes to the number of ways that the IKG supports and fosters community in the city, helps those in need, and fights Antisemitism through research, outreach, education, and advocacy.

Some of the projects I’ve worked on during my time here have making public-facing communication points of the IKG more accessible to the outside world by translating resources and articles and producing English content for the website. I have also worked closely with the Rabbinate’s office to organize community resources and events and supported the Communications office in organizing their upcoming event remembering Kristallnacht 85 years later.

One of the most meaningful aspects of my internship was working with Lea Nakashvili to support Nachtbarschaftshilfe and IKG Bildung, including through community education and outreach at the Judische Straßenfest and leading programs at Zwi Perez Schule. At ZPC, we created a Reading Buddies program to foster literacy and confidence in elementary school students, which was deeply rewarding.

As a newcomer to Vienna, I’ve been awed by the vitality and diversity of the Jewish community in the city and feel so fortunate to have been able to meet countless amazing individuals and witness so many incredible community projects and initiatives being put forth by and with the support of the IKG to improve the lives of community members.

My biggest takeaway from my experience interning at the IKG has been that the people who oversee the day-to-day workings of the institution have incredible vision, work ethic, and care for the community, and the IKG’s role within the city can serve as an exemplar of how diverse Jewish communities can work together to govern themselves and create ties between different groups within the community while also supporting and thriving within cities. I hope to carry with me the knowledge that strong Jewish communities can be built, rebuilt, and maintained when people who care deeply about the future of the community work together when I return to my role as a Jewish student leader at my university.