HUC/Los Angeles Graduation 2022
Good morning. It’s so nice to see everyone in person. These past few years have really Zoomed by. We are here to celebrate an accomplishment that we have worked so hard to achieve over the last few years. So here we are, together as one, but we all come from very diverse backgrounds. We’ve all had different journeys, both personally and professionally, but today we celebrate together.
Before we move on to the next adventure, I want to ask everyone two questions: How big is your story and when did it begin?
When I think about my story, I think back to late-high school and early college times. I was lost. Both personally and professionally, I was looking to be challenged yet fulfilled, patient yet excited, and I wanted to take risks yet be mindful of my future.
At the start of my senior year of college, I was unsure of what was next, and I was about to consider law school as my next steps. I was sharing my career trajectory dilemma with one of my mentors. He is a Jewish professional, and he suggested I seriously consider Jewish communal work. Questioning him on if this was the destination I want to end up at, he responded and said “this work is not about the destination, it is about the journey to get there,” so I thought, “Okay, let’s see if this is what will help me find fulfillment.” And after a short time working full time in this field, it all clicked for me, that the meaning and purpose of this work is to always be trying to find the meaning and purpose.
I was merely looking for a great, big story to live in real time.
All of our stories have different themes, experiences, and highs and lows, but the people who are with us today here and now all share one particular chapter, and the connections we’ve created in this chapter will continue to unfold as we move forward and carry on with our lives. We’ve all played a role in each other’s stories now, and as we begin to move on to what is next, whether it be a new job, a new city, or just practicing new skills, our story will always be linked to Hebrew Union College – in my and my classmates case, specifically to the Zelikow School.
That being said, Thank you to my fellow graduates, our instructors, Erik, Mandi, Melissa, my mentor who talked me out of law school, and everyone else that has helped us succeed for supporting us on this journey. It is not just me or my fellow students who graduate today, it’s our friends, our families, teachers, and networks that are a part of this accomplishment as well.
Our passion for the Jewish professional sector and for making a difference in the world started before graduate school and will live on long after, but the journey it took to get here could only be possible with all of you. Thank you so much to everyone for being part of this chapter, and for sharing your stories with me. Congratulations fellow graduates!