Sun-Sentinel: Two local college grads doing internships in Israel

Sun-Sentinel: Two local college grads doing internships in Israel

Abril 17, 2014

By David A. Schwartz 

Nicole Krassner channeled her love for Israel into an internship at Yad Vashem and Oren Okhovat fulfilled his passion for academics through an internship at the Joint Distribution Committee.

The Broward County residents are the only Floridians among 25 Jewish graduates of universities throughout the world who are doing internships in the Israeli government, and in policy and diplomacy organizations, through the Israel Government Fellows Program.
 
Krassner, 22, of Hollywood, who earned a master's degree in management from the University of Florida, is writing grants and project proposals to attract donors in her internship at Yad Vashem's international relations department.
 
"My first choice [for an internship] was Yad Vashem," she said in a phone call from Israel. "I wake up every day and go to Yad Vashem, which is an amazing place. There's always something to see. Every day I feel very lucky and very privileged that I get to work there."
 
Joshua "Josh" Kahn, 24, worked with Krassner at the University of Florida, where she was president of the Gators for Israel advocacy organization.
 
"Nicole is one of the most amazing students," Kahn said. They worked together to find the best program about Israel — "from the political to the cultural side" — during his three years as shaliach (Israel emissary) at the university, he said.
 
Krassner's involvement in student government was "critical to changing the environment on campus," Kahn said. "The Students for Justice in Palestine chapter was growing and very vocal," he explained. "[Nicole] was really critical in working for the pro-Israel resolutions passed in student government. She really was crucial in bringing heart and love and excitement to the conversation. You could see it in everything she did."
 
Krassner said that after her internship ends in June, she will go to New York to look for a job. "Whatever I do is going to have to lead back to Israel," she said. "Hopefully I will travel to Israel as part of my work."
 
Okhovat, 26, of Cooper City, earned a master's degree in international relations from Florida International University in Miami.
 
His internship at the Joint Distribution Committee's Institute for Leadership and Governance involves training leaders, facilitating collaboration between civil and government agencies, improving interdepartmental collaboration within the Israeli government, and helping mayors in Israel's periphery "improve the level of governance," Okhovat said in a phone call from Israel.
 
There are also weekly seminars — each with a different theme — to better understand Israel through its politics, economics and social issues, he said.
 
The internship at the Joint Distribution Committee is a "good career launcher" but it also appeals to his academic side, said Okhovat, who wants to pursue a doctorate and eventually teach and do research.
 
Debbie Gober, of Coral Springs, a member of the Jewish Federation of Broward County's executive board of directors and chair of the Federation's Agency Relations Committee, recommended Okhovat for a Federation grant so that he could participate in the Israel Government Fellows Program. "He's got a great background. He's well educated. He's a community-minded kid," Gober said. "I'm really proud that our Federation was able to help."
 
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