Shalom! My name is Carissa and I’m one of the new interns at Jerusalem Open House this summer. I am going to be a senior at Yale University in the fall. I study American cultural history and hope to get my teaching degree or work in the non-profit sector after graduation. I really love Harry Potter, Settlers of Catan, Game of Thrones, and bad reality shows about weddings. And I’m really excited to have the opportunity to work with JOH for the next two weeks.
My first few days in Israel were a bit chaotic. I missed by plane out of New York by ten minutes. Our apartment lost power and hot water the first few days we were here and still doesn’t have internet! And, most unfortunately, our air conditioner does not work. However, since I started at Jerusalem Open House, it’s been nothing but smooth sailing. (At least workwise!)
JOH really does stay true to their name. I was worried that as a non-Jew, non-Hebrew-speaker, straight American student, I’d really have no place here. But I was absolutely wrong. From the moment that Zach (the development coordinator and all-around awesome guy) came out of the office to greet me when I arrived after being lost for two hours, I’ve felt at home. Everyone seemed genuinely excited to add a new person to the JOH group. The highlight of my day is still our big, family-style lunch. We run out to Jaffa Street to find places to pick up delicious food and convene back at JOH to eat together and talk. And as my Hebrew is atrocious, everyone is kind enough to speak in English so I can understand and participate.
I’ll be back throughout the summer to tell more about my experiences working with JOH and to share some of the terrific work they do with the LGBT community in Israel!