For Yeshivat Frisch seniors on the cusp of graduation, choice plays a vital role in how they get to spend their last few weeks of high school. The 12th graders had the opportunity to decide between one of four options for the month following Pesach: mini-courses led by Frisch faculty, directed study with Frisch faculty, beit midrash or participation in a Frisch new Senior Work-Study Program.
Over 50 students chose the work-study option and have been matched to companies and nonprofits selected specifically to fit their interests. Many Frisch alumni across multiple industries have taken on these seniors and are exc ited to give back to the Frisch community. Industries in which students have been placed include: business and finance, medicine, law, real estate, engineering, psychology, journalism, book publishing, photography, community service, food distribution and animal care.
The Frisch Senior Work-Study Program, run by Rabbi Burry Klein alongside Frisch parents Susan Nadritch (‘93) and Pam Newman, is designed to be symbiotic, benefitting both students and employers. Employers have been impressed by the character of the Frisch students and the seriousness with which they have applied themselves to their assignments. “It is a gift to both our institute and the clinic,” said Eve Yudelson LCSW, director of The Clinic at the New Jersey Institute, about her experience working with her assigned Frisch senior.
“It’s been a great experience,” said Ben Rieder, CEO at Chestnut Holdings of New York Inc. “The kids are mentches. They were not afraid to ask questions and handled the tasks professionally.”
Meanwhile, Frisch work-study students stand to gain tremendous knowledge about the industries and professions that interest them.
Senior Eli Bursztyn, founder of the Frisch Zoological Society, was placed at the Bergen Veterinary Hospital Place with Dr. Jen Suss (‘93), where he has had the opportunity to observe different aspects of veterinary medicine. “Working at the veterinary clinic has been a true eye-opener,” said Bursztyn. “I’ve learned so much about proper animal care, the inner workings of a veterinary hospital and I’ve even seen surgeries. It’s fascinating and I really enjoy it.”
“Every day brings different cases and you never know what to expect,” said Dr. Suss. “I am hoping that Eli will gain through this experience that there are many aspects to veterinary medicine. Working in general practice is just one aspect. Aside from specializing in specific animals or fields, there are also food animal veterinarians, equine veterinarians, food safety and inspection veterinarians, research veterinarians and government jobs for public safety and epidemiology.”
Seniors Tabitha Klein, Brooke Schwartz and Ariella Weiss were assigned to The Jewish Link. “The students have been working on a number of editing and writing tasks and we have already assigned them a few articles and accepted some of their article pitches,” said Publisher Rabbi Moshe Kinderlehrer. “We are hoping they get a strong sense of what it’s like to work at our hyperlocal community paper, how to write a range of different types of columns and articles and also to learn some editing skills and techniques.”
“The program is a great opportunity to get acquainted with your interest in the job market even before starting college,” said Frisch senior Michael Froimchuk, who is completing his work-study at a top real estate private equity firm. “The educational experience is unparalleled. I get to meet with people you only hear about on the news. I get to sit in on important company meetings to understand the environment in which I am in. And lastly, most importantly, I have the opportunity to do work in a company only few my age are given the chance to do.”
“Being in this environment, you get to see everything happening from the inside out,” agreed senior Yosef Farca, who is at the same firm. “It’s very different from learning in a classroom, and the things that we are working on are all immediately relevant and happening today.”
“I learned many things about the [real estate] industry I would like to go into after just one week at PopShop,” said Sammy Volodarsky, who is at a different company.
Students in other fields voiced similar impressions. “For my work-study, I am editing a book for Kodesh Press,” explained senior Michele Scheer. “This is an amazing opportunity to learn about the world of editing and publishing, and get some experience in a field I am potentially interested in entering. I have been interested in writing and editing for years, and now I finally have the chance to explore this potential career in an official way.”
Prior to the start of the program, Yali Elkin (‘93), Frisch parent and CFO at a small private equity fund, gave an Excel seminar to a group of work-study students, providing them with an indispensable workplace skill. “We had the kids seriously engaged for almost two hours to learn the basics of data analysis,” said Elkin. “We barely scratched the surface, of course, but the students began to appreciate the power of thinking like an analyst and the many doors such a mindset can open.”
“Yali Elkin showed our students how useful Excel is for solving everyday problems and how much more there is to learn,” commented Frisch Director of Educational Technology Rabbi Tzvi Pittinsky, who attended the seminar. “It felt like an Excel beit midrash!”
For those seniors staying closer to home base, these three educational weeks have also been well utilized. Mini-courses, overseen by Frisch Director of Mentoring and Academic Advisement Ira Miller, have included (among others) the history of fashion, music from the ‘60s, American politics, 21st-century Halacha, community Halacha, “Adventures of the Soul” (Hasidism) and media and culture, in which students get to analyze and break down the messaging of advertisements.
The end of May will feature “senior seminars” for the entire grade on topics of critical importance as the teenagers graduate high school and head out into the wider world. Seminar topics include kedushat ha’mishpacha, campus readiness, professional ethics and more.