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Intern Spotlight: Lorraine Barnes

For CSUN senior Lorraine Barnes, Hillel 818 has been a place of self-discovery. She always knew she wanted to find a Jewish community filled with people more similar to herself, saying, “The thing that made me want to be part of Hillel was a desire to be part of a Jewish community with people my age. I had heard about Hillel from a woman back home. She told me, ‘Oh, you’re going to CSUN, right? You should join Hillel 818, they’re really great, they’re really fun. I was part of them, I’m an alumni of there.’ I had a coffee chat with Max and then I went to an event. Junior year was really, really rough but once things calmed down going into senior year the number one goal I had was that I wanted to go to Hillel more. It’s nice there, it’s fun there, I want to be part of it more, and that’s exactly what I did.”

While she may not have spent as much time during college at Hillel as she wanted, her senior year is now packed with socializing with others and getting involved in different opportunities at Hillel 818. One of those opportunities is the internship program at Hillel, which gives students paid, real-world experience creating programs and learning new skills. “[My internship] forced me to come out of my shell that I had sort of defaulted to,” she shared. “A lot of the time I was like, ‘Oh, it’s fine. I don’t need to go to this social event, I’ll probably be okay,’ but then I always regretted it later. Now I think, ‘Well this is a Hillel event, I should go. If I don’t have a conflict, I should go.’ It’s been helping me get out there and reaching into my Jewish identity more.”

Being an intern and kehillah (community) leader has helped further develop her people skills. “I’m an engagement intern and also part of the games kehillah. I’m loving hosting events and being able to connect to other people who have overlapping interests has been great. I’m also in charge of LGBTQIA+ engagement, and meeting other queer Jews has been really important for me. In my hometown growing up I was one of the only out, queer Jewish young adults. Having other people with a similar Jewish identity and interests has made it easier to build a community. I think to myself, ‘Oh I’m not alone, there are tons of people like me! This is fine and normal,’ it is really comforting. I have a lot more planned for next semester and I’m really looking forward to it.”

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