I was recently thinking about SJCS, I was struck in particular by how much I still carry the love of Morah Joyce and all of the staff with me. I think about Morah Joyce greeting me in the hall, (always by my Hebrew name), and how much she genuinely cared about the growth of every student. It is incredible to realize that my formative years were spent in such a supportive, kind environment. I work today in the world of Jewish summer camp, at Camp Ramah in the Rockies. Being in the world of experiential education, I am constantly reminded that kids don’t always remember the exact facts you teach them, but they do remember how they felt learning it. SJCS made me feel worthwhile, smart, loved, and included.
After Seattle Jewish Community School, I attended Eckstein Middle School, Ingraham High School and spent a gap year in Israel on the Nativ College Leadership Program. I went to college in New York, in the Joint Program between Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. After graduating, I stayed in New York as a full time fellow at Yeshivat Hadar, which provided me an opportunity to continue studying Jewish texts. I am so grateful to SJCS for giving me core Hebrew and text skills that allowed me to delve into deeper text study and Jewish practice. My childhood familiarity with Hebrew, teffilah, and Torah made pursuing a B.A. in Talmud and even my experience at Yeshivat Hadar much less intimidating.
In April 2016, I began my full time job at Ramah in the Rockies as the Program Director. It is a great fit for my experience teaching, my passion for the outdoors, and even my degree in Earth Science! I spent many summers as a camper in Jewish summer camps and have been working at Ramah since 2012, first as a counselor and later as the head of the biking program. I am slowly adjusting to life in Denver, including finding a Jewish community I feel comfortable in. I don’t think I would be so involved in Jewish life today if I hadn’t had such positive early experiences at SJCS. I hope that in my work in camp I am able to facilitate similar positive memories, and strong community that I have from SJCS.
Julia Snyder, SJCS Class of 2004, Columbia University, BA in Earth Science, Jewish Theological Seminary, Talmud and Rabbinics. 2016