NJP (Nice Jewish Person) Rachel Klein
Each month, The Well highlights an amazing (and eligible!) individual.
This month, we have a conversation with NJP Rachel Klein!
TW: We hear you're currently living in Southwest Detroit. What are the best and worst parts of living in the city, and how has it changed since you moved there?
RK: Living in Detroit has been wonderful because it’s given me a chance to be a part of a vibrant community of individuals with a genuine interest in seeing the city thrive. It’s great to be involved in everything that’s happening here, and I’ve especially been (pleasantly) surprised to see what an active young Jewish community is budding in town. I’ve only been living here a little less than a year, so I can’t say it’s changed tremendously in that time, but I do see new projects brewing every day. Overall, it’s an exciting place to live, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to grow new roots here.
TW: You're currently a fellow with Repair The World -- tell us about it!
RK: Repair the World is a great experience- every day is different! I’m an education justice fellow, so I coordinate programs between Detroit Public Schools and other Repair the World partner organizations. One of my favorite partnerships was coordinating University of Michigan’s (Go Blue!) alternative spring break. My favorite thing about being a fellow is that it has given me a chance to interact with students and teachers to learn what needs exist in the city, and to have a platform for contributing toward meeting those needs.
TW: What's the project you've worked on as part of your fellowship (or otherwise) that you're the most proud of?
RK: Right now I’m organizing a speaker series for the residents of Freedom House, a safe haven for refugees seeking political asylum within the United States. Every other Monday, we invite a speaker to give a talk for Freedom House residents on topics like the American political system and the current state of public health in Detroit. We’ve been lucky enough to have some incredible local speakers so far, and it’s been wonderful to see the enthusiasm among Freedom House residents.
TW: What are your three favorite things to do in your free time?
RK: This one is embarrassingly easy to answer: Yoga, Knitting, and Cooking. My Bubbie would be so proud.
TW: Where would you most like to travel to that you haven't visited?
RK: There are so many places I haven’t been yet! A friend and I are planning a backpacking trip through Europe for next summer. I’ve never been to Europe at all, so I’m really looking forward to it. Any recommendations on “must-sees” are appreciated :)
TW: What's your favorite Jewish holiday and why?
RK: Definitely Pesach. Every year I have a huge Seder with my family. One of my best Pesach memories so far is from 2014, while I was studying abroad in Haifa. My mother came to Israel to visit me and we had a Seder with my Zaydie’s friends from his hometown in Poland. Celebrating Passover in Israel with a group of Holocaust survivors gave me a whole new level of appreciation for the hardships that the Jewish nation has overcome, and the potential for growth and positive change moving forward.
TW: Who is the coolest Jew?
RK: Right now I’m going to have to say Bernie Sanders #feelinthebern
TW: If you could add an 11th commandment what would it be?
RK: “Thou shalt not finish the entire container of hummus in one day.” (I could use the reminder)
TW: What is the Jewish community missing?
RK: The Jewish community has so much to offer, but I think we could still work harder to create a safe space for young progressive Jews to have their voices heard.
TW: Finish the sentence: When I go to The Well…
RK: I am challenged to think about numerous current issues through a Jewish lens. It’s really wonderful to have a safe space where I feel all voices can be heard.