Jewish Community Partners announces the hiring of Miriam Roochvarg, who joins JCP as Engagement Associate. Miriam will oversee various Memphis Jewish Federation initiatives, including PJ Library, Newcomers, Shalom Baby, and the Israeli Scouts. A lifetime of rich Jewish experiences and engagement has equipped her with the ideal skillset and outlook to ensure these programs continue to thrive and serve the community.
By Miriam Roochvarg
As a former clergy kid- my dad was a cantor for over 20 years before retiring-, Camp Judea alumna, Ramah Darom alumna, and graduate of the American Hebrew Academy, a Jewish boarding high school in N.C., you could say I come from a rich Jewish environment.
As I was finishing my Communications degree at North Carolina State University, I realized I wanted to make a difference, but didn’t know where or how. Outside of home, school is where kids spend the most time, giving educators the opportunity to impact lives in a profound way. I decided I’d give teaching a try.
When I was accepted into Teach For America I was asked to rank locations I would be interested to teach in. A main priority was a city with a good Jewish community, and from what I saw online, Memphis seemed all that and more. I’m happy to say, the decision hasn’t disappointed me one bit.
Through Jewish geography and a little chutzpah, before my move, I connected with Rabbi Sarit Horwitz, and a former co-worker of my mom’s who lived here in Memphis. Thanks to them I was able to connect with welcoming community members who helped me get situated here, and make this place my home.
Because of the support that was offered to me, I wanted to make sure I could offer the same to others. Whether it was grabbing coffee with new young professionals, recommending dentists or doctors offices, or offering my babysitting services to new families in the area, I wanted to help people feel welcome, at home, and connected. I know that makes all the difference when it comes to turning a new place into a home.
While I loved the students I taught, I decided at the end of my two-year commitment this past May that it was time to transition out of teaching. When I heard Jewish Community Partners was looking for an Engagement Associate, I knew I had to apply. Apparently other community members thought of me as well, because more than a few forwarded me the job posting.
Now, as a member of the Jewish Community Partners team, I have not just the opportunity but a professional responsibility to welcome more newcomers to Memphis, engage with kids and families through the dynamic PJ Library program, and use what I’ve learned as a teacher and student of life to help educate and connect our community members with themselves, each other, and the greater Memphis Mishpacha (family).
I look forward to connecting with more members of this wonderful community and offer my support any way I can, just like I was supported when I was a new member of the community. “My “virtual” door is always open. If you’d like to be involved with any of my programs and/or have any suggestions to strengthen them, please reach out to me at email@example.com. Wishing all of you a happy, sweet, support-filled new year! Shana Tova Umetuka!