Yosef Nemanpour, current grad student studying Jewish Nonprofit Management at Hebrew Union College – Zelikow School shares his experiences, thoughts, and hopes as an intern with the Federation’s Nazarian Initiative. The Y&S Nazarian Initiative (Nazarian Initiative) of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and NuRoots connects with Persian Jews in their 20s and 30s to build a future where Iranian Jewish young adults are fully engaged as participants and leaders throughout the L.A.Jewish community. We celebrate and honor Iranian heritage and culture through inclusive experiences for Jews of all cultural backgrounds and cultivating personal connections, all while fostering a more inclusive Jewish community.
Why did you choose to do your graduate student internship with the Federation’s Nazarian Initiative?
Two simple criteria informed my decision — I knew I wanted to make an impact, and I knew that I wanted to impact the Persian Jewish community. I was so lucky to have met Donna Maher Assistant Director of the Nazarian Initiative for coffee just a few months earlier to talk about my interests as they related to the community and the Nazarian Initiative. It wasn’t until months later that I was truly grateful for that meeting. It was the perfect match!
How has your perspective changed about Jewish L.A. since you started?
I always thought the L.A. Jewish community was very vibrant. After six months, now I see that it is also very interconnected, living, growing, and constantly changing for the better.
What inspired you to study Jewish nonprofit management toward your graduate degree?
In many ways, my Jewish upbringing profoundly influenced my life. At times, I’ve thought about all of the (often times unnamed) individuals who formed and shaped me — in my experiences throughout Hebrew school, high school, university, and so on. I’m so grateful for it all and can’t wait to see what the next steps are for my Jewish journey. In many ways, this is my way of adding to the beautiful tapestry that is Jewish Los Angeles.
What are some of your biggest takeaways from this experience?
I’ve learned that to serve a community means to be incredibly intentional — that teamwork is critical to making a strong impact, and that many small touchpoints add up to make a world of difference.
What do you hope the Jewish community looks like in 10 years?
I’d really like to see a more accessible Jewish Los Angeles where all members of our community can comfortably participate in what makes Jewish L.A. what it is.
What’s something about the Federation you wish more people knew about?
I wish more people really understood the wide breadth of resources and opportunities available at the Federation. There’s so much for everyone — and in every life stage!