It’s been over two full weeks now since the TI Fellowship began, but we have participated in so many novel experiences in that time, not the least of which the internships themselves, that it seems like it has been going on for a lot longer and at the same time the end is approaching far too quickly.
This week started out with a relatively normal work schedule. I am working for MB Innovations as a Mechanical Engineering Intern. I’m absolutely thrilled to be working there, especially since I am actually doing (under supervision with a robust review process of course) some of the actual designing of medical devices to be used in surgical procedures! I would show a picture of the Rapid Prototyped (3D Printed) model of my design (which sort of works correctly!), but it’s a bit proprietary.
On Thursday, we all left work and went right to Overton Square for a Memphis 101 session with the New Memphis Institute. It was a fun and informative session where the speaker gave a quick history of how Memphis became what it is today and dispelled many of the myths surrounding Memphis’s culture. He really made all of us more excited to be living here this summer and more open to potentially living here permanently! After the talk was a well-needed, relaxing ConnecTI Happy Hour at Chiwawa. A few of us, after it wound down a bit, went out to Belly Acres for delicious, grass-fed burgers.
The next day was very special. After a half-day of work, the Fellows met up with Rabbi Micah Greenstein at the Civil Rights Museum. He gave us a lot of great insight into some of the connections between the Civil Rights Movement and Judaism, and he also set the mood for our tour. The Museum was remarkable. It is the second time I have been there, and I am still (and will likely always be) chilled by the pictures, videos, and interactive exhibits showing what some people had to go through in their lifetimes, all in the name of freedom and equality for all. Every excerpt I read further enunciated the strife of the oppressed, and made me thankful to have grown up in an era where the actions of the righteous of that time have had 50 years to cultivate good-will and understanding between the various cultures that call themselves American. I plan on going back to the Civil Rights Museum many more times before the TI Fellowship comes to a close.
In contrast to the somber mood set by the Museum, our ConnecTI “Underground” Shabbat Service was a heartwarming experience. Being a part of all the Fellows and other young Memphian Jews praying together in the Center for Southern Folklore was novel and welcome, and I think the idea of a service dislocated from a synagogue definitely has a lot of merit for young Jews working downtown.
The next morning, a few of the Fellows (affectionately self-named the “Brunch Bunch”) visited the Blue Plate Café in downtown and then took a few minutes to appreciate Court Square right across the street.
Though our FedEx tour happened the following week (and therefore is technically a part of next week’s blog posts) I feel it’s appropriate to whet your appetite with a picture of FedEx’s state-of-the-art, multi-million-dollar flight simulators for their planes which cost hundreds-of-millions of dollars each.
I am so thankful for the opportunities provided by Temple Israel and the TI Fellowship, and I cannot wait for all the amazing things planned for the Fellows for the rest of the summer.
I’ve been in Memphis doing the TI Fellowship and interning at Archer Malmo for 2 weeks now. Less than a month ago, I was roaming the streets of a southern Spanish city, that I had lived in for the previous four months, wondering what my first summer spent in Memphis since I was eight years old would be like. And it’s weird, I won’t lie, to be living in the city I’ve lived in my whole life, but to not be living at home with my family. On that same note though, in two short weeks I’ve learned more about that same city I’ve lived in since I was born, than I did in my previous 21 years here. I’ve learned about the downtown and midtown areas, the young Jewish community, and the exciting things that are coming to this growing city.
From events such as the Underground Shabbat service, held at the Center for Southern Folklore solely for young Jews, to the tour of the newly re-done National Civil Rights Museum led by Rabbi Greenstein, I’ve been able to surround this new area, new job, and new lifestyle with a Jewish presence, which makes the experience more comfortable and relatable. But at the same time, attending the New Memphis Institute events, such as Memphis 101, geared towards bringing more young professionals to Memphis, I’ve been able to experience Memphis on another level as well.
As a native Memphian, I began the Fellowship program with what might have seemed like an advantage. I’ve lived here my whole life and have spent years learning my way around despite my undeniably horrible sense of direction. Before this Fellowship, I would have said to anyone who asked, “Memphis is boring.” I never gave Memphis a real chance, but through the Fellowship program I have been able to discover that Memphis is a cool city with a rich history, and it’s only growing and getting better. From simply living downtown, I have been able to see Memphis from another perspective and truly appreciate what this city has to offer.