As a non-Memphian and someone who has never visited Memphis before, I have been pleasantly surprised by the opportunity here and access we have to many places through the TI Fellowship. Not only do we have events with the TI Fellowship, but also we have time to explore on our own and see all that Memphis has to offer.
In the time I’ve spent here this summer, I’ve managed to see the National Civil Rights Museum, meet the Mayor, visit Graceland, play with the Peabody Ducks, eat lots of BBQ, play at Gibson Guitar, attend two concerts (one at the Levitt Shell and one at the Botanic Gardens), and do much more. This week has been busy! Last Friday one of the other Fellows, Alyssa Barnea, gave us a tour of St. Jude (she’s interning there). I was completely blown away. I stand strong in saying; you cannot come to Memphis and not visit this hospital. The institution is a wonderful place that performs many miracles everyday. Alyssa gave us an outstanding tour and taught me so much about the hospital, like how they offer free services, housing, and food to many different families. This hospital is perfectly placed in Memphis, the city that gives back so much and is in the volunteer state!
We ended last Friday with our weekly Shabbat. I especially enjoyed this Shabbat as the host team catered One & Only BBQ, and we sat picnic-style on the floor of the apartment. There is always something special about all 16 of us together, taking time to reflect on our week. Even if I do not celebrate Shabbat every Friday at home, I will certainly take time in the future to remember its significance to me.
Saturday morning Alyssa Barnea and I signed up to volunteer to pet sit at the Memphis Farmer’s Market downtown. It’s a great thing to do on a Saturday morning and it’s really close to our apartments at South Bluffs, so we can walk there. We had quite the turnout.
That afternoon some fellows and I took a trip to SkyZone, which is a trampoline park in East Memphis. Yes, we may have been the oldest ones there, but I have no regrets. It was such a fun experience and we really got a workout! After Skyzone we had a mixer at the Vice President of the Temple’s, Elkan Scheidt’s, house. They catered Swanky’s Mexican Taco Shop, which is always delicious. What a mixer it was! I met so many young Jewish professionals – both those who had moved to the city for work and those from Memphis.
It was very insightful to meet such a mix of young Jews, and hear their stories of where they came from, where they work, and what they do in their free time. In addition, on Tuesday we had a mixer at the Steinberg’s condo downtown and we met with Rabbi Katie. We read some passages from this week’s parsha and related them to what has been going on in Israel today. To me, these interactions have been the most significant part of my summer here in Memphis. It is amazing how strong the Jewish community is in Memphis and it shows me how important it will be in my future to make sure I can create that type of community wherever I go!
– Michelle Rosenbaum
This last week of our TI Fellowship journey has been full of excitement. Starting with Friday afternoon, we were extremely fortunate to be given a tour around St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by our very own fellow Fellow, Alyssa Barnea and her co-worker. St. Jude, as we all know, is an incredible place, but to get to see up close how many lives they are saving and how many families are given hope by their amazing research is truly eye-opening. I would definitely suggest taking a tour if you have not been on their campus before; it was a great experience. As much as we enjoyed our time at St. Jude, it was clear everyone was itching to get back to South Bluffs in anticipation of our third group Shabbat. Hosted by fellows Max Fargotstein, Jeremy Reisman, Lauren Cohen, and Michele Ozer, we devoured a delectable feast of One & Only Barbecue while delving into conversation on how each of us individually have learned more about ourselves and our Jewish identity throughout the Fellowship.
Once Shabbat concluded, we made our way to Beale street for a few drinks and for some weekly entertainment provided by our own Fellow Eitan (Ethan) Sneider, who some may consider a professional street dancer.
After a fun-filled Friday and a relaxing Saturday morning, we had the pleasure of meeting with other young professionals and adults at the beautiful home of Laurie and Elkin Scheidt. Once again the food did not disappoint and we all left knowing that we had made some great new friends and connections. This weekend has been extremely memorable and I do not think I am alone in saying this week has been the best of the Fellowship so far.