Liora Newman, Education Assistant and Avodah Jewish Service Corps member, recently graduated from Carleton College with a B.A. in History. She has experience working in both history and education spaces: such as indexing oral histories for the Institute of Southern Jewish Life and staffing a summer program for Jewish teenagers focused on history, politics, and activism.
Tell us 3 things about yourself that we might not already know?
What is the Avodah Jewish Service Corps and how is your work with them connected to the Lillian and Albert Small Capital Jewish Museum?
This is a year-long program for individuals aged 21-26, which aims to foster the next generation of Jewish social justice leaders and changemakers. Operating in four cities, it combines pluralistic Jewish communal living, work placement, and social justice skill building.
I live with the rest of my Avodah DC cohort, and each of us works at a local nonprofit organization. My placement is a year-long full-time position in the Education Department! My responsibilities include developing resources, activities and partnerships for the Community Action Lab.
What do you find most rewarding (or exciting) about working with the Museum’s Education Department?
I’m pursuing a career in museums, so the chance to gain experience in the field and learn more about how museums function is extremely valuable to me. I believe strongly in museums as a vehicle for both democratizing access to historical knowledge and inspiring social change in the present—getting to put this ideology into practice in the Education Department is very rewarding!
Avodah works to inspire leaders. Which leaders do you look to for inspiration and why?
As someone with a background in social justice organizing and an interest in social movement history, I am consistently inspired by the activists of past and present—especially the “ordinary” folks whose names we may not know. And I’ll give another shoutout to my incredible Avodah cohort, whose passion and selfless work inspire me on a daily basis.
What is your favorite story or artifact in the Museum’s collections/exhibitions?
I love our collection of protest signs and photos, only some of which are on display. It’s fascinating to me to see what issues Jewish Washingtonians were talking about in protest spaces in the past and how they were engaging with them. Additionally, the fact that we have signs made very recently continually reminds me that we are always making history.
Sukkot or Passover?
Passover! I have so many great childhood memories of seders at my cousins’ house. I also love singing, and Passover songs are uniquely fun.