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Cheryl Jacobs headshot

After five years at the Jewish United Fund, I’m moving on to the next professional chapter in my life. Tuesday, April 16 will be my last day as a JUF professional and your Managing Blogger. It is with a heavy heart and bittersweet emotions that I write these words.

When I started at JUF, I was a young 20-something barely out of college with some professional experience in the PR world and a desire to use my new knowledge to make a difference. In college, I never would have dreamed of working in the Jewish non-profit sector. I didn’t go to day school, I’m not particularly religious, and my long-term boyfriend isn’t even Jewish, but after a life changing trip on Birthright, the opportunity fell into my lap and the rest is as they say, history. Now on the cusp of 30, I feel like I’ve grown tenfold both professionally and personally from this experience.

Working as a Jewish communal professional— for one of the best non-profits out there, might I add— I’ve had the opportunity to see firsthand all of the amazing work this organization and the non-profit world does. No other organization day in and day out could do the work that JUF does to help people in need throughout Chicago, in Israel and around the world. I’ve written the second half of that sentence maybe a zillion times over the past few years, but every time I write it (or read it), I remember how much impact we truly make. It’s astounding.

But the work we do as part of this organization isn’t actually what motivated me to show up every morning. It was the people. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the best people out there. They are more than colleagues and friends, but family. I’ve treasured my time working with them and I will miss many of them dearly. They are so smart and so dedicated to giving back and to Jewish continuity— why do you think Oy!Chicago exsists? They’ve taught me to be more than a better professional, but a better person and I’ll be forever grateful for them.

The title of this piece is a bit deceiving, while I won’t be working for Oy!Chicago and JUF any longer, you can bet I’ll still be around. My relationship with JUF will continue on the volunteer side and of course, I’ll still be writing for Oy! as a contributing blogger— they can’t get rid of me that easily.

So until my next blog post, peace out, Oy!sters!

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