Who The Folk?! Genevieve Parker

We have a new member of the Jewfolk team! On this week’s podcast, hear from Genevieve Parker, Jewfolk’s new Community Engagement Manager. We talk about what brought her to Minnesota, her Jewish journey, and what she’s looking forward to as she gets started with this new opportunity, on this week’s Who The Folk?! Podcast.

You can read an excerpt below, but for the whole interview (which you are really going to want to hear), please listen or subscribe to the Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Stitcher, with more to come later soon. Please subscribe, rate, and review. Check out the show page where you can catch up on previous episodes. And of course, if you have suggestions of others who would be great subjects, let us know!

You are Jewfolk’s new Community Engagement Manager! How did you come to join us here?

I was job hunting over the last six months after I moved to Minneapolis from Reno, Nevada, with my partner. I reached out to the JLink Facebook group and got in touch with Executive Director Libby Parker that way, and we kind of just networked until I had a job.

What was it about this job that matched with your experience and your passion?

I am a nonprofit professional of about a decade, and I was looking for a job where I would have a certain range of freedom and creativity, and it would also align with my values. And yes, someplace that would be an appropriate challenge for me as a new person in town who has some connection to the community to build. But you know, I also want to keep developing as a professional. I’m also as I told you earlier, a bit of a Jewish work in progress. And I think that being here is going to help me with my personal goals as well.

So what does being Jewish working progress mean?

For me, it means that I’ve got a family connection to Judaism. My father’s family on his mother’s side is all Jewish, but his mother converted to Christianity when she married my grandfather. So I grew up in, well, nothing for a while, but technically a Christian household for a period of time. When I was 8 to 18 we moved and my parents started taking us to the church that my dad had been raised in, and my mom is still very connected there and has found a lot of purpose there, but it never really clicked all the way for me. So as an adult, I kind of just disconnected and free-floated for a while, and then all of these different experiences that happened to come up for me kind of all pointed me toward ‘you should be exploring your Jewish heritage.’

What’s the journey been like over the last seven, eight years?

Its been a lot of self-study and it involved kind of periodic clicking in with different Jewish groups and communities. Kind of my first big jump was in, I believe, 2013 or 14, I took advantage of the Birthright program and took a trip to Israel and received a lot of assurance that yes, I had the right to be here and, and yes, I was welcomed by the community. I spent a lot of time before and after that doing research online and getting connected in with groups on websites like Tumblr was a really good resource for me. And then, after I returned from my birthright trip, I connected with a synagogue and in Reno, and did a one-night introduction to Judaism capsule and then more, more in-depth three-month kind of deeper dive into a year cycle in the Jewish calendar. And I would say that’s about as far as I’ve gone. But, you know, like I said, I’m looking for more.

What kind of community are looking for?

I think that I’ll know it when I find it. But I know that the community that I’m looking for is going to be deeply feminist. I would say actively involved in the kind of progressive and grassroots and the kind of community that I want to be a part of is going to involve action.

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