My name is Jill Farkas, I am 26 years old, and I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. I earned my undergraduate degree from DePaul University and currently attend law school in Ann Arbor, Michigan. After my first year of law school I decided to take a year off in order to “rediscover” my passion for law, and I decided to do so in Israel. I found the Career Israel internship program through Masa’s website, decided it sounded perfect for me, and applied right away.
Through Career Israel I got an internship at Itach-Maaki in Tel Aviv: Women Lawyers for Social Justice. The firm has three offices in three different cities, all comprised of women lawyers and volunteers who advocate for women’s rights. When I first heard about the internship, I thought, “This is perfect for me!” Before going to law school, I always thought I was going to practice criminal law, but after a year in school I was no longer sure that was the path I wanted to take, and I knew corporate law was also not for me (thanks to a year of working in a corporate law office before law school). But here was my chance to work in another type of law, one that hopefully would rekindle my passion for the profession, so I jumped at the chance to work at Itach.
While working there, I have also been participating in many events and activities through Career Israel as well. I have toured the Negev desert, Northern Israel, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and some places in between as well. I have been to seminars that discuss hot topics in Israel (the Tent Cities of last summer; immigrants from African countries), and ones I would have never thought to be an issue here (is Israel a Jewish state or a Democratic state?). I have seen not only the culture of Israel, but the other cultures that reside here as well (Ethiopians, Russians, etc). I participated in a Masa ceremony for Yom Hazikaron, a Passover Seder, and stood with others in silence as all of Israel commemorated Yom HaShoah and Yom Hazikaron. For me, there is no one special or unique trip or seminar; they all come together to make the entire experience special and unique.
Even though I have yet to rediscover my passion for law while I am here, I have discovered my passion for Israel. I have discovered my passion for the people, the culture, and the way of life here. The women at my internship fight for others every day, fight to bring them justice through a system they believe in; the people of Israel fight for what they believe in every day as well, for what is theirs (whether it is their opinions, parking spot, or country), and it has all inspired me to go back to law school. It has inspired me to go back and fight for what I believe in, because while I may not have rediscovered my passion, I discovered I do still believe in the system I am studying.