Jeffrey Silverstein is no stranger to Israel advocacy or discussions of the challenges the Reform movement has yet to tackle. But the recent transplant from Cincinnati is still maneuvering his way through Atlanta as the ACCESS associate for American Jewish Committee’s Atlanta regional office.
The former NFTY educator spent one year living in Israel. He founded a nonprofit organization that strives to preserve the memory of the 6 million Jews who were slain during the Holocaust.
Silverstein recently found time to answer AJT’s Four Questions.
AJT: You have a degree in film studies and minored in Hebrew and Israeli cultural studies. What attracted you to those areas of study? Have you had a chance to combine them to produce a film?
Silverstein: I was attracted to those areas of study because they reflect some of my passions. I have been fascinated by cinema since I was a young child, and I also have always had a deep appreciation for the Hebrew language and a love for the state of Israel. I had not planned to combine these areas of study, but they did come together last spring when I had the ability to shoot a guerrilla documentary on Israeli social cohesion in Ashdod. Now my undergraduate foci are combining through my work with AJC, helping to put together Young Professionals Night at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.
AJT: What has been your greatest achievement?
Silverstein: After participating in the March of the Living during my senior year of high school, I became involved with founding a Holocaust remembrance organization, Project6Million. We believe that, in moments where one learns about the Holocaust or other genocides, there is an inspiration to promise “never again.” Project6Million is designed to capture these moments and remind the individual periodically of their inspiration. In the spring of 2014, I had the opportunity, along with a colleague, to travel back to the March of the Living and share Project6Million with the marchers at Birkenau on Yom HaShoah.
AJT: What are some goals you look forward to accomplishing in your new role?
Silverstein: Educating the Jewish young professionals of Atlanta about the importance of Jewish community and engagement is important to me on a personal level. In my new role as ACCESS associate I hope to continue and grow the successes of AJC and our young professional constituents. I hope to continue the engagement efforts in which my predecessors have been so successful and to continue to empower young professionals to advocate on behalf of the Jewish people with our partners in other communities.
AJT: What is one of the biggest obstacles AJC faces in 2018? How do you hope to tackle it?
Silverstein: I generally don’t tend to think in terms of obstacles, but we certainly have a few priorities to direct our attention toward this year. American Jewish Committee puts on programming that is simply unique within the Jewish community, and our impact is both local and global. We are hoping to increase awareness of and engagement in this meaningful programming. Oh, and it would definitely be great if people would RSVP on time to our events!