Ben Fink

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“Cleaning teeth is nice, but what are you doing to help your people?” – Great Grandma Millie. This was said to my mother by her grandmother who convinced her to stop being a dental hygienist and become a Jewish educator. I grew up hearing this story and it always makes me laugh but had an amazing impact on my occupation choice. 

Name: Benjamin Fink
Organization: NFTY 
Website of Organization: http://www.nfty.org 

Favorite Place in Israel: Kibbutz Ketura in the Arava Valley

How has Israel played a part in your personal Jewish identity? 
Growing up, I visited Israel frequently with family and as I got older I did many trips by myself to Israel. Israel helped not only foster my Jewish identity but my identity as a person which is one in the same. Israel gave me the opportunity to just be Jewish and act Jewishly in a non-ritual environment. I can be Jewish by volunteering, tending on the earth and its creatures, and creating strong relationships with other Jews. Israel makes me feel like everything is possible and everything can and does relate back to being Jewish. 

Who was the educator who most influenced your path to Jewish education? Describe the effect that they had on you. 
The educator that most influences me is my mother. She has been a Jewish educator for the past 30 years and is the best I know. When I was younger I remember sitting in on her adult education classes at the Melton schools and sitting in awe of her knowledge and respect that she garnered from her class. She also taught me that learning needs to be fun and interactive. Her constant use of class input and participation help me form my own style of teaching as one in which the teacher and the student learn together simultaneously. 

If you had the ability to build the landscape of Jewish education, what would it look like? - in 140 characters or less. 
Programs should cater to the needs of the local youth in order to make interactive and applicable programming for their local communities. 

What are you looking forward to most in the InCiTE Fellowship? 
I’m looking forward to pushing the boundaries of Jewish Education and think outside of the box collaboratively. I’m excited to come up with innovative ideas and push myself with a group of educators. I am also looking forward to the possibilities, because they are pretty much endless.

Find me on Twitter - twitter.com/bfinknyc and NFTY-NAR twitter.com/nftynar