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JST 4940 : Internship in Jewish Communal Services

Students may gain practical experience as an undergraduate through the internship option of JST 4940. The goal of this program is both to expose the student to the opportunities for service in the world of organized Jewry and to provide a means for students to understand how Jewish values are propagated in organized settings. You may earn credit hours for volunteer work and training in applied settings such as Jewish family and social services agencies, community centers, federations, educational institutions, museums, newspapers, denominational organizations, public affairs groups, synagogues, Hillel, or equivalent institutions. To qualify for JST credit, the organization must have an explicit public tie to Judaism and be approved for internship credit by the Center for Jewish Studies.

Credit is variable from 1-3 hours per semester. Approval for credit depends upon the host agency’s willingness to supervise and document the students’ work as well as student willingness to identify an appropriate site, commit to the required volunteer hours, and write a Volunteer Report at the end of the assignment. Students may register for this option only with approval of the Center for Jewish Studies. By registering for the course, students waive access to the end-of-semester letter prepared by the internship supervisor.

Organization Responsibilities

The staff of the organization that hosts the student is responsible for orientation and training of the volunteer in all procedures, rules and ethical responsibilities related to work at the organization. The organization is also responsible for supervision and monitoring the student’s work, recording the completed volunteer hours, and providing an End-of-Term Letter that verifies that the hours are completed and evaluating the quality of the student’s contribution. The specifics of this role are elaborated below.

Student Responsibilities

Students should identify an appropriate organization to host their volunteer work and obtain a letter of agreement from the supervisor before the semester begins. The location does not have to be inside Gainesville. The Center for Jewish Studies will assist students in identifying potential work sites but it is the student’s responsibility to secure the approval of the organization.

For each hour of credit obtained, students are required to work at least 3 hours per week (including orientation and training but not including travel time). For example, a 3-credit internship requires completion of an average of 9 hours of volunteer work per week for a total of 135 hours during the semester. The work should be conducted throughout the 15-week semester of registration on a schedule that is mutually determined by the student and his or her supervisor at the host organization. The student must volunteer this time; credit may not be given for work completed as a paid employee except under special circumstances that are approved in advance. Course grades are S/U only. A maximum of three hours of credit may be applied to the JST major or minor but additional hours may be taken with Center approval and applied toward the overall hours counted toward the BA/BS degree. By registering for internship credit, students waive access to the end of the semester letter sent by the internship supervisor.

At the end of the semester, students must complete a Volunteer Report that asks them to describe and evaluate the institution as well as their own learning experience.


Letter of Agreement must include:

  • Statement that institution will provide orientation, training, and supervision including discussion of ethical issues
  • Name, title and phone number of person that will supervise the student
  • Description of the kind of work that the student will be doing
  • Description of the procedures that will be used to record volunteer hours

End of Semester Letter must include:

  • Verification of type of work completed with description of new assignments that were not anticipated in the Letter of Agreement
  • Verification of completion of a specific number of volunteer hours
  • Evaluation of the quality of the student’s contribution

Student Volunteer Report must include:

  • Description of the organization and typical activities performed by the volunteer
  • What you learned by doing this type of communal work
  • What is the major mission of the organization? How does it relate to Jewish values and tradition?
  • What aspects of the organization make it a good place for learning or are problematic
  • What you would do to improve the organization and make it better serve its mission
  • Would you recommend this organization as a good location for student volunteer work? Please explain your answer.