Stacy Jarvis says she took somewhat of a strange route into Israel education.
Originally from Philadelphia, she attended Penn State, where she attained her bachelor’s, as well as a master’s in international security. While getting her master’s, she often used Israel and Palestine as case studies in her classes. She eventually developed more of an interest in studying the Middle East and in education.
Now, as Israel education associate for the Macks Center for Jewish Education, Jarvis, 23, runs people-to-people connection programs and Israel education programs for students in pre-K through 12th grade.
Outside of that, she is a resident of Moishe House Baltimore, where she, alongside the other residents, creates programming for Jewish young professionals.
What was your Jewish upbringing like in Philadelphia?
I grew up pretty Jewish, I guess I would say. I grew up in a Conservative synagogue. My family was Conservative, and we went to Hebrew school, and I did the Jewish extracurricular activities. It was always just something that was a part of my life and a big part of my life.
Can you tell me a little about your role as a Moishe House resident?
When I moved to Baltimore, I originally moved into an apartment with just some random people, but I didn’t know anyone in Baltimore when I moved here. I went to a Moishe House event, and I met the other residents, and they were really great, and there was an opening, so I ended up taking it and moving. It was really an amazing way to build a community for myself in Baltimore, where I didn’t have one before.
Moishe House was such a welcoming community, and was such a way to build up a friend group and community if you don’t have one, or even if you do, to expand your circle.
How has the pandemic impacted your work at the Macks Center and Moishe House?
I’ll do this in two parts because they’re similar but different.
The pandemic has impacted the Macks Center I think like a lot of nonprofits. We’ve kind of shifted everything that we’re doing. … As an educator, it’s really shifted everything about my job. It’s made some things more difficult, but it also has a surprising impact of making certain things much more special or even easier for certain parts of my job.
For Moishe House, it’s really impacted in a way that has made us become more creative. Before, a lot of our events were come over, watch a movie with us, come eat food with us and come build community with us. That’s really hard to do over a screen, but I think we’ve done really well in both keeping our old members engaged in new, fun, virtual programming, as well as adding new members of the community to our programming, even when we are mostly virtual.
How do you pass your free time during the pandemic?
I’ve been going on lots of walks, and I’ve been learning how to garden and learning how to knit. Other than that, we’re just kind of vibing and surviving and trying to do our best to survive this pandemic and really thrive.
What does your Jewish identity mean to you?
My Jewish identity is something that’s really special to me in the sense that it kind of is my moral code in life. My Judaism is where I derive my own personal code of ethics and code of morals, and how I live my life is based on my Jewish identity, so it’s really important to me. It helps guide the way that I live my life.