Volunteer Spotlight June 2022: Milo Beyene

Milo Beyene

Can you tell us about yourself and your background?

About a year ago, I enrolled in the “Introduction to Judaism” course available at Temple Israel shortly after reading “Why Be Jewish? A Testament” by Edgar Bronfman Sr. I highly recommend the book, but especially the class. Over the weeks of study, you’ll get to learn from a wide variety of teachings, you’ll build friendships with your classmates, and you’ll expand your Hebrew proficiency as well as strengthen your Jewish perspective.

My Jewish learning hasn’t stopped since the class ended, obviously. I’m now enrolled in a course taught by the ASF Institute of Jewish Experience, focusing on Ethiopian Jewry in the context of Jewish history and Israeli society. During a time of intense conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, and as the child of two Ethiopian immigrants, it’s been personally meaningful to learn more about the traditions preserved by the Beta Israel community.

What motivated you to begin volunteering with JFCS and how long have you been volunteering with JFCS?

I’m fairly new to volunteering with JFCS, but what motivates me in all my work and education is meeting new people. Meaningful relationships have sustained me my entire life, particularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve been incredibly appreciative of those in my closest circles and volunteering allows me to make those circles just a bit wider.

What JFCS programs do you volunteer with?

I volunteer with J-Pride, which is wonderful because I’m able to assist in queer-focused programming for LGBTQ+ Jews and create safe spaces for our community. I’m excited to say that I will be acting as the point of contact for J-Pride’s monthly social events from June to August of 2022.

What’s your favorite part about volunteering with JFCS and how has being a JFCS volunteer impacted your life?

My favorite part about volunteering with JFCS is knowing that I’m helping to give back to local Jewish communities, and getting to do that work with people that share my passions. It makes me sad knowing that not everyone has their physical and spiritual needs met on their own, but meeting people eager to repair what is broken makes me feel hopeful for a better future.

Do you have a memorable story about your JFCS volunteer experience to share?

My very first volunteer experience was with the Hag Sameach (Happy Holidays) program, and we packed nearly 200 Passover bags. While we were helping our community members celebrate Pesach, we connected over our own Passover experiences: favorite childhood memories, opinions on gefilte fish, how there’s likely a box of matzah sitting back home from years ago…It was so much fun!

What would you say to someone who’s thinking of volunteering with JFCS?

Go for it! There are so many opportunities available with JFCS, so you can easily find something that matches your interests and schedule. Whether it’s working with the elderly or mentoring Jewish youth, you absolutely have the chance to make a difference!

To learn more about J-Pride, check out www.facebook.com/JPrideMN

For more information about volunteer services at JFCS, contact Dana Shapiro, Community & Volunteer Engagement Manager at dshapiro@jfcsmpls.org or 952-417-2112. Stay informed about volunteering at JFCS through our quarterly volunteer e-newsletter. Let Dana know if you want to be added to the list to receive future editions.