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Ezra Brown

I Want To Change The World By Contributing To The Jewish Community

Ezra Brown, MSW '22

  • Pathway:

    Leadership

  • Scholarship:

    Mervin and Helen S. Pregulman Scholarship (Jewish Communal Leadership Program)

I want to delve into problems of Jewish communities here and around the world. I am interested in how my generation approached Judaism. I want to work on Jewish community-building.

"I am passionate about social justice and political work," says MSW candidate Ezra Brown. As a U-M undergrad, Ezra majored in political science and minored in Jewish Studies. He enjoyed several summer fundraising internships-including one with U-M's Office of University Development (OUD). He saw himself taking a job with OUD after graduation. Then, he says, using a phrase that's become common, "everything happened." Job prospects vanished. Ezra began looking at graduate programs that might give him an edge in an uncertain future.

"The MSW program here fit everything I wanted," he says. "I am drawn to fundraising and nonprofit management, to the macro level of organizations. I am on the Leadership Pathway here because it will help me work in fundraising after graduation-using social work skills to manage people and deal with planning and budgeting. I want to stay in Ann Arbor, which I have grown to love. I might work for U-M, raising funds to improve student experiences, or I might work for a social service agency."

Ezra had another compelling reason to earn his MSW here: our Jewish Community Leadership Program (JCLP). "I am passionate about the Jewish community and what it did for me growing up," he says. "I was at a Jewish summer camp for six years as a camper and two more as a counselor. It helped my personal development and helped me make friends. I credit a lot of my success in college to what camp taught me about living independently, taking care of others and prioritizing tasks. Camp developed my values around caring for other people." Ezra saw JCLP as a natural continuation of his camp experience, a summer internship with a Jewish social service agency, and his minor in Jewish Studies.

Led by Prof. Karla Goldman, JCLP is a 20-month program culminating in a Master's in Social Work and a certificate in Jewish Communal Leadership from U-M's Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies. "JCLP is allowing me to form bonds with other Jewish students in social work who share my passion," Ezra says. "I can delve deep into problems of Jewish communities here and around the world. I had not had opportunities before for open dialogues with my Jewish peers, and I look forward to getting to know the Ann Arbor Jewish community better."

Ezra reflects on how JCLP has also given him a foundation for exploring bigger issues: "I am trying to figure out where religion is in my own life," he says. "Going to synagogue was a big part of growing up for me. Now, I struggle with how Judaism fits into my life, and others are doing the same."

Ezra is particularly grateful for his Mervin and Helen S. Pregulman Scholarship. Helen is an alumna of the School of Social Work and Merv is a U-M football alum. Their scholarship is awarded to students committed to Jewish communal service. "The Pregulman Scholarship allowed me to do the JCLP program," Ezra says. "JCLP is a five-term program, not four. I could not have considered the program with the additional funding.

"JCLP is really great. The people are fantastic. We are close with each other. We have weekly seminars and online services. We had socially distanced apple picking last weekend. It has given me a new group of friends in the school. Through JCLP, I hope to learn more about how my generation is approaching Judaism. I really look forward to more conversations like we have been having and getting to know people better.

"I am really grateful that I am here. I am happy that I get to have these two years to learn more about myself and others and about the Jewish community. I think I am off to a great start."

Why I Am Here

"The MSW program at U-M fit everything I wanted. I am on the Leadership Pathway because of how it will help me reach that goal of working in development and fundraising after graduation-balancing budgets, managing people, and learning how social work is applicable to all that."

Impact Of The Scholarship

"The Pregulman Scholarship has enabled me to do the Jewish Communal Leadership Program. I wouldn't have considered the program without this funding."

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