JVS summer stint offers work for teens

Flipping burgers for the summer may pay for occasional movies and new factory-ripped jeans.

But the S.F.-based Jewish Vocational Service is offering a better way for area teens to earn a buck this summer.

Following the success of its Kohn Summer Intern Program for college students, the agency has devised a similar program, called Avodah, for high school juniors seeking an interesting summer job.

"We wanted to get young people involved, and show them that there's a whole Jewish community out there," said Jenni Mangel, director of the program.

"This is a fabulous experience-builder," she added. "By the time they get to university, they have a summer of work experience."

Like the Kohn program, Avodah — Hebrew for "work" or "service" — will offer 20 positions as assistants throughout the Jewish community in such areas as social action, Web site development, research and other fields.

The program is funded by the S.F.-based Jewish Community Endowment Fund and the Bureau of Jewish Education's Teen Initiative Project. All positions pay $750 for six four-day workweeks. On the fifth day, the interns will assemble with Mangel for leadership development activities.

Although the agencies have yet to be named, JVS is already accepting applications from teens. Candidates should have strong academic records and show an interest in learning about funding, structure and other aspects of the Jewish community.

Mangel also will evaluate applicants in a face-to-face interview. She's looking for a diverse group of students — "not just youth-group leaders" — who are "serious, dedicated and enthusiastic about life," she said.

Emigres, in particular, are welcome to apply.

Kohn interns and Jewish communal workers will pair up with the teens and serve as mentors.

However, Mangel said, Avodah self-starters won't need much guidance. "People rise to the challenges that you give to them. I have high expectations for these students."

The deadline for applications is April 1. For information, call (415) 391-3600.

Lori Eppstein

Lori Eppstein is a former staff writer.