January 6, 2014
Elana Silberstein starts this week as Challah for Hunger's Chapter Support Associate. Challah for Hunger brings people together to bake and sell challah in an effort to raise money and awareness for social justice causes. After serving as a Co-President and Co-Founder of the University of Maryland chapter during her undergraduate years, Elana has happily returned to the city of Philadelphia, just near the suburbs where she grew up.
1. What do you see as the greatest opportunity in your role? The Chapter Support Associate position offers me the chance to develop professionally and personally in a variety of different ways—I can’t just pick one! Given that I am the first person to fill this particular role, I will have the privilege of molding exactly what a Chapter Support Associate looks like. I see this as an opportunity to contribute to the growth of Challah for Hunger during a key time for the organization. This is a chance for me to immerse myself in making a real difference for an organization that I’ve grown to love. Also, having recently moved back to Philadelphia, I have a wonderful opportunity to connect with and contribute to those involved in both Judaism and social justice in the area.
2. What do you expect will be your biggest challenge as a Chapter Support Associate? Challah for Hunger is growing at an excitingly rapid pace. With chapters sprouting up on campuses all over the country—and even some outside of the country—it will be a challenge to keep up with this ever-growing, dynamic community. While our staff is small in numbers, though, we are large in motivation and dedication. I imagine that the beginning of this transition will put us to the test, but as a result of the work of our amazing volunteers, advisors, board members and chapter leaders, I know that everything will fall into place.
3. What key lessons from your past experience do you plan to apply in your new role? I became involved with Challah for Hunger when I co-founded the current chapter at the University of Maryland. Building a successful and thriving chapter, after long hours and hard work, was not only a challenge, but also an experience that I will use to guide new chapters in their beginning stages. As a chapter founder, I feel a particular connection with helping new chapters become established. The most important lesson that I have learned is to tackle large tasks in a manageable manner until they are completed. Whether I’m finding the perfect recipe, adapting a marketing style or reaching to better myself, my lesson is to keep at it.
4. Who are your professional role models? My mom is my most influential role model. She’s always doing something to be productive…always. Seeing her embrace her work as a teacher at an elementary Jewish Day School and taking on extra projects with a smile, has taught me to do what I love, to do it well, and to always put my best foot forward.
5. What is the best challah flavor and why? I really enjoy seasonal flavors because they aren’t just a recipe and a taste, they channel a certain coziness and mood. I love almost anything that is pumpkin flavored and fall-themed, so I’d have to say that pumpkin challah is my favorite!