Some students daydream their way through classes, wishing they were somewhere more exciting, like on the set of a music video. For William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education student Marlene Rachelle, it is just the opposite. As a senior producer at the cable channel MTV2 with more than a decade’s experience in the music-television industry, Marlene had achieved success but felt unfulfilled.
“I worked with everyone from David Bowie to 50 Cent to Beyoncé to Will Smith to Jay-Z. I like the music, but the work wasn’t meaningful,” Marlene says. Becoming a student at The Davidson School and The Jewish Theological Seminary provided the Jewish community of work and study that she was missing.
“I knew for a long time that I wanted to change careers, and I was always interested in learning more about Judaism,” Marlene says. “This is a great place to learn, and I love the nurturing environment here.”
Now entering her second year, Marlene has chosen the Informal Communal Education (ICE) concentration—a specialization that prepares students for careers in communal service agencies and adult education—and is looking forward to doing her practicum under the supervision of a mentor. She explains, “I won’t spend my practicum making photocopies or being taken for granted. The Davidson faculty and staff assess you and place you in a school or organization where you can develop the particular skills that you need.”
In her first year, Marlene taught in a synagogue-school kindergarten, took classes alongside students from JTS’s other graduate-level schools, and traveled to Israel with her classmates. “I came back with a renewed commitment to Israel,” she says. “My own Jewish identity is still changing and growing since I started at The Davidson School. I love the work that I’m doing and everything I’m learning. Every Monday, when I get to school, I’m excited to be here.”