Meet Our Team: Jay Smith, Chief Communications Officer

April 21, 2023

By Keshet

Keshet is made up of a team of dedicated, smart, and fun individuals. Every month, we’re sitting down with one person so that you get to know them a little better! This month, we spoke with Keshet’s Chief Communications Officer Jay Smith. Here’s what they had to say:

Keshet: What excites you the most about working at Keshet?

Jay: My favorite thing about my job is connecting with our community, and I especially love interviewing people. Over the past two weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with visionary trans leaders, a 101 year-old donor, ally, and advocate, and a high school student! It inspires me to learn about the work that others are doing, and helps me to put queer and trans joy at the center of my work.

Keshet: What brings you joy?

Jay: Making art, spending time with my partner and friends, hiking and spending time outdoors, and doting on my cats.

Keshet: What is a book, movie, TV show, or podcast you’ve experienced recently that you’d recommend?

Jay: The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by anthropologist and anarchist activist David Graeber, and archaeologist David Wengrow. It’s long but worth it. I bring it up in conversation all the time!

Keshet: If you could tell your childhood self anything, what would it be?

Jay: You will find yourself and where you belong.

Keshet: Name one song on your playlist that you can’t live without.

Jay: You Said Something by PJ Harvey

Keshet: Now that you’ve been here for a while, what are you most proud of in terms of the work you’ve done with Keshet?

Jay: I’m proud of so many things! If I had to choose, I would say collaborating with youth on ritual and materials, like our Pour Out Your Wrath Passover resource that New York City Youth Engagement Intern Is Perlman created with other queer and trans Jewish youth of color. This resource is one that is unique and incredibly necessary, and it’s because our youth programming is led by and for queer and trans youth that we are able to support materials like this one.

The other thing I’m most proud of is collaborating with our programs to develop resources that are going to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s amazing to hear from our community that there is a need for something, and then to be able to create it and put it out into the world knowing that it will actually be utilized. Most recently I worked on our gender-expansive b’Mitzvah guide with our Education & Training team, and our 7 Values for Taking Action guide with our Community Mobilization team. Each time I see these web pages being accessed, I feel proud that my work is being put to use to help LGBTQ+ Jews.

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