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The Contemporary Jewish Museum Introduces the 2016 Summer University Interns

(San Francisco, CA, June 6, 2016) Four extraordinary undergraduate and graduate level interns join The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) this summer for several months of professional mentoring and experience-based research and program development. The interns, part of The Museum’s newly formalized commitment to professional development for university students, include a Fulbright scholar responsible for starting Tajikistan’s first after-hours event in a museum; an accomplished percussionist, composer, and educator; a scholar of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews; and a student of graphic design.

“The CJM is a teaching museum,” says Fraidy Aber, Director of Education and Public Programs. “This is a cultural institution where learning is central, and nurturing the next generation of leaders is essential. Developing a more robust internship program at the university level felt like the absolute right move for us on the eve of the development of our new Helen Diller Institute, which will serve as a collaborative hub for visiting scholars, students, and staff.”

The internships are the result of several important local and national relationships with universities and organizations, including the first year of an internship placement from George Washington University’s new Masters in Experiential Education and Jewish Cultural Arts and a Masters level internship of the University of San Francisco’s new Masters Program in Museum Studies. This is The Museum’s seventh year of hosting a Kohn intern, a program that pairs college undergraduates with Bay Area Jewish nonprofits, and the fifth year of a long-standing partnership with Wellesley College.

The interns include:

David Freeman
George Washington University

Freeman is a percussionist, composer, and educator based in Brooklyn. He has traveled extensively to study music, including in the Dominican Republic and India, and his work is infused with a passion for jazz, world, and folk music traditions. He currently performs with Merkava, the Outer Bridge Ensemble, and has collaborated on projects in the visual arts, dance, and film. He holds a BA from Rutgers, has been an artist-in-residence at Banff Arts Center among others, and has received numerous fellowships. In 2001, he co-founded a hand drum and music workshop at a youth services and juvenile detention center in New Jersey, where he taught until 2011. He is part of a roster of teaching artists for Arts to Grow, an organization bringing after-school arts programming to the tri-state area’s inner city youth. Freeman is working with The CJM’s education staff to research and develop an upcoming music-based exhibition and associated programming.

Sally Khomikh
Kohn Intern: California College of the Arts

Khomikh is a native of the Bay Area and attended Jewish Community High School of the Bay. Currently an incoming sophomore of the California College of the Arts’ Graphic Design department, Khomikh has worked with numerous nonprofits including San Francisco Children’s Art Center, Behavioral Intervention for Autism Clubhouse, The Beat Within, and CHOC Children’s Hospital where she was a multimedia intern working to design and help produce weekly radio and television shows at the hospital. Khomikh will be working with The CJM’s education and marketing departments to research the archive related to The Museum’s unique building, creating the foundation for a major, new multimedia resource about its history.

Bella Nikom
Wellesley College

Nikom is currently studying Jewish studies, history, and computer science at Wellesley College. Her Jewish studies focus on Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews living in the Middle East. She is a researcher with the Diarna Project, an organization that archives Jewish sites in the Middle East and North Africa. She has studying in both Morocco and Israel as well. Nikom will be working on analysis and reporting of The CJM’s Teen Art Connect Internship program. Now in its eighth year, Teen Art Connect is a year-long internship for Bay Area high school aged youth.

Shabnam Shermotova
University of San Francisco

Shermotova was responsible for planning and marketing the National Museum of Tajikistan’s first museum night. More than 7,000 people poured into the museum to participate in the various activities, vastly exceeding all expectations for a country with little to no museum culture. The success of the evening demonstrated to Shermotova the role museums could play in bringing the country’s diverse communities together and in utilizing art and creativity to foster social change. It led her to the University of San Francisco’s Master’s in Museum Studies program, where the Fulbright scholar has been studying for the last year. In addition to an internship at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Shermotova is working at The CJM to understand museum programs for youth and families.

In addition to each of their individual fields of work at The Museum, this group of interns will come together for professional development opportunities including panels with Museum professionals, meetings with The Museum’s Executive Director Lori Starr and other department directors, and visits to other institutions.

About The Contemporary Jewish Museum

With the opening of its new building on June 8, 2008, The Contemporary Jewish Museum ushered in a new chapter in its twenty-plus year history of engaging audiences and artists in exploring contemporary perspectives on Jewish culture, history, art, and ideas. The facility, designed by internationally renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, is a lively center where people of all ages and backgrounds can gather to experience art, share diverse perspectives, and engage in hands-on activities. Inspired by the Hebrew phrase “L’Chaim” (To Life), the building is a physical embodiment of The CJM’s mission to bring together tradition and innovation in an exploration of the Jewish experience in the twenty-first century.

Major support for The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s exhibitions and Jewish Peoplehood Programs comes from the Koret Foundation. The Museum also thanks the Jim Joseph Foundation for its major support of innovative strategies for educating and engaging audiences in Jewish learning. Additional major support is provided by an Anonymous donor; Alyse and Nathan Mason Brill; Gaia Fund; the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund; Walter and Elise Haas Fund; the Hellman Family; the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties; Maribelle and Stephen Leavitt; the Bernard Osher Jewish Philanthropies Foundation of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund; Osterweis Capital Management; Dorothy R. Saxe; Target; and Wendy and Richard Yanowitch.

For more information about The Contemporary Jewish Museum, visit The Museum’s website at

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