36 Under 36 2019

06 Jun 2019

As director of grassroots and community engagement for the Orthodox Union’s Teach NYS, Annie Watman helps mobilize Jewish day school parents and educators to lobby lawmakers on behalf of more affordable tuition. It’s an interesting career path for someone who grew up secular and attended public school.

“It’s a little cliché, but when I went on Birthright, I experienced that ‘aha’ moment where I wanted to further explore my Jewish identity,” she said. “It spurred me to become involved with Jewish life at NYU, which had a thriving Orthodox community. I became more observant, and active in various Jewish groups on campus and student political clubs such as the College Republicans.”

It was the Midwestern Christian president of the College Republicans who advised Watman to merge her newfound Jewish identity and political activism through an internship at AIPAC. Watman stayed in a series of full-time positions through 2017.

“Working at AIPAC showed me that if we don’t advocate for Israel, no one else would, and the same for Jewish education,” she said. “There’s no out-of-the-box solution to education affordability. We simply need to advocate for ourselves to get results.”

Read full article on The New York Jewish Week