You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

Jes Milberg-Haydu

Jes Milberg-Haydu
Full image
Jes Milberg-Haydu.
Courtesy of Jes Milberg-Haydu.

Jes Milberg-Haydu left New York City in January 2013 to join the Peace Corps. She was sent to Thailand, where she developed a love-hate relationship with rice and a surprising tolerance for the spiciest curries. She lives her life by the immortal words of Dr. Seuss, "Your mountain is waiting" as an enduring reminder that there's always an adventure ahead.

Blog posts

Buddha with Swastika Cropped


Have you ever explained the Holocaust to someone who's never heard of it before? I have.

I don't remember a time when the Holocaust wasn't a part of my consciousness. So imagine my surprise when, sitting with co-workers in a gazebo at our school, a girl of no more than 7 years old with a luminous smile ambled by, her shirt emblazoned with a massive swastika.

Thai Buddhist Temple, cropped


I struggle with my Jewishness. I always have. The world is riddled with conflict, much of which is derived from the infuriating, irreconcilable differences in fundamental religious beliefs. I was brought up in a Jewish home and a Jewish community, read Jewish stories, and absorbed Jewish values. I never felt connected to the idea of God, but all that stuff about honoring thy mother and father and being kind to thy neighbor? I was down with that! Still, I reasoned that humanity would be far better off without such divisive religious constructs, and that our religions should be relegated to history books. 

Jes Milberg-Haydu

Hello from Thailand!

When I applied to the Peace Corps in the fall of 2011, I thought I knew myself pretty well. In fact, I thought I was the person I was going to be and I just couldn't wait to share that person with the world as an ambassador from our great nation.

As it turns out, I didn't know shit. I'm a 26 year old graduate of Barnard College with a degree in Economics. Sounds okay on paper, no? Well, eighteen months into my Peace Corps service in Thailand, the only thing I know for certain is how little I know. The sheer optimism and raw idealism I arrived with did not get me very far. They did, however, prove to be active catalysts for many experiences I've had, and I feel supremely lucky for the humbling opportunity to rethink everything I thought I knew.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jes Milberg-Haydu." (Viewed on October 24, 2016) <>.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now


What is the best Jewish feminist tv show currently on tv?

Sign Up for JWA eNews



2 days
For women voters in the 60s, not having childcare meant not voting! This determined mother made it to the polls!…
2 days
"How could I honor a tradition that did not make space for me as a female?"
3 days
"...even though my brand of Judaism doesn’t include religious observance, I am no less Jewish."…