Jewish Girl of the Week – Sarah

JGOTW_Sarah1Want to recommend an outstanding leader to be featured on GTJ? Nominate him/her at

Rachel: What brought you to DC?
Sarah: I grew up right on the other side of the Potomac in the fine Commonwealth of Virginia, so DC has always felt like home.  When I was finishing up college (VCU! Go-Rams-Go!), I decided I wanted to use my journalism and communication skills to work in the political or policy realm and I knew DC would be a great place to do that.  I attended graduate school at American University and after I finished, I decided I wanted to stick around, mostly due to deep-seated attachments to So’s Your Mom and Millie and Al’s, and explore how I could put that degree to good use.  DC is a great place to live.  There is a vibrant culture, nightlife, art, and music scene, and (despite what Mark Leibovich says) really good sandwiches.

Rachel: You went on the Federation Birthright Alumni Mission last year.  How was it?
Sarah: The trip was amazing. It was a phenomenal opportunity to get to know other young leaders in the DC Jewish community as well as learning more about the work Federation and its’ affiliated organizations do in Israel and all over the world. It was different from Birthright because we were able to get a sense for the culture, politics, and economy of Israel in a much deeper way.

Additionally, I’m very lucky (and biased, and plugging this trip shamelessly) because I got to know some of my best friends through the trip. I would definitely encourage everyone to apply!

JGOTW_Sarah2Rachel: You blog about health care.  How did you get into that?
Sarah: When Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in 2010, I think I made a subconscious decision that one day I would make a career out of helping drive the change for a stronger care delivery system in some capacity.  Because yes, Joe Biden, it was a big deal.

That said, I came out of AU with an MA in public communication, an expanding interest in health care policy and public health, and a need for gainful employment.  It just so happened that the Association of American Medical Colleges was looking for someone to join the editorial team on an inaugural blog about transformation in academic medicine.  And I got the job.  As the associate editor of the Wing of Zock, I highlight innovations in clinical care, community engagement, medical information, and technology at medical schools and teaching hospitals, many of whom are actively working to implement pilot programs and other elements of the PPACA.

JGOTW_Sarah3Rachel: What’s your favorite way to spend Shabbat?
Sarah: Oh man, not sure I could pick a favorite way!  In college, I was on the board of Hillel and Friday nights always meant big Shabbat dinners with some of my closest friends.  Those stand out as some really great memories – getting everyone together  was a relaxing and fun way to start the weekend.

Today the location has changed, but I still love ringing in Shabbat with friends.  I recently went to a fondue Shabbat, which is a really cool idea.  Nothing more communal than sharing a love of dipping everything in cheese and chocolate.  Everything really, regardless of the day, should be dipped in cheese and chocolate.

Rachel: What is your favorite Jewish holiday?
Sarah: Shavuot.  Because, well, see above answer about cheese and chocolate.

Rachel: Who is the coolest Jew?
SarahRoman Vishniac.  His photographs of the families living in the Jewish shtetls of Warsaw and other cities in Eastern Europe in the 1930’s are a fascinating and striking documentation of a cultural period and way of life before a very tumultuous and tragic time in history.

Rachel: Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather…
Sarah: The bar gets crowded.

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