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Rachel: What brought you to DC and where are you from originally?
Sasha: I came to D.C. to be a part of both the history and the future of our country. I am originally from San Diego, California. Though I will always be a California girl, I fell in love with the culture and excitement of D.C. two years ago when I interned at the Corporation for National and Community Service. The museums, music, political involvement, and all together, passion that you see in D.C. made me realize that this was the city for me. I moved here this past summer and am the National Library Project Coordinator and Executive Associate at Jewish Women International. JWI’s National Library Initiative, along with a team of volunteers, businesses and corporations, is working to establish 100 children’s libraries in battered women’s shelters across the United States.
Rachel: Tell us about how you’ve made Tikkun Olam and community service a part of your life in the past, and now here in DC.
Sasha: My passion for community service started at a young age. In high school, I was president of Sister Schools of San Diego, a club that raised money to send children from Northern Uganda to school. I am the founder of The Smile Bringer Singers at the University of Michigan, a club that performs musical numbers at local nursing and retirement homes, family centers, for children with mental disabilities, and various on-campus events. This organization allowed me to mix my passions for performing and Tikkun Olam.
Rachel: What’s a cool or different interest of yours that others might not know about you?
Sasha: I make a point of exploring and taking advantage of every opportunity I get to try a new activity. From a gallery opening to Soul Cycle, from the drum circle at Meridian Park to trying new restaurants, seeing Shakespeare, attending street festivals, concerts, and farmer’s markets. I am constantly seeking out new adventures. From Canada>California>Michigan>DC, I can’t wait to immerse myself in this city. One of my favorite activities to do in D.C. is paddle boating on the Tidal Basin-highly recommendable.
Rachel: So we hear you now work for Jewish Women International (JWI). Can you tell us about their mission and what inspires you to do this work?
Sasha: JWI is the leading Jewish organization empowering women and girls – through economic literacy; community training; healthy relationship education; and the proliferation of women’s leadership. We work to ensure that all women and girls thrive in healthy relationships, control their financial futures and realize the full potential of their personal strength. I am from a generation where sexual assault on college campuses and teen dating abuse rates are ridiculously high; I feel that the incredible work that JWI does has the power to decrease these numbers and increase education on the topic, give individuals access to necessary tools, and support victims. In addition, I am inspired by the work that we do with financial literacy. As a recent graduate, our work is critically important to me and my friends in order for us to lead lives that are physically safe and financially secure.
Rachel:What’s your favorite way to spend Shabbat?
Sasha: At the Eisen’s, hands down. They make food from all over the world, have a famous guacamole, and great company.
Rachel: What is your favorite Jewish food?
Sasha: Challah. I can proudly say that I learned how to make it this year at a Young Women’s Leadership Network event. I was so excited when I brought in my ultra garlicy challah to my office to impress everyone.
Rachel: Who is the coolest Jew?
Sasha: My mother, because she is the strongest person I know. Also, Ruth Bader Ginsberg is pretty cool- she is the first Jewish woman and only the second woman to serve on the US Supreme Court. Stay notorious, RBG.
Rachel: Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather…
Sasha: everyone becomes a matchmaker.