Meet Sam: Jewish Educator of the Week

by Hannah Angerman / April 20, 2022

Sam, a light skinned woman, stands at a lookout point overlooking a picturesque mountain range

Recently we talked to Sam, a teacher, hiker, art enthusiast, and so much more. Sam loves to be creative; she’s not afraid of projects that can get a little messy. Want to learn more about Sam and her interests? Read the full blog to find out more!

GatherDC: What brought you to DC?

Sam: I came to DC because I was getting my master’s at GW in museum education. When I started the program in June of 2020 it ended up being fully remote, but I still moved to DC for the possibility of on-site internships. I graduated in August of 2021 and then I started my job at the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center within two weeks of graduating.

Sam stands underneath a blossoming cherry blossom tree next to the tidal basin.

GatherDC: Could you describe your dream day in the DMV from start to finish?

Sam: To start, I would go to Call Your Mother in the morning and get a delicious big bagel with lox. Then I would go to the National Gallery of Art. It’s one of my favorite museums to visit. I love how you walk into the Impressionist wing and there are two Monet paintings hanging there. I could spend hours just sitting or walking around the galleries. In the afternoon, I would go somewhere like a rooftop bar, grab a nice drink, and just enjoy a leisurely day. 

GatherDC: Sounds like you really love art! Can you tell us more about that?

Sam: For my thesis in undergrad I wrote about indigenous art in New Zealand. Because of that, I started working for an art gallery in Boston, and stayed there for three and a half years. I basically got a mini art education degree by working there! I really love art. I could talk about it all day. Now I feel like I’m on the other side of it because I get to teach kids about all sorts of things, including art. It’s so fun to share with them how much I love art, and then make art with them every day.

Same sits on a very large swing in the middle of a boardwalk.

GatherDC:  What’s something you do to relax or for fun?

Sam: I’m doing a 52 Hike Challenge this year which means I go hiking pretty much every weekend. That’s my way of relaxing and chilling out. It’s a great way to take some time for myself, or even go with friends. 

GatherDC: Do you have a favorite Jewish tradition?

Sam: I love Passover so much. It was such a highlight of my childhood. For Seder growing up, my parents would invite people from all walks of life. It’s a wonderful time to gather with people and reconnect. Even though the story of Passover is a difficult one, you get to laugh through it, tell a story, and sing songs.

Sam wears hiking gear and stands overlooking a vast mountain range.

GatherDC: Do you have a favorite Jewish food?

Sam: The first thing that popped into my mind is bagel and lox. That has to be one of my favorites. 

GatherDC: Do you have any other fun hobbies?

Sam: I cross stitch! I started cross stitching as something to do during my commute and I really enjoy it. I also bake a lot. Baking was initially a pre-pandemic hobby, but during the pandemic I started baking a ton. I got really good at making challah. I really enjoy doing things where I can use my hands and get a little messy.

Sam holds up a large braided challah while standing in an apartment kitchen.

GatherDC: How do you connect with your Jewish identity and or Jewish community?

Sam: Before coming to DC I was very involved in my Jewish community in Boston. In college, I was also super involved in Jewish life. Judaism has always been a part of my fabric. After moving to DC some of my family members who live  here became my outlet forJewish community. Now at every major holiday I get to learn and celebrate with my family and their kids. I think the biggest leap in Jewish life that I’ve taken was doing an interfaith couples cohort with my partner. Even though my partner is not Jewish he’s really embraced things like celebrating Shabbat. For me, the interfaith couples group really sparked my interest in Judaism. We had these intense and wonderful conversations and I would love to continue finding outlets for Jewish life in the future.

GatherDC: Can you complete this sentence: When the Jews of DC gather…

Sam: We have fun and meaningful conversations that spark questions.

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