Critical Minds, Compassionate Hearts

Sarah Litwin, Class of 2009

"To me, Rashi is more than a school; it is a family."
To this day, Rashi plays an instrumental part in guiding me to be the person I want to be. From a young age, Rashi instilled me with a drive to connect with others. Whether it was competing as the only girl on the boys basketball team, pulling the curtain back as the stage manager for the middle school plays, or spending countless hours going over math problems with my dedicated homeroom teacher; Rashi provided me with the opportunity to learn. I fondly recall walking through the Rashi hallways, sitting with kids in the library, and meeting teachers who would become lifelong mentors. To me, Rashi is more than a school; it is a family. Rashi allows me to feel at home every time I return to the school. The welcoming atmosphere and friendly environment encouraged me to shoot for the stars. Be a star on the basketball team, ace a math test, study in Israel, call my teacher my friend (and mean it); anything was possible. Though at the time I did not fully grasp the magnitude of receiving a Jewish day school education, it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. 

Additionally, Jewish day schools challenge students to question ethnic and moral issues that we face in society today. I graduated from middle school with more than just a diploma; I entered high school with a vantage point compared to my peers. I was ready to explore, establish relationships with my teachers, conduct research, and treat others equally and with respect. As a young Jewish adult with a strong sense of identity, I feel prepared to complete anything I put my mind to.

I am a Senior studying Communications at University of Pennsylvania. I currently lead PennQuest, Penn's pre-orientation program, which welcomes over 120 freshmen to campus each year through an outdoor wilderness trip. I can attribute much of how I create bonds to how I made connections at Rashi. When my group comes together and we sit in a circle sharing with one another, I channel how I felt during every Shabbat at Rashi. Whether it is through sharing stories, songs, or riddles, I try to inspire my group to open up with one another. I share my traditions with my group as well as with my peers. I have been lucky enough to return to Israel five times since seeing Israel for the first time with my eighth grade class in 2009. I participated in the Shalom Hartman Institute Winter Seminar in 2015 and this past spring worked as an intern for the National Museum of American Jewish History. I also serve as the business manager for Bloomers, Penn's only all-female musical and sketch comedy troupe. I enjoy community service, watching the Red Sox win, and searching for the best ice cream in the world. I am who I am because of Rashi. I feel very lucky to have been a part of the Rashi community for so many years and look forward to continue my relationship with the school as I embark on future adventures.
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