Author & Activist
Sara Hurwitz was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, on March 15, 1977. Disheartened with apartheid politics, her parents moved the family to Boca Raton, Florida, in 1989. After graduating from high school in 1994, Hurwitz spent a year in Israel at Midreshet Lindenbaum, a women’s learning institution. She returned in 1995 to enter Barnard College, where she majored in Psychology. In college she joined a group of young women who created Lights in Action, a student-run organization that sought to connect other Jewish students to Judaism. Their work involved organizing conferences and producing creative teaching materials. After graduating from Barnard in 1999, she continued her work with Lights in Action, serving as its director for six years. In 2000, Hurwitz also entered the Drisha Institute Scholars Circle Program, a full-time, three-year learning program created by Rabbi David Silber, a pioneer in women’s higher Jewish education. In 2001 Hurwitz married lawyer Joshua Abraham. They have four sons. While at Drisha, Hurwitz began to teach and lecture in synagogues around the country beginning a journey towards not only deepening a connection to Orthodox Judaism but also opening up a path for other Orthodox women to serve the community. Her tenacity and model of putting one foot in front of the other has helped her traverse controversy and face push-back from some sectors of the Orthodox community. After five years of studying under the auspices of Rabbi Avi Weiss, she was ordained by Rabbi Weiss and Rabbi Daniel Sperber in 2009 becoming the first Orthodox woman to be publicly ordained and serve in an Orthodox synagogue. Shortly thereafter, she helped found Yeshivat Maharat, a rabbinical school that trains and ordains other women to serve the Jewish community.
"I stand on the shoulders of women who've made tremendous inroads both in the world at large and in the Jewish community."