Jews of Cornell Interview with Sarah Reeves: April 2017

Sarah (Shoshana) Reeves


Where’s home?
Orange County, California

Human Development

What do you want to be when you grow up?
"I’m really interested in working with people. I enjoy understanding how people think and what drives them and motivates them. I’m not positive about what I’m going to do with that yet. Potentially psychology or advocacy. I hope to stay in the US, but I would like to travel to impoverished countries and teach English for a short time. I love working with kids."

In this week's parsha, we learn about a spiritual sickness that appears on the skin if someone speaks slanderously about another. We learn from this the power of speech in that just like it can divide and hurt another, it can also elevate a person or situation. Can you share an example in your life where the use of words changed a situation for the better?
"My younger brother who is in elementary school, had experienced some bullying by people in his previous school. But this year he switched schools and has found people who can really get through to him. The teachers in his new school have emailed my family sharing how he is such a respectable boy. Just those small comments and encouragement has had a huge impact on his confidence level."

We are welcoming a new month in the Jewish calendar. The month of Iyar. The name of the month is connected with healing. If you are down or feeling deflated, how do you “heal”, recoup or re-energize?
"I listen to music a lot. I also spend a lot of time in nature. I enjoy going for runs. Probably the most important thing for me is talking with my mom. I talk to her all the time. She’s been through everything that I’ve been through, and struggled more than I have. Anytime a bring up an issue with her, she always encourages me to take a step back and shares great ways to deal with it. She would never make a decision for me, but has a great way of helping me see it from a different perspective."

Can you share one of your fondest Jewish memories?
"My bat mitzvah. I worked closely with my Rabbi back home, Rabbi Paltiel and Rebbetzin Kreine. I worked really closely with both of them and learned a lot about Jewish women. That had a massive impact on me. It was empowering knowing that I’m part of a lineage of so many powerful Jewish women.
For my actual bat mitzvah, we had a small service just with my Rabbi’s family, my parents, my grandparents and my siblings. It was very powerful. Small and intimate. I will always remember how that felt. I spoke about female Jewish heroes. I think I spoke specifically about Sarah who always had her doors open to guests. The whole experience exposed me to honorable and beautiful traits that I want to embody."

Who do you consider to be a Jewish role model in your life and why?
"Definitely my mom. My mom is the best human ever. She is definitely my best friend. She is one of the only people I know that has the capability of putting everyone else before her. If I have a problem, she would put down everything that she is working on and focus on me. She does this for our whole family. She is also very unaware of it. It’s just natural. We are all very appreciative. Even though she has been through a lot, she never complains and always has a smile on her face. That's really inspirational to me. It reminds me to stay positive and realize that things are never as bad as they seem."

What's your favorite Jewish food?
"Gefilte fish."