Written by Fray Hochstein, on behalf of Team ROI
For Sarah, there is a quiet in the center from which her spirituality springs. She associates this with her formative years. Growing up in a Conservative Jewish home in Washington, D.C., she attended a private Quaker school, where, she says, she learned to sit in silence and to appreciate the power of contemplative practices to help change the world.
Sarah went on to teach mind-body education in schools in D.C. and San Francisco. One day, she was walking with a friend who told her about the Rosh Hodesh (new moon) celebration that she had recently experienced on a kibbutz in Israel. This struck an immediate chord in Sarah, who had been searching for a way to connect her deepening spiritual practice to Judaism. There was something about this women’s ritual-less yet ancient holiday that seemed ripe with promise.
Photo Credit: Maayan Ben-Artzi
Sarah read what little was available about this nearly forgotten custom (an astonishingly meager four books in English) and together with a group of friends, instituted the first of what was to become monthly Well Circles (Rosh Hodesh gatherings), in which women come together to connect to each other, to their bodies, and to the Hebrew calendar. Sarah also launched At The Well, which develops content and resources for Well Circles and helps establish new ones. There are currently 200 active Circles in eleven countries throughout the world.
Around the time that Sarah was developing At The Well she joined a Schusterman REALITY trip to Israel and in 2016 applied to and attended the ROI Summit. Sarah says: “Being part of ROI really helped me create this international network. I made a lot of friends and connections who have then gone on to collaborate with me on material for At The Well. There are almost two dozen ROIers who have worked on or been a part of At The Well with me.” It is this connection to other action-oriented people that has helped her stay strong in her own practice. “ROI has informed my identity as a leader and a connecter. There is so much language in the Summit about helping people meet the right people so that they can make the right connections and realize their dreams; getting people to act on their values in order to solve major problems. It taught me where I stand in the Jewish world, and to own that in a proud and meaningful way.”
ROI has also inspired Sarah in her vision of her role. “Justin has this thing he says: We (ROI) have invested in 1,300 people so you can reach a million people. I love that vision and have taken it on as one of the things I strive for in myself.” The world, says Sarah, is in desperate need for people to act, to bring their shared vision of what they want the world to be. “It’s so much easier to just go to brunch, but I believe that the only thing that’s going to bring about social change in the world is spirituality and social networks – to wake up in the morning feeling connected to something bigger than ourselves.”