11 September 2017
Abby Newburger is Federation’s new Young Leadership Associate. To learn more and get involved, email Abby at [email protected].
Tell us about where you’re from and your family.
I am from Potomac, Maryland. Family is a huge part of my life and is very important to me. I am the oldest of three siblings (one sister and one brother).
Where’d you go to college and what was your scene at school?
I went to The Ohio State University (OSU) for a BA in Jewish Studies. I was a campus ambassador for Taglit-Birthright Israel and the Jewish National Fund as well as an intern for AIPAC and OSU Hillel. While in school, I participated in Jewish education and Israel education/advocacy organizations as well as the Jewish a cappella group called the MeshugaNotes.
Can you tell me about one of your favorite professional experiences?
One of my favorite professional experiences was interviewing Shanaan Street, the lead singer of HaDag Nachash, at an event at OSU for my undergraduate degree.
What inspired you to venture into this career path?
I was always involved in the Jewish community in some capacity but it was not until I went on Birthright after my freshman year of college that I realized how big a role Judaism and Israel had played in my identity. After I went on that trip, I decided to major in Jewish Studies and go into Jewish Communal Development so that I could help others find their passion within a community that has so much to offer.
Can you tell me about your Jewish upbringing and Hebrew history? What influenced your Hebrew studies?
My parents raised me and my siblings in a conservative household where going to shul on Shabbat and keeping kosher were made to be important aspects of our upbringing. My siblings and I went to Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School through eighth grade, where we studied Hebrew every year. I also was a Jewish studies major in college so in total, I have studied Hebrew for thirteen years. My maternal grandfather, who I am named for, was Israeli and we have a lot of family back in Israel so while Birthright was my turning point in my professional path, the first time I went to Israel was in 2002 during the second intifada. Seeing my Israeli family was the first time I realized that I had another home. My connection with Judaism has only grown stronger with every new experience and I look forward continuing to progress in years to come.
What is most unique and exciting to you about DC’s Jewish community?
With such a big community centered around the nation’s capital, there are so many things to learn and explore. There will never be a dull moment in the Jewish community here.