Women Who Inspire Us

Women Who Inspire Us #9: The sister I always wanted

Today’s post is the ninth in the Women Who Inspire Us Series.  You can read the previous posts here.  You may also want to subscribe to my RSS feed, or “like” my Facebook page to catch the upcoming posts.  As always, if you would like to share your inspiration by participating in the series, please contact me.  I would LOVE to hear who inspires you!

This first inspiring post for the new year comes from my friend, Sarah.  You may remember her from WWIU #6, where she contributed a beautiful memorial to her mother, a”h.  When Sarah contacted me, she told me that she came to the conclusion that there are two amazing women who had a profound influence on her life, and that she couldn’t pick which one to do.  I say, why pick  Do both!

Who is a women you find inspirational?  

Sara Stenge

What is her relationship to you?

She is a very good friend, mentor, shadchan, and the sister I always wanted and never had


Where did you meet her?

I met her when I was spending a year of college in Israel, in Be’er Sheva. She worked for Jeff Seidel (Jewish Student Center) and came with him to welcome the overseas students.


When did you meet her? Do you think the timing of your meeting affected her impact on you?

I met her in 2002.  I don’t think I would be frum today if I hadn’t met her when I did.  It’s kind of hard to explain why that is, but clearly Hashem put the two of us in the same place at the same time because I needed her in my life so badly. 

What is inspirational about her (it can be more than one thing, i.e. personality, actions, overcoming hardships)? Can you share a specific memory (or more than one)? 

She is  just such an incredible person!  I spent a lot of time with her during my year of college in Israel and once I left I made sure that I kept in touch with her.  She always knew the right thing to say and the right way to sort of nudge me into learning more about Judaism without being pushy or scaring me away.

She always has the right answers for things too.  I remember once walking with her in the Old City (where she lived at the time) and seeing someone put an empty milk carton down near a garbage can, but not IN the can.  I commented on how much it bothers me when people litter and how I couldn’t believe that guy wouldn’t just go the extra couple feet to put his trash IN the can.  She said she just looks at it as Hashem giving her an extra opportunity to do a mitzvah and she picked up the trash and put it in the can.

How has this inspiration affected your life? Do you think it has made you a better person? How so?

Generally, when I describe Sara to someone, I say that she is who I want to be when I grow up someday.  I don’t really know how else to put it – there is so much about her I just can’t put into words.  The way she raises her children, the way she is with her husband, the way she takes everything in stride, the way she opens her house to people – everything about her is what I would ideally be someday.

She has definitely made me a better person, though I have a long way to go still.  I wish I knew how to better put into words the effect she has had on me – without her I wouldn’t have a relationship with most of the people who I count as extremely important in my life, including my husband!  (She and her husband had mine picked out for me a year before I even started to become frum!)

When do you find yourself thinking of this person? How do you feel when you think about her?

I think about her every day and with happiness and a bit of awe.  Again, she made my shidduch, so I have a fairly constant hakoras hatov going on for her.

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