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Sarah Rohr
Sarah Rohr

 

Born in Chicago and raised in Austin, Texas, Sarah Rohr’s life journey has taken her through a number of fascinating careers, disparate in some ways but united in their emphasis on physicality and the body. She has worked as a farmer in Hawaii, a stone sculptor, a yoga teacher, and she started her own business in breath work practice. She has a passion for working with children and for the past five years she has taught Hebrew at multiple synagogue religious schools around Portland. 

She had been aware of the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies but it had never occurred to her that it might be right for her until interacting with one of the JST faculty members in an informal setting. She was inspired to look at the program website and discovered classes that spoke to her: Hebrew language, Jewish history, literature, and poetry.  A major in Judaic Studies, it seemed to her, would deepen her knowledge as a Jewish educator. Deciding to take the plunge, Sarah enrolled at PSU in 2018, aiming to finish a B.A. in Judaic Studies by summer 2020. (With her credits from previous college courses, she is able to focus solely on Judaic Studies courses and thus “fast-track” her degree.)

 Sarah finds that the professors in the Judaic Studies Program make the subject matter come alive, and they also make themselves available to deepen the learning. Says Rohr, “It’s not ‘top down’ - the professors are dynamic and get the students talking with each other.“ 

Rohr describes as “brilliant” the intergenerational component to classes provided by the presence of senior auditors who take courses through PSU’s Senior Auditors Learning Center (SALC).  For example, one of her classmates had 40 years’ experience working as a diplomat abroad.  Having this level of life experience present in the classroom really enriches the learning.

Receiving the Harold Schnitzer Family Scholarship feels like an affirmation and an honor. Sarah is grateful to the Schnitzer Family for creating the opportunity for students like her to cherish learning, explore, and give back. In the past year Sarah has penned over 40 poems. Looking to the future, Sarah hopes to craft a career that will incorporate all of her strengths as an artist, an educator, and a leader.  She concludes, “I’ve come to serve.”

 

Learn more about Judaic Studies: https://www.pdx.edu/judaic