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How Obama’s Speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz Discovered Judaism Was ‘Here All Along’

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It’s Kol Nidre. And whether or not you’re going to synagogue, you might be more inclined to contemplate your place in the world, as well as your sense of purpose and meaning in your own life.

Now imagine this: What if you spent your days working with some of the most powerful people in the world, but at the end of the day, you managed to find real, transcendent meaning in the most unlikely of places — your own Jewish heritage?

That’s what came to be true for our guest on Call Your Mother this week, Sarah Hurwitz. Sarah was a speechwriter for both Barack and Michelle Obama, working in the White House and living the West Wing lifestyle. But an “Introduction to Judaism” class she took on the spur of the moment opened up new doors of insight and meaning, and launched a lifelong examination of what it means to be a Jew and a human.

The book Sarah just wrote, Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life – in Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There), is both a meaningful contemplation of her exploration of Judaism and a helpful starting point to a reader interested in finding out more about what it actually means to be a Jew.

Jordana talks with Sarah about the Obamas, speechwriting, and the sparks of meaning — yes, even holiness — that Sarah discovered as she educated herself about the heritage she’d been born into. They talk about the importance of letting yourself feel a little uncomfortable, and how to better connect (hint: this book is a great starting point!).

Jordana also talks to Shannon about how weighing a baby on a scale is a lot like weighing a turkey, and calls Gram to find out how to make Yom Kippur have any resonance for little kids.

Give a listen! And gmar chatima tova — may you be sealed in the book of life for a good new year!




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