Inside the Activists’ Studio: Sarah From


Crossposted from Pursue. Jewschool is a co sponsor of Inside the Activists’ Studio. 

On Sunday, May 20, Pursue NYC, together with New Israel Fund-New Generations and the Young Leaders of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), presents Inside the Activists’ Studio: Finding Your Voice in a Global Movement. The event will feature an incredible array of local Jewish change-makers speaking on a panel, presenting workshops, or performing. As a sneak peek, Pursue chatted with workshop presenter Sarah From of Do Your Best Work about how she found her own voice: 

What inspired you to work on issues of personal ecology with activists?

Over a decade of work in nonprofits, I saw how lack of sleep, email overload, unmindful leadership, and inadequate personal organization could hinder the work. As I began to experiment with different strategies and tools to manage my own workload, I became more interested in the bigger picture. That is, how does the way we work for social change reflect the values we are fighting for? And what’s the cost if we’re changing our communities and the world but running ourselves into the ground in the process?  The work I do now is to help social change leaders and organizations identify new ways of working that promote sustainability, productivity, and alignment with purpose and values.

How does your Jewish identity relate to what you do?

Four years ago, I was working on criminal justice reform and on the verge of burnout when I attended a Selah leadership retreat. There, I learned how personal sustainability could be rooted in Jewish tradition. The big “a-ha” for me was that as a Jew, I am obligated to work for justice and I am obligated to rest. Too many Jewish social justice activists take the first obligation seriously and ignore the second.

What are you most excited about for Inside the Activists’ Studio?

I’m excited to provide space for activists to identify new and more sustainable ways of working. I love helping people who are both incredibly passionate and incredibly overwhelmed to find more spaciousness in their work and non-work lives.

Why should folks come to your IAS workshop?   

Our movements are only as vibrant as the quality of the energy we are able to bring to them. By attending to your own sustainability, you can better use your time, energy and attention in service to the world you want to create.

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"I may attack a certain point of view which I consider false, but I will never attack a person who preaches it. I have always a high regard for the individual who is honest and moral, even when I am not in agreement with him. Such a relation is in accord with the concept of kavod habriyot, for beloved is man for he is created in the image of God." —Rav Joseph Soloveitchik