Los Angeles JNFuture President is Making a Difference
By Anita Silvert
The world of the NFL and Jewish National Fund-USA (JNF-USA) may seem far apart, but for Sarah Herman, the President of JNFuture in Los Angeles, there is actually a pretty straight line between the two.
One of the things that drew Herman, Digital Media Manager for the NFL and Sports Management Masters’ student, to the sports field was the camaraderie it builds. She finds that same camaraderie in the Jewish community in which she was raised, and to which she gives her time and resources.
Herman was a child of the American Conservative movement: Jewish day school, Hebrew High, and her USY youth group. At the University of Southern California, she sought out Hillel and took her first trip to Israel through Birthright.
But once she got out of school and began to build her career, she realized that something was missing. It was harder to re-integrate into the organized Jewish community as a young professional. It took more intentionality and effort to find her place, seeking other like-minded young professionals.
Herman found that place after a friend took her to a JNF-USA event. At that event, she was struck by the reaction of a speaker from the Gaza envelope. When a plane flew overhead, the speaker froze in fear. Herman realized that the speaker was living a life she couldn’t even imagine, though she had grown up in a family that always saw Israel as vital to Jewish communal life.
That experience convinced her to go on a JNFuture mission in 2019 and that’s where she saw the powerful, impactful work that JNF-USA was doing in the South of Israel, working with the community there in real and effective ways to improve education, employment, and the local economy.
Since then, she quickly took on more and more leadership roles, becoming President of the Los Angeles group last year in the middle of the pandemic. Yet even through a lockdown, Herman has been impressed with JNF-USA’s ability to connect supporters to the work on the ground in Israel.
In particular, in this JNF-USA’s Women’s Month, as a young female philanthropist, Herman relishes the bond that develops between the older and younger donors. They lean on each other, with the more experienced women acting as mentors.
Through her JNFuture work, her leadership skills have grown, benefitting both her professional career and her role with JNFuture. Herman’s career in sports management keeps her in a “men’s world.” Her work with JNF-USA allows her to work with other women, empowering them to make philanthropic choices that match their passions.
Sarah Herman’s work with JNFuture is grounded in passion. “Whatever your passion, there is an outlet for you through JNFuture”, says Herman. It’s a vehicle for young professionals who love Israel, as they build on their own strengths, hone their leadership skills, and make a difference in very real ways.
In honor of Women’s Month, thanks to the generosity of Jayne Klein and Paula Gottesman, all donations will be matched up to $1 million through May 31, 2021. Go to jnf.org/womensmonth to donate.
To learn more about JNF-USA’s Women for Israel, click here.
To learn more about JNFuture, click here.