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Jewish American Heritage Month: Student Stories

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May is Jewish American Heritage Month, which pays tribute to the generations of Jewish Americans who have contributed to the history and culture of America. In recognition, we wanted to share some thoughts from Estie Sherbak  (Class of 2024) about her experiences growing up in America and how her unique perspective contributed to her path into Optometry. Read her experience below.

Estie Sherbak, Class of 2024

My parents were both raised in Moldova, a country that was part of the former Soviet Union. They were raised Jewish and continued this practice upon moving to the U.S. As a Jewish first-generation American, I struggled with this unique identity because I didn’t understand how to embrace a culture that was different from everyone else’s.

Over time, learning more about my family history gave me a reason to be proud and excited about being Jewish. It made me realize how much I truly depended on the ethical and moral guidelines Judaism puts into place to lead my life.

Being Jewish has instilled values in me that drive my desire to provide the best patient care and to always put the health of others first. Acts of loving kindness and compassion are two that I find myself drawing upon the most.

Judaism has also had a constant and consistent presence in my life. I know that whenever school gets hard or there is a difficult situation to get through, I can always fall back on the comfort of Judaism— whether that is reminding myself of my strength through Jewish values or just simply indulging in some comfort food (like bagels).