Hebrew name: Dabee Bruchah
Job: Future Sexual Health & Wellness Educator
Currently living in: Greenville, S.C.
Alma mater(s): Roger Williams University, Bristol, R.I.
Favorite foods: Mushroom pizza, Israeli cabbage salad, blueberry granola pancakes, my sister’s homemade sourdough bread/scones
Favorite movies: “Because I Said So,” “Frozen,” “The Proposal”
Favorite TV shows: “Outlander,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Fauda”
Favorite travel destinations: Edinburgh, Tel Aviv, Amalfi Coast
Somewhere you’d like to go next: Spain!
Favorite Jewish people not in your family: Idina Menzel, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Dan and Eugene Levy, Adam Sandler, Barbara Streisand
Favorite Jewish holiday: Yom Ha’atzmaut
Favorite North Shore spot: Lynch Park in Beverly
Tell me a little about your Jewish background.
I grew up in Beverly and Swampscott. I went to Cohen Hillel Academy, which is now Epstein Hillel School. My parents are from Swampscott, and my grandparents are from the area as well. We were very family-oriented, and loved being involved in the community. Then I went to Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School. There are almost no Jews there. I didn’t love what I was going through in high school. The Jewish stuff kind of took a back seat because I was dealing with so many other things.
How was your college experience with Jewish life?
One of the reasons I chose Roger Williams was that they had a Jewish community, or at least some semblance of Jewish community that I could be a part of. Hillel was listed in all the pamphlets, on the website. Then I got there, and nobody was running the Hillel. A guy who ended up becoming a good friend of mine basically sought me out. He literally told me that he was finding all of the Jews to meet. We talked on Facebook first, and then I was sitting in one of the academic buildings one day and he just came up to me with this huge presence of energy. And I thought, “Oh my God, who is this person that I signed up to be friends with just because we’re both Jewish?” He ended up becoming one of my best friends.
It was the two of us and two other people. We started the Hillel. I was founder and Vice President for basically my four years of college. We ended up with over 20 kids. Our goal wasn’t necessarily the religious components. We just wanted to have a community. We wanted people to have a space where everyone was comfortable.
We had a really, really great time. I ended up meeting this Holocaust survivor at a gala that I went to in New York City. We were talking and I said, “I’m going to bring you to my school to speak.” And he said, “Fantastic. Here’s my card.” And a couple months later, I coordinated with him and I got him to school, and that was huge.
What came next for you after graduation?
My biggest passions are travel, and wanting to help people. Sounds super-cliché, but that’s it. I ended up going to China. I lived in Shanghai and teaching English with this big company. I was there for about six months, but then COVID started, and I ended up coming home early. I was super-bummed because I had just started to get involved with the Jewish community. I ended up getting this in with the Chabad through my sister. Who knew there were Orthodox Jews in Shanghai? There are a lot of them, and a lot of other Jewish people who were there mostly for work. It was so amazing.
While I was in China, I told myself, ‘Israel’s gonna be next. I don’t know how, but I’m gonna make it happen.’ A year and a half [later], I went to Israel on a Masa Israel Journey program. [Masa reaches] all over the country. You can say you want to do anything, and they’ll make it happen. As somebody who never really knew what they wanted to do professionally, this was a great way to figure it out.
Yes, you’re paying for the program. However, you’re being housed. You’re given programming. You’re given an automatic friend group and a really cool network of professionals that want to support you. And there are tons of opportunities while you’re there to develop professionally. I did a leadership summit last December. I took a week off of my internship. We had this really incredible summit and were able to develop ourselves as leaders, but also meet some other really cool people.
I was approached toward the end of my program to become an ambassador, and it was no question for me. I figured out what I wanted to do. It’s not related to what I went there for, but I figured it out, so I’m happy about that.
What did you decide to do after being in Israel?
I realized I have a ton of experience with kids and like most people, I enjoy learning about and talking to people about sex. I realized I want be a sexual health educator, specifically for kids. I want to break barriers. I didn’t really start pursuing it that much until this summer.
Unfortunately, [for] a lot of the certifications, you need a certain amount of health sciences credits from college, which I don’t have. So I’m trying to be creative and utilize my networking skills and reach out to people. I’ve met some really cool people, so I hope I’ve been planting some seeds somewhere. Θ