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Sara Y. Aharon '99

Jamaica Estates
What year did you graduate YHT? 
I think 1999!

Did you have any favorite YHT teachers?
Mrs. Greenberg was our fifth grade English and general studies teacher, and she was amazing. She was an inspiration and encouraged my love of writing. I was hoping and wanted her to come to the launch when "From Kabul to Queens: The Jews of Afghanistan and Their Move to the United States" was published. That Mrs. Greenberg came to the event, with a huge smile, was a major highlight and tremendous honor! We took pictures together and everyone had happy tears and it was incredible. We were blessed that several teachers throughout my life, including my high school social studies teacher and one of my college professor mentors, came to the program. That's a testament to the positive enduring relationships between YHT faculty and students. 
What have you been up to since YHT?
Since YHT I went to Central for high school, an Israeli yeshiva called Orot for my year in Israel, and then Brandeis and NYU for college and graduate school, respectively. Most recently I've been with the Anti-Defamation League, focusing on development and interfaith outreach, building relationships with New York's Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, Latino and other diverse faith communities. 

How did your book "From Kabul to Queens," come about? 
My research began with my senior thesis in college, when it was just a personal passion project to discover more about the Jewish community of Afghanistan, since part of my family is from there. I knew little about the history, and wanted to learn everything there was to know! I had learned a lot about European Jewish history and the Ashkenazi side of our family, who escaped the pogroms, but very little about Afghanistan. After Brandeis, I continued my research and was beyond lucky that others were interested in bringing this project to life as a book. It still surprises me and is deeply gratifying whenever people express interest in learning about Afghanistan's Jewish community too.
Anything else we should mention here? 
Go interview my siblings too! All 5 of us are YHT grads. They went on to YU, Stern, Columbia Engineering, and Mt. Sinai Medical School. They still have their YHT basketball jerseys. 
[Ed. Note: Here are some things Sara neglected to mention about herself.]
Sara graduated Brandeis summa cum laude, received a Henry Mitchell MacCracken Fellowship for her graduate work at NYU, has spoken around the country in support of her book, and was named one of The Jewish Week's "36 Under 36" list of "young educators, thinkers, social justice activists, philanthropists and artists reinventing Jewish life."