Alumni Spotlight Profile

Jessica Steinberg '94

Jessica Steinberg is a professor and member of the faculty at the George Washington University Law School where she supervises the Neighborhood Law and Policy Clinic. Jessica is married to an alumnus, Hank Sacks '94, and together they are a part of the growing list of more than 25 alumni couples.

Jewish Day School education runs like a fabric through Jessica's family. Jessica began at CESJDS in the first grade and was followed by her two younger brothers, Zach Steinberg '96 and Ben Steinberg '00. Their parents also attended Jewish Day Schools; Leah Steinberg went to the Yeshiva of Flatbush and Ben Steinberg attended the Ramaz School.

For Jessica, CESJDS was not only where she went to school, it was where she learned how to perceive the world, developed a sense of justice, and is the source of powerful friendships. One of those friendships turned into a marriage.

Of her many teachers and friends from CESJDS, Dr. Gil Cooke and Rabbi Reuven Greenvald are among those who helped Jessica along the way. Dr. Cooke, who was a member of the English faculty for many years and influenced countless students, is someone whose example Jessica tries to follow. "Now that I teach, I appreciate how Dr. Cooke taught me how to write creatively and expressively with high standards. These skills are really important and it is expected of the third year law students in my program."

Rabbi Reuven Greenvald, who was the Principal of the Upper School and today still keeps in touch (and gets called to officiate weddings) with many alumni, did something that Jessica will never forget. "Rabbi Greenvald required that we think for ourselves and to have the confidence to challenge convention and authority. In 11th grade, he asked each of us for a personal belief statement that he then bound into a book. Even though I try to minimize my possessions, that book is something I keep and will never get rid of."

The combination of creative expression with independence and a clear sense of social justice carried Jessica forward. After Barnard College, she taught English in Ecuador and worked for an organization focused on conflict resolution in the developing democracies of Latin America and Eastern Europe. The next step was Stanford University Law School where her passion for social justice was realized through a fellowship in poverty law and work as a legal aid lawyer. Today, Jessica is a litigator, teacher, social activist, active CESJDS alumna, parent, and much more.

Hank and Jessica were friends at CESJDS, but were reunited during their undergraduate years through mutual alumni connections. They returned to the Washington, DC region in 2011 when Jessica became part of the faculty at GW Law School. They have two daughters, Sellah and Simona, and are committed to their Jewish day school education.

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