Alumni Spotlight Profile

Sivia Lapidus '95

As one of only a few hundred American pediatric rheumatologists, Sivia Lapidus ‘95 credits her CESJDS upbringing for her love of learning, analyzing voraciously, and infusing her daily life with creativity- skills she utilizes every day in research, tackling diagnostic dilemmas, and interacting with colleagues/patients. Today, in her current position, Sivia balances several responsibilities. She is a pediatric rheumatologist at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, Hackensack Meridian Health, faculty at the Center for Discovery and Innovation, Assistant  professor at the Hackensack Meridian Health School of Medicine, and guest researcher at the National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health.

Half of her position in pediatric rheumatology involves providing clinical care to patients with inflammatory diseases such as juvenile arthritis, lupus, inflammatory muscle diseases and recurrent fever syndromes. The other half of her position is devoted to translational research to improve our understanding of the mechanisms of inflammatory diseases affecting young children.

Growing up, Sivia and her brother Michael ‘98 both attended CESJDS. As a student, Sivia was involved in theater, lacrosse, basketball, and improv. She also tutored French and English and wrote for the Lion’s Tale. It is here that Sivia developed a love for Talmud, literature, and science. Sivia also participated in a science symposium organized by Mrs. Laura Jacobs with lectures from National Institutes of Health (NIH) physicians, a project to expose students to NIH laboratories.

Inspired by the presentation given by NIH scientists, Sivia completed a summer research program while pursuing a B.A. in Environmental Science at Barnard College. During her undergraduate studies, Sivia participated in a number of extracurriculars including the Israeli dance troupe, working for the suicide hotline to provide intervention for fellow students, and was in a sorority, to name a few. The NIH research program coupled with a medical tragedy within her family led Sivia to enter the medical field

Following her time at Barnard College, Sivia attended the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, N.Y. where she received her M.D. and led the Jewish Medical Association for four years as the organization’s President.

Sivia and her life partner both place strong values in active engagement in Jewish life. Together, they have two sons, ages 11 and 13, who Sivia considers to be her greatest accomplishment. “Their unique talents, senses of humor and wisdom make all my hard work/late night hours worth every moment.”

Sivia recognizes several of her JDS teachers as personal inspirations. Specifically, she credits Mrs. Laura Jacobs for inspiring her current career path.

Sivia’s advice for younger alumni and current CESJDS students is “Follow your dreams and always gain strength from your roots. Work hard just like you do at CESJDS but always pursue what you love.  Never forget to laugh and enjoy along the way regardless of challenges you may face.  Find a community that will continue to inspire and support you.”

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