How a Christian Boarding School Grad Became the Marketing Director of Israel’s Top Tourism Company

Sarah Hindman’s goal while growing up in Boston was to be blond, athletic and Protestant—the all-American girl.

How a Christian Boarding School 758 (photo credit: NEFESH B'NEFESH)
How a Christian Boarding School 758
(photo credit: NEFESH B'NEFESH)
As a redheaded Jew who wasn’t very into sports as a child, this was not an easy feat. But she gave it her best try. 
She attended tennis camp, dyed her hair blond, and spent Sundays with her friends at the church dancing school. When her mother asked
her to come home to light candles on Friday night, Hindman begrudgingly agreed. But she refused to go to Hebrew school unless her mother waited for her outside. “I was afraid of being left alone in that world,” Hindman explained.
After her bat mitzvah, Hindman dropped out of Hebrew school and enrolled in a Christian boarding school. “I always told people, ‘I’m Jewish, but I’m not religious,” said Hindman. But even while distancing herself from it, Judaism continued to play a role in Hindman’s life.
During weekly chapel services, Hindman felt strange participating in the Christian prayers, so she sang “Shehechiyanu” under her breath, one of the only Jewish blessings she knew by heart. Before Jewish holidays, she dreaded standing in front of her class to explain why
she had to go home.
“I felt like Judaism was a burden, and I always had to apologize for being this way,” said Hindman.
When Hindman received early acceptance to Trinity College because of her rowing skills,
she knew she couldn’t be in an all-Christian environment again, so she chose USC in California, where she believed she could start anew. But once again, being Jewish proved a challenge to Hindman. When a rowing match fell on Yom Kippur, Hindman’s coach told her she needed to choose between Judaism and the team.
For once, Hindman chose Judaism. At the same time that Hindman’s ideas about her personal identity were beginning to unravel, a man with a thick accent barged into one of her classes. “If anyone wants to come to Israel, meet me outside,” he told the class, slamming the door behind him. Hindman had never wanted to go to Israel, but she was craving an adventure that would get her out of her rut. She skipped out of class and put her name on his sign up sheet. That summer, she landed in Israel with Birthright. 
She fell in love immediately—with the people, the sites, the language, and the history. “For the first time, I felt accepted. I didn’t have to explain myself to anyone. Everyone was Jewish, just like me,” said Hindman. While Hindman sang “Am Yisrael Chai” at the Mega Event with thousands of people from all over the world—all who knew every single word—she realized she would have to come back.
After spending the next year studying Hebrew at USC, Hindman returned for a summer to work in Israel through Career Israel, an internship program. Newly interested in photojournalism, Hindman got an internship at Sderot Media Center, where she was responsible for documenting the havoc that the rockets had wreaked on the city.
“I saw Israel’s bruises, but I still loved the country,” said Hindman. “The experience made me realize that I wanted to help repair Israel and contribute to it in my own way.” 
She also discovered how welcoming Israelis could be when her co-worker, Itzik, an Israeli college student from Bat Yam, invited her to his family’s home for Shabbat. Now that that co-worker is her husband, Hindman considers that weekend their first date.
But as a junior in college, even though Hindman knew that her future would involve Israel, she wasn’t sure what form that would take. She decided to study abroad at Hebrew University to find out if she could actually see herself living in Israel. She spent that semester working
at an Israeli advocacy organization and at the Israel Experience, the same tourism company that ran Career Israel, hoping that one of these would turn into a professional opportunity once she made Aliyah.
Hindman believed that a successful Aliyah entailed going through the process of growing up again. “First you go to school to gain skills, then you make friends, and then you get a job,” she explained. “In Israel, I needed to do the same thing.”She enrolled in Ulpan, strengthened her Hebrew, found her community, and started working.
Only a year and a half into her Aliyah, Hindman nabbed a marketing job at the Israel Experience where she would be able to use her photography and writing skills,
as well as her Zionism to promote the same experiences that had changed her life. By the time she was 25, Hindman was promoted to be Marketing Director of the Israel Experience.
"Israel is a place that allows you to take your passion—whatever that is—and run with it.”