Sarah Porush has been a vital presence in the Chicago Jewish community over the past year and a half of the pandemic as coordinator of Refuah 311’s vaccination program. “It was the natural evolution of Refuah 311’s” vital life-saving work.
When the pandemic started, Sarah helped set up some of the city’s very first COVID testing sites. “We’ve been at the forefront of our community in COVID testing – as soon as COVID started we did our best to serve our community in any way we can,” she explains. That meant embarking on a laborious process to become certified as a COVID vaccine clinic, starting in November 2020, before COVID vaccines were even approved. Sarah helped Refuah 311 navigate the hundreds of hours that were required to eventually become one of the very first stand-alone vaccine clinics in Illinois. Her work hasn’t stopped in months: in the first two weeks after COVID vaccine approval for 5-11 year old children, Sarah oversaw the inoculation of close to 5,000 people.
A 1995 ICJA graduate, Sarah lives in West Rogers Park with her husband Benjie and four children. She remembers her time at ICJA as a longstanding source of inspiration”: “I made great friends, great connections, had great teachers.” Mrs. Sarah Wainkrantz was a particular influence: “Her enthusiasm for learning and her great love of Torah and Judaism were very inspiring,” Sarah recalls, and continue to motivate her today.