Sam Sterling serves as our Director of Membership & Engagement, and also plays an integral role in the coordination of our High Holy Days. Prior to CBE, she spent several years at the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue and then at Central Synagogue, where she was the Melton Director and Manager of Adult Education.

Sam Sterling

Director of Membership & Engagement

Photographed and Interviewed by Nate Jaffe, Communications Associate

“CBE is a very important institution; it offers a home to Jews of all backgrounds, of all identities and orientations. Places like CBE are few and far between, and it’s an honor to be your Director of Membership and Engagement.” – Sam

Nate: How long have you been connected to CBE and what brought you here?
Sam: I started at CBE in May of 2017. I was impressed with CBE’s mission and staff, so here I am.

Nate: Where are you from? If not, NYC, how did you get here?
Sam: I got to CBE by way of The Bronx, Connecticut, Atlanta, Amsterdam and then the city. Brooklynites call it Manhattan but it will always be the city to me.

Nate: What is your favorite part of your job?
Sam: I really love speaking with members and hearing about how much CBE means to them.

Nate: Do you speak any languages other than English? If not, which language(s) would you like to learn?
Sam: I can get along in Spanish and speak rudimentary Hebrew. I would probably pick Dutch or French, as those are useful in many countries around the world.

Nate: What is your favorite family holiday tradition?
Sam: My dad and I have lunch together every Saturday. It’s our Shabbat tradition and is always a highlight of my week.

Nate: Do you collect anything?
Sam: I collect stamps – I’m a fourth generation philatelist. I also love antique maps, etchings and engravings of the natural world. Come by my office to see a few!

Nate: Who inspires you or who is someone you look up to?
Sam: I have a very close friend who went to law school, became a lawyer and was then diagnosed with a serious illness. While in treatment, she decided that she wanted to become a doctor, so she left law, went to medical school, and is now a resident at Stanford. We’ve been friends for 35 years (nearly my entire life) and while her career path is supremely impressive, she’s also one of the kindest people I know. For that reason alone, I’ve always looked up to her.

Nate: What motivates you?
Sam: Thinking about my next travel adventure keeps me excited. I’m hoping to go to the Galapagos Islands soon.

Nate: Who’s your go to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?
Sam: Radiohead.

Nate: If you could host a talk show, who would be your first guest?
Sam: Jack Hanna would be high on the list because I’d love to interact with wild, 4-legged animals! I’m not very interested in celebrities.

Nate: What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?
Sam: Lunch with my dad, of course, preferably at a luxury resort on the beach. My partner and best friends would be there too, and we’d have blue drinks with little umbrellas in them and swim in the ocean.

Nate: What is your favorite movie, tv show, or book of all time?
Sam: Jaws (the movie, although the book is pretty good too). I love so many different writers and there’s no way I can pick just one book. I’m always reading something; right now it’s an Icelandic crime novel (translated into English). I usually read dark comedies.