Although Sarah Pachter is young, she boasts a resume full of speaking experience. Before she turns 30, this Southern belle will already have 10 years of lecturing to diverse and varied crowds of women from all over the world. Pachter taught weekly classes for three years at the Jewish Enrichment Center in New York City (their youngest regular speaker), is a frequent speaker for Aish, works with college students through JAM at UCLA, and teaches and inspires women all over Los Angeles. Aside from her many accomplishments, she is humble, approachable, and hardworking.
Eleven years ago, in her hometown of Atlanta, Pachter was dismayed at the lack of women’s programming on Shavuos night. She decided to do something about it: she prepared a shiur and opened her home up thinking a few women might come. To her surprise and delight her house was packed with over 40 women who were then inspired to keep learning together in study groups.
When the Jewish Enrichment Center needed a substitute for their regular speaker, Rebbetzin Leah Cohen, Pachter (then only 20) came up as a suggestion. At the last minute, with no other options, they reluctantly hired her to give a class to their young professionals, and she wowed them. Her combination of motivational speaking with Torah and psychological insights was a fresh and welcome change. This speaking opportunity gave her exposure as well as a large repertoire of shiurim (over 70).
Every shiur takes many hours of preparation. Pachter finds that when she is in “shuir mode” she ruthlessly organizes her time and uses every opportunity to work, sometimes late into the night. Inspiration can come at any time and she constantly catalogs ideas.
Stories and real life examples seamlessly weave in and out of her content keeping the shiurim alive and relevant. Pachter is constantly reading, learning, listening to shiurim and tying together secular and Jewish research in order to fully formulate her thoughts and ideas. Pachter’s approachable manner encourages students to share their thoughts during the class as well as via phone or e-mail.
Pachter decided that bringing positive energy into the world is more important than any fears or personal obstacles. There are countless students who have cited Pachter’s classes as their impetus for a positive change in their lives.
“People should walk out of my classes feeling empowered and capable,” she said, “whether it is one more mitzvah, a new job responsibility, or taking the next step in a relationship. I tell my students to focus on the next step. If you are at A and your goal is Z, don’t look at Z, look at B. Anything is possible with baby steps.”
Pachter is motivated by the opportunity to reach people in a meaningful way and is constantly thinking of ways to engage even the most distractible or disengaged person.