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Personal Story

Dani Drager


When we caught up with Dani Drager, she was in the midst of a year teaching English to Israeli students over Zoom, through Masa Israel Teaching Fellows. The Baltimore native and Towson alum loves educating others about Israel—including her 99-year-old grandmother, who stopped in to say hello—and has enjoyed connecting to Jewish life and learning through Etz Chaim.


Dani grew up going to synagogue on High Holidays and attended Jewish day school through 8th grade. During a post-high-school gap year in Israel, she met people who reconnected her to Judaism, and she got involved with Hillel and Chabad during college.


After graduating with a degree in elementary and early childhood education, Dani was looking for ways to stay involved with Jewish life. Friends recommended Etz Chaim’s activities for young professionals, and after attending a Chanukah party last year Dani was hooked. She ran into old friends—some of whom she hadn’t seen since middle school—and met new ones.


Dani’s favorite Etz Chaim experiences have included our axe-throwing social event and volunteer opportunities like making blankets for the homeless and cooking Thanksgiving dinner for police officers in the Northwest Precinct. She loves the welcoming atmosphere she always finds at Etz Chaim, and enjoys connecting with other Jewish young professionals who share her life experiences and are always down for Shabbat dinner.


“Etz Chaim really builds community,” she says. “It offers so many opportunities for people in their 20s and 30s to connect to Judaism and each other while we’re experiencing similar life events.”


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