Esther Sperber, an accomplished architect, is founder and owner of Studio ST Architects, a Manhattan firm focused on innovative responsible design. Since the pandemic began, Esther has dedicated tremendous time and expertise to SAR, working in tandem with administrators, the Medical Advisory Team, and design, engineering, and construction colleagues. Esther led efforts to ensure the safe and healthy return to SAR in the fall, with a special focus on the High School. She repurposed and reconfigured spaces for classroom learning, and developed new and creative designs and layouts outside to allow for flexible usage for davening, exercise, and learning. She took the lead on capital improvements, HVAC systems for air circulation and ventilation, and touchless technology for restrooms. Esther also helped to develop color-coded signage and floor decals to delineate the use of space and promote masks, social distancing and safe movement. Esther has served on SAR Academy’s Board of Education since 2016. Professionally, her firm’s work has been published in numerous architectural magazines and monographs in North America, the Middle East, Europe and Asia, and her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Huffington Post, Lilith, The Jewish Week, as well as many academic journals. She began her career working for Pei Partnership Architects, and was privileged to work closely with Mr. I M Pei. Born and raised in Jerusalem, Esther graduated from the Technion, later coming to New York to complete a master’s degree at Columbia University. Esther and her husband Bruce Goldberger live on the Upper West Side and are parents to Lia (Grade 8) and MIriam (AC ‘19, HS ‘23). FOUR QUESTIONS FOR THE HONOREE Q. What is the one insight you have gained from this year that you would like to share? A. As New Yorkers we lived through the devastating first few months of the coronavirus pandemic. But collectively, we turned the situation around by adhering to a few simple rules. We often feel powerless in the face of the huge issues our society faces, but I learned that by doing my part I can contribute to a significant change and that together we can make things better. Q. What is one favorite or positive SAR-related memory from these past few months? A. We had never owned a car but were using Bruce's parents' car over the summer. We took advantage of that and came to SAR’s end-of-year school drive through. It was a heart-warming, celebratory, fun experience and we realized how happy we were to see the SAR teachers, staff and administration. Q. SAR’s theme of the year is 'achrayut.' In your opinion, what is our responsibility to one another during complicated times? A. I feel so fortunate that our daughters have been able to have in-person school since September and I am grateful for each day. This happens because as a community we choose to prioritize our children's education. I am also very aware that this is a privilege and that so many other students do not have this opportunity. I feel that along with our responsibility to our own community we need to also find ways to help the wider community we live in. Q. Who is/are your heroes? Who do you look up to and why A. My heroes are my parents Rabbi Daniel and Chana Sperber. I'm the oldest of ten children who have grown to become a diverse and amazing group of people, each one contributing to the repair of the world. I learned from my parents to appreciate the unique talents and goodness in each person and to educate each child in a way suitable for them (חנוך לנער על פי דרכו). I think SAR embodies these values, nurturing every student and recognizing their inherent value.