Sally Oren’s Long, Strange Trip From Following the Dead to Saving Lives

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Sally Oren, wife to former Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, will speak to YJLC members Sunday morning of the Pocono Rafting Leadership Weekend via webcam. 

Sally Oren, wife to former Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, will speak to YJLC members Sunday morning of the Pocono Rafting Leadership Weekend via webcam. 
 
Oren participates in humanitarian work toward disaster relief efforts all over the world with an organization called IsraAID. She helped provide relief for disasters in the Philippines during Typhoon Haiyan, in Jordan to help Syrian refugees and in Nepal during this year’s earthquakes. Through IsraAID, she has also helped clean up the aftermath of floods and tornadoes in the United States.  
 
Oren also worked for Taglit-Birthright Israel as the assistant to the director, educating young adults about Israel and giving them a feeling for what Israel truly is. 
 
Although known for her involvement with her husband’s politics — attending dinners, functions and Jewish gatherings — Oren also spent much of her youth with rock legends like the Grateful Dead, and even became a muse for Jefferson Airplane. 
 
“I guess I had the luck of the draw,” she said. 
 
Oren spent most of her teenage years at The Filmore in San Francisco in the early 1960s, where most of the rock bands played. One of her three sisters worked there, so Oren quickly became a regular around the dance hall. 
 
Oren had the opportunity to meet Janis Joplin and even play Frisbee with the Grateful Dead in Golden Gate Park. 
 
“It was a pretty magical youth,” she said. 
 
Oren left San Francisco at the age of 17 with her sister to travel around Europe for two years. She spent eight months in Israel during her travels. 
 
“I feel like I was immediately caught up by the magic of this country,” she said. “I loved being in a Jewish country. It meant a lot to me.”
 
Oren said she grew up in a very Zionist family, so much so that her entire family eventually moved to Israel at different times over the years. 
 
When she eventually settled here, it was obvious to here that this is where she belonged. 
 
“I came here and I felt home,” she said. 
 
Contact: [email protected]; (215-832-0737).

 

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