Jessica Rubenstein listens to others with her head and with her heart, and she has mastered the art of giving advice only when she is asked and only after she has considered the impact of her words. Jessica inspires honesty and kindness in others and, as a result, her relationships are mature ones, and her friendships are lasting ones.
Jessica's has reached out to the larger community. She joined a group of Jewish and Muslim students to plan and implement a major fundraiser for homeless children in a nearby community. She challenged herself to go outside her "comfort zone" and befriend students who ethnicity differed from hers. Within this group, she searched for the commonalities, the points of connection, and she broke through some of the invisible barriers that might have hampered her growth.
Jessica volunteered to help some victims of Hurricane Katrina sort through debris in search of salvageable possessions and reasons to feel fortunate. After this activity, Jessica wrote a most moving piece describing "her adventure" and the people who had touched her life while she attempted to touch theirs. I read her work in its incipient stages and marveled at the fact that this most decent, honorable individual has harnessed the power of words. Her essay won recognition in The Bergen County Writing contest, and Professor Sadock of Bergen Community College that sponsors the contest read a portion of her essay to an audience who recognized how profoundly the experience had affected this talented young woman.
Jessica collected as many test preparation books as she could find so that other students who cannot afford such "luxuries" could benefit from the practice tests. One would only need to look into Jessica's eyes when she talks about the people whom she has met along the way to know that Jessica intends to make the needs of others her priority. Making a difference in others' lives has made a tremendous difference in hers.