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Eishes Chayil

"Look at this woman", someone said to me in Shul in Baltimore when I visited there recently. I looked. I saw a young Haredi woman who was gentle, even somewhat bashful. "Her name is Anne Neuberger. She is not allowed to tell people what she does, but she holds a senior position at the United States National Security Agency". Later, we spoke, and her fascinating life story started to unravel before me. This week she made the headlines in America: The National Security Agency announced the establishment of a new Cybersecurity Division headed by Neuberger, 43, of Baltimore, who from now on will run the entire intelligence apparatus which is responsible for dealing with technological threats. Her sense of connection to this field was etched in her since childhood: "Of the eight grandfathers and grandmothers of my parents, seven were murdered in Auschwitz. One survived. The family emigrated from Hungary to America after the Holocaust. I was a baby when my parents saved enough money and took their first vacation in 1976, and left me with Grandma. Their airplane was hijacked and taken to Entebbe. If not for the Entebbe Operation, my parents would not have returned home. When I deal with intelligence and fight against evil and terrorism, all of this background accompanies me in the morning to work."

After studying in Bais Yaakov and in university, she joined a prestigious program for interns at the White House, and from there she grew. The Hassidic judge Ruchie Freier has already become a role model in America. Neuberger is becoming one at this time. This is what she said recently in an interview about combining the home with a career: "We have learned to decide on our own what is good for our family, instead of listening to what other people think we should do. Usually, we do not have guests for Shabbat, so that the family can be together at the Shabbat table, but I enjoy going to shul and connecting with the community on Shabbatot. I realized that what I gave up on most of all, is time to hang out with my girlfriends, but on the other hand, I wasn't willing to give up on Chessed. I founded the Sister to Sister Organization, which assists divorced women. This is the kind of thing from which you receive more than you give."
She ran the cyber security during last election in America, she speaks openly about the need to deal with the Snowden affair, and she is involved with what's happening in Israel. Recently she joined the Board of Trustees of the Haredi Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research. About her being employed in such senior positions as an Orthodox person, she said: "I feel that every man and woman must use the talents and skills that HaKadosh Baruch Hu gave them. In Washington it was hard for them at first to get used to me. I remember that I had to tell my colleagues about Rosh HaShanah, and then about Yom Kippur, and when Succot came they said: What? Another Holiday? So soon? Until that point, I never had to explain my Judaism to anyone. With time, I learned one thing: if you are committed to your principles, people will respect you."


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