Norton & Elaine Sarnoff Center for Jewish GeneticsNorton & Elaine Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics
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Abra Chusid

Abra Chusid

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For Abra Chusid, the show must always go on. When schools were canceled due to COVID-19 last spring, the high school drama teacher didn't want her students' joy to be canceled along with it.

So, under her leadership, the students shifted the one-act plays they'd been rehearsing to Zoom without missing a beat. "Theatre is all about flexibility and creative problem solving," says Abra, and the pandemic, she knew, would put those skills to the test.

Abra, who teaches drama to students of all abilities at Adlai Stevenson High School in the Northwest suburbs, loves to watch her students shine on stage. Passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion in arts education, she is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in that realm.

Her love of theatre and Judaism sometimes intersect, including at Mishkan Chicago where she has stage managed their High Holiday services and produced its Purim Schpiel two years running.

AGE:
35

PRIMARY GIG:
Theatre Teacher and Director at Adlai E. Stevenson High School

ON THE SIDE:
Aunt, traveler, nature enthusiast, improviser

RELATIONSHIP STATUS:
Single

GREW UP IN:
Oklahoma City and Buffalo Grove

HOW DO YOU GIVE BACK:
After college, I had the opportunity to do research in Singapore on a Fulbright Fellowship. It was there that I first experienced the power and potential of drama education as a cultural exchange and understanding.

A JEW WHO INSPIRES YOU:
My mom has faced more adversity than anyone I know, and still manages to spread love to everyone she meets.

YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE:
I live by the improv mantra, “Yes, and…” (And remember that sometimes saying “no” to someone else, is saying “Yes, and…” to yourself.)

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