Sarah Waxman in Los Angeles. Shot by Allie Pohl
Why did you start At The Well?
To be honest, it was a calling I couldn’t ignore any longer. At the core of it was my desire for a community where women could teach each other about our bodies, and share Judaism in a meaningful relevant way. So many of my friends are named for biblical women, but none of us had a sense of their actual stories. I felt like a spiritual person, but was expressing this connection through different lineages outside of Judaism, I was craving a way to return back to my Jewishness. Also many women, myself included, had/have no idea what it means to live in a cycling body, in large part because we’re still living with so much shame of being female and missing a huge amount of important information. And honestly though, I think there’s an emotional and mental health crisis in the US — ¼ adult American women are taking some kind of antidepressant medicine (that’s from Julie Holland’s amazing book Moody Bitches). Many of us are feeling lonely, isolated, and disconnected. I wanted to give women a space where we could connect to our bodies, our ancestors, and each other.
How did you go about starting it?
I put one foot in front of the other every single damn day. It is hard, really hard, but I just keep moving forward with passion and a shit ton of fire. I started by learning and studying about the female body and Jewish spirituality, then I began writing about what I was learning. It’s amazing what hard work and the internet can do. I believe in getting something out there and not letting perfectionism hold me back from trying. I think this philosophy has gotten me a long way.
What has been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur and how have you overcome it?
You have to be kind of crazy to be an entrepreneur. Every day you wake up and walk towards something only you see. People around you think you’re kinda nuts, but only because they don’t see what you can. You have to be committed. I have a bunch of quotes from badass women around my desk and etched in my mind. When I’m having a “moment,” I repeat their words to myself like a mantra. Here’s a lesson from a wild woman who flew around the globe:
"The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity."
What are some of the most interesting things you have learned about Judaism and a woman's cycle?
The very first commandment to the Jewish people as a people, like, the VERY FIRST thing that God tells them to do, is to mark and observe the moon.
What!? I never learned that tracking the moon was actually a Jewish practice. Not to mention the fact that tracking is directly connected to the way my body pulses through the month. I watch the moon cycle from dark to light, the very same moon all the Sarahs I’m named did in every past generation. I can’t tell you how important becoming a moon observer has been to my connection to myself and my spirituality. It’s a place of comfort, joy, and refuge for me.
I could nerd out on all the things I’m learning for days, but I’ll end with here for now. Follow us to keep learning all the interesting stuff we are; trust me, there’s a lot to uncover. I’m so grateful for my Jewish practice.
Who is your favorite woman in the Torah and why?
That’s an impossible question to answer! I’m named for Sarah, the original momma who opened her tent to all and founded the idea of one God. Sort of epic. I see myself in so many of these women’s stories, especially as I wax and wane through the year.
Buuuut, if you have to really know, Queen Esther is sort of my spirit animal. She’s the fire I keep with me everyday working on At The Well. She was just a normal person, but she was at the right place at the right time, with the right skills to step up for the Jewish people and make something big happen. This is how I see my role with At The Well. I am a normal person, and also the right person at the right time.
I also love that Esther is recognized as a heroine, but not for taking on masculine qualities. On the contrary, Esther is unapologetically feminine, sexy, and powerful. Because of her, we have one of the wildest parties humans could ever dream up. When I die, I want people to dress up, get drunk, dance till sweat hits their belly buttons, and unmask all the divine sides of themselves.
What do you like most about being a woman?
That every month my body goes through a journey mirrored by the seasons and in the moon. I love that my body tells me so clearly that there’s a time to party and time to go inward. The week before I start to bleed can be hard, but I learn so much about myself during that time. I get really clear about what’s important to me, and if I’m paying attention I can harness that power and transform myself into a huge force in the world.
Oh, and without thinking or any apps, my body will sync with every other woman around me. Talk about unity! Cycling together is pretty damn close to becoming one with my homegirls.
What is an ideal woman to you?
I don't know if she looks like anything in particular. But I love love love women who have a voice, and use it. You might not see her at the front of the podium, she might be in the back of the room welcoming people in. But I love it when she knows who she is, what her special powers are, and then shares those gifts with the world. Also, I love it when women can give me a really long, deep hug.
Who are you crushing on and why?
Besides the badass babes helping birth At The Well into the world? To be honest, I’m really crushing on them. I’m so proud of the work we’re doing, and the tenacity of our team. We’re coming from a place of love and support for each other, and in that way, we’re truly walking our walk. We start every meeting checking in with each other, making sure we witness the whole person. We start from there.