2012 Double Chai in the Chi

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Samantha Margolis

Samantha Margolis

We love this quote from Lee Rosenberg, AIPAC chairman, who nominated Sam, who works as the organization’s Deputy Midwest Director: “She is the kind of person you would want to have a beer with, the kind of friend you would turn to for advice and the kind of professional you would seek information or guidance from.”

Sam not only plans to be a lifelong Jewish professional, but her Jewish engagement spills out into the rest of her life as well - she has studied Hebrew and taken classes to deepen her religious knowledge, spent a month in Israel and is involved in YLD and the ADL. Professionally, she has played an integral role in launching and continuing to run a Chicago young leadership program for AIPAC that has helped to recruit and groom an entire new generation of younger activists. In the broader community, Sam has overseen and supervised the efforts that have more than doubled AIPAC in size in the last five years in Chicago. She has been part of creating innovative programs, like a pro-Israel conference near O’Hare Airport that twice drew 1,600 people.

“In all the aspects of her life, Sam seeks to be the best: best friend, best daughter, best sister, best volunteer, best employee. Her warmth and laughter are infectious and she easily disarms even the most difficult people with her easy manner. She works very hard and long hours, but is not a workaholic. She seeks to keep an active and engaged social life and is tightly networked to a large group of young Jewish professionals in Chicago. She even helped to form and took part in an informal group of younger Jewish professionals across a variety of organizations who meet for networking purposes.” Rosenberg said.

Samantha Margolis


Pays the bills:
Midwest Deputy Director, AIPAC

On the side:
I’m spending time with family and friends, reading, going to the gym and maybe watching a bad reality TV show or two.

Relationship status:

Describe yourself in 10 words or less:
Grateful, loyal, passionate, down-to-earth, genuine, hard-working, spirited

Celebrity doppelganger:
Juliana Margulies (more the last name and curly hair than actually looking alike)

How do you Jew in Chicago?
Does going out on Hubbard Street count? I attend many Jewish events and am part of a Jewish professional peer mentoring group. I have participated in the Melton program and taken Hebrew lessons. Most of all, I feel blessed that I get to Jew in Chicago in my professional life.

Israel, family and friends...can going to the beach be a passion?

How do you give back?
I am lucky to work for an organization where I feel like I get to give back every day. I am also an Associate Board Member of the ADL. I am most excited about an upcoming trip to Poland with my family to sponsor a school in the town that my Grandfather is from where the students will learn about the Jewish history of their town and then teach what they learn to their community.

Fill in the blank: If time and money were limitless, I would:
buy a home in Israel, take classes on interesting topics but never take the tests or write papers, volunteer for organizations that I care about and travel around the world.

Chicago's Jewish community in 10 years:
With the unique mix of leadership, commitment, generosity and creativity combined with the warm and friendly Midwestern mentality, Chicago’s Jewish community will continue to be a model in regards to volunteering, fundraising, community participation, stellar programs and education.

Me in 10 years:
I will be spending time with my future husband and kids while balancing my job at AIPAC, planning a fun vacation with my parents and my brother’s family as I head out for dinner with my girlfriends after a meeting for the new committee I’m chairing.