This past December, Rachel Vorwaller (Class of 2005) tied the knot in a ceremony at Chicago’s Theater on the Lake, just a couple miles south of Bernard Zell. Not only was Anshe Emet’s Rabbi Michael Siegel officiating, but Rachel’s maid of honor and several other members of her bridal party were fellow BZ classmates. Despite the nearly 15 years that had passed since graduating, the relationships she developed while in school have remained incredibly strong.
But it’s no surprise that those friendships continue to endure. While in fourth grade, doctors discovered a tumor on Rachel’s spine. Though she spent significant time at the hospital, the Bernard Zell community showed its strength and rallied around Rachel and her family, offering support and encouragement. Rachel made a complete recovery but the compassion of friends and family paired with the outstanding medical care she received, stuck with her.
Following graduation from Bernard Zell, Rachel went on to Francis Parker for High School and during that time also volunteered at Children’s Memorial Hospital and worked at Lincoln Park Dental Specialists. In 2009, following graduation, she moved to Durham, North Carolina to attend Duke University where she studied psychology, also earning a minor in chemistry and a certificate in global health. This educational foundation was complemented by an immersive eight-week service experience through the DukeEngage program where Rachel completed a global health project exploring maternal healthcare and water safety. The experience allowed her to work closely with children, a theme she repeated as a CityYear fellow working in an under-performing elementary school in Queens, New York in the year after college.
Taking her interest in healthcare and advocacy for children together, Rachel moved to pursue a career in pediatric dentistry and enrolled at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, ultimately graduating in the summer of 2018 and moving back home to Chicago shortly thereafter. Today, Rachel is completing her pediatric dental residency at UIC with plans to graduate this June.
Now back home in Chicago, and as a member of Anshe Emet Synagogue, Rachel is once again spending time around the synagogue and school campus, reminiscing on her favorite memories—including Shabbat lunch and the operetta—and reconnecting with some of her oldest friends. While her path has taken her from Chicago to North Carolina to New York, she’s thrilled to be back and excited to be embarking on new life phases, both personally and professionally.