Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Forward 50 2015

Wendy Sherman

Israel and the American Jewish establishment fought furiously against the nuclear deal that Wendy Sherman forged with Iran as America’s key negotiator. But Sherman, ironically, credits the Jewish values she learned from her parents for her determination to push through during two years of grueling multilateral talks. They are, she says, the same values that inspired her earlier work as a community organizer and a political activist.

“Social action has been a way of life, a gift from my parents,” she told Reform Judaism’s Religious Action Center in Washington last April. “And social action means not being afraid, or if you are, to move ahead anyway, if it’s the right thing to do.”

For Sherman, 66, this meant taking inspiration from her father’s decision to racially integrate his Baltimore area real estate firm and publicly advertise its support for open housing in 1960, when such policies were unheard of.

From that background, the young Sherman moved into social work, striving to help battered women and the urban poor. Later came a stint as director of EMILY’S List, the political action committee that supports pro-choice, female Democratic candidates. But most important for her future work was her time as chief of staff to then-representative Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, an outspoken liberal Democrat whose successful campaign for U.S. Senate she also managed.

Currently teaching this semester at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Sherman won’t say what else lies in her future, though she is close to Clinton

“I am not someone who ever had a five-year plan,” she has said of her impressive career to date.

Engage

  • Events

    Haart to Haart

    Virtual

    Dec 7, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    A conversation with Julia Haart and her son Shlomo, stars of Netflix's 'My Unorthodox Life,' about the new season and much more.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.