Sally Weinraub ’71

Sally Weinraub ‘71

Written by Nataly Cifuentes ’16

SallyWeinraub_portrait

Sally Weinraub

After graduating first in her class at Manhattanville, non-traditional student Sally Weinraub attended law school, practiced law for over thirty years, and recently celebrated her 95th birthday with the publication of four mystery novels at once.

From a very early age, Sally was interested in writing, always working on poems, stories, and more. When she decided to make writing a career, she thought it would be interesting to learn about early English writing and acquaint herself with classical literature. That is when she turned to Manhattanville and began taking a few courses in English and Economics. She then realized that she was so far along with the classes she was taking that she should enroll in more courses and earn her degree.

Sally loved Manhattanville. She shared, “I loved its atmosphere. Although I was older than the girls in my class, I was able to make friends with them. I also really liked and respected the nuns. I was such a curious person that I always asked lots of questions in class, and my professors seemed to enjoy it. They were all very nice and encouraging.”

Because of her energetic personality, Sally’s husband encouraged her to continue her education after Manhattanville and urged her to go to law school, convinced that she would make a great lawyer. Sally began attending Brooklyn Law School. Although the first semester was challenging, she really enjoyed it and made some friends. At that time in the early-1970s, not many women were becoming lawyers, and in her class, there were only 14 women and about 100 men. Sally excelled in her classes and made the Law Review, where she published two articles and then became the captain of moot court, where students had the chance to practice simulated cases.

Working as an appellate lawyer, she developed her writing as she wrote numerous briefs for the appellate court. Before she graduated, she was an intern for a law firm where she impressed the head partner and was offered a job. After working there for a number of years, she finally opened her own practice.

After more than thirty years of practicing law, Sally retired and was able to focus more on her own writing. With encouragement from her family, she recently published four mystery novels, inspired by specific life experiences. The first book, In Six Weeks’ Time, tells a murder story taking place in Reno, Nevada. In those years, in order to get a divorce, a spouse would have to go to Nevada and stay for six weeks awaiting their divorce papers. When Sally divorced her first husband, she traveled to Reno and spent time in a lodge with other people going through the same process. Many of the details from the setting in her book are taken from this experience. “There is a lot of me in this book. Of course, there wasn’t any murder when I went there,” she shared with a chuckle.

When the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum opened up in New York, Sally was intrigued by it and went on board to visit several times. While she was there, she heard many stories from sailors she met, and these became the inspiration for her second book, Murder on the Intrepid. These stories were so fascinating to her that she felt she had to share them.

The murder in her third book, Death of a Goddess, takes place in a theater, since Sally has always been interested in theater and has friends who are actors. To write this book, she visited theaters and went backstage to get a feel for the acting world.

Her fourth and final book, Murder at the Mikvah, is inspired by traditions of a Jewish community in Brooklyn where she spent time living. A “Mikvah” is a ritual purification bath attended by brides before marriage and by orthodox Jewish women every month, and in this particular story, a murder occurs   just after a bride has attended her bath. The story also incorporates a sweney, which is a traditional Jewish celebration, practiced by the Sephardic community of Brooklyn. A sweney is hosted by the in-laws to welcome the bride into the family.

In real life, Sally’s family is one of her top priorities. She has four children, seven grandchildren and one great grandchild. As a very close family they often take family vacations. Each trip has been very meaningful to her seeing her family together, having a good time, and hearing lots of laughter. Sally will be celebrating her 60th anniversary with her husband this May.

Sally is now retired from the practice of law, but she still does some writing. She believes her career would not have developed as it did if it weren’t for Manhattanville. As advice to young women who would like to follow her steps, she offered, “Forget your age, and forget your gender. Just act as though you are you. Today, there are far more female lawyers than there used to be, and you will still face challenges, but trust yourself, and be confident. It was hard for me to get a job, even though I was in the top 10% of my graduating class, but when I did get a job, I did very well.”

 

 

For more information on Sally and her novels, please visit:  http://sallyweinraub.com/

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