Dr. Sarah Jane Elpern of Fairfax, Va., died on Nov. 23, 2023, at the age of 77. Dr. Elpern died unexpectedly while in rehabilitation, after successful treatment in the prior year for multiple medical conditions, including breast cancer. Dr. Elpern earned a bachelor’s degree from Temple University, a master’s degree in political science from University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in psychology from The George Washington University.
Following graduation from Penn, she was an analyst in the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress where she used her Russian language and political science skills on behalf of a major U.S. intelligence agency. Following receipt of her Ph.D., she worked at the Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute.
After a couple of years, she began to practice privately in the DMV area as a clinical neuropsychologist, performing therapy, testing and providing forensic services. Her criminal and civil forensic work was done for over three decades and included activity as an expert independent evaluator for the involuntary psychiatric hospitalization process in Fairfax County, Va.
Dr. Elpern was one of early elected Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners in Washington, D.C., serving in Chevy Chase. She was active in Hadassah, serving as a co-president of the Norther Virginia Chapter and then as co-president of the Greater Washington Region.
In 1995, she received the President’s Award at Congregation Olam Tikvah in Fairfax, Va. As attested to by stories from many friends and work associates, she helped to improve many lives professionally and personally. She and her husband of 49 years and 8 months, Bruce Waxman, met in 1971 at The Fabrangen, a Jewish counter cultural organization in DC. They enjoyed overseas travel, including visiting all seven continents.
She is survived by her husband Bruce, her two children, Jordan Waxman (Adee Telem) and Leila Elpern-Waxman and two grandchildren, Aviv Waxman and Tal Waxman. Donations in her memory can be sent to Hadassah of Greater Washington, 11900 Parklawn Drive, Suite 350, Rockville, Md. 20852.