Ain’t No Mountain High Enough to Stop This Mitzvah Hero


A Philly resident climbs, bikes and hikes to raise money for the local Parkinson's Disease Foundation.

Mitzvah Hero: Climb every mountain? That is how Rachel Isenberg, 35, has reached the peak of what it means to become a Mitzvah Hero.

What It’s All About: There is nothing half-done about this Parkinson’s Disease Foundation activist and champion, evidenced by her climb to the top of the daunting Half Dome in Yosemite National Park this past summer. By doing so, she raised more $4,200 for the foundation, to go along with the thousands she has raised in the past six years with such feats as a climb of Mount Rainier (2008), Mount Kilimanjaro (2011) and Mount Whitney (2013).  

Not a One-Time Thing: Aside from climbing, the Fairmount resident keeps in shape as a professional tennis instructor. (She also works as a schoolteacher.) She repeatedly takes on athletic challenges on behalf of the Parkinson's Disease Foundation — including bike-a-thons and a half-marathon — to fete her mom, Dianne, who has Parkinson's; and her late grandfather, Jay, also afflicted with the disease.

“I enjoy challenges and pushing myself. And by doing it for such a cause, it makes it meaningful and personal,” says the master climber who earned her master’s in education at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Sense of Tzedakah: “Judaism teaches about giving back,” says the native Rhode Islander who moved to this area six years ago. “And I value the sense of community and values it has given me."

Isenberg says she's happy to be able to give back to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, a nonprofit that has been so helpful to her mom.

“It provides wonderful networking and resources," she says, "and I am just thrilled to do what I can to help build awareness about the disease and get people involved” in supporting the foundation.


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