Jewish Girl of the Week – Leana

Tell us how you’re involved in Jewish life in DC.
The main way that I am involved is through Moishe House Montgomery County.  Moishe House MoCo is not only a great place to build community in the ways that are meaningful to me, but to also draw from the resources of the community around me through partnership with other organizations.  The events that we host, the work we do, and the direction we are taking the community are enriched through these collaborative partnerships.

Tell us about the Moishe House MoCo.
We are a pluralistic house working to build a Jewish community together with the young Jews in our area and beyond! As I said, we greatly value partnerships with local communities, and one of my favorite organizations to work with is AISH DC.  Devorah and Rabbi Shlomo Buxbaum are a young couple (in our age bracket!) with a great passion for young Jews. Many of our neighbors are members of the AISH congregation, and they are thrilled to have our house in their neighborhood. At shul this past Simchat Torah, a girl told me that every time she and her parents pass the house they make sure to note “That’s the Moishe House!” She then added that her new way of recognizing the house was by our ugly Succah in the front yard. Thanks, Abby.

We would love to partner with other Jewish organizations, so please feel free to contact

(Editor’s Note:  All DC Young Professional organizations — including Moishe House — are listed on our Organizations page.)

What is the coolest event that you have done thus far?
Well, obviously every event that I do is incredible. But if I had to choose, the event that was my favorite was a screening and discussion of a documentary called “Voices from El-Sayed” which takes a look at a Bedouin community in Israel’s Negev, where there is such a high instance of deafness. The film was of particular interest to me since I’m studying to be an American Sign Language interpreter at Gallaudet University, the only university for the Deaf in the world, and it is located in northeast DC. The event was a great opportunity to combine two of my biggest passions right now, the Deaf community and the Jewish community. It was incredibly touching to witness the idea sharing that was happening between the Deaf majority in the room and the Hearing non-signing minority (and it was good practice for interpreting!).

So you can sign?
True business.

What other languages do you know?
Yiddish was my first language, then English, then Hebrew, and now ASL! I’d sprinkle in a little Spanish, a little French, a little German, a little French Sign Language, and a little Israeli Sign Language…but then people would be under the impression that I can actually communicate in those languages…

When are you teaching Yiddish classes?
Hit me up, and I’ll hook you up!

Tell us about your most recent Shabbat.
This past Shabbat was an incredible bonding opportunity for me and two of my fellow Moishies. Joshua Einstein, a Moishe House brother from another mother from the Moishe House Hoboken, and Eran Sharon, our newest Moishe House MoCo resident, got up with me around 11am on Friday to start cooking. I took a look at my food and thought “This is NOT enough. Let’s go freezer diving.” So the boys pulled out everything in the freezer that looked like it could be turned into something and MacGyvered together some rice with hot dogs, some barbecue chicken, and what Einstein decided to call “beef in a blanket.” Einstein and Eran were in the trenches with me all day until finally we sat down to our meal around 9, and people stayed and drank and snacked and played board games with us until the wee hours of the morning. We ended up having a ton of leftovers, which I brought over to the folks at OccupyDC. Drawing on the worldwide network created by Moishe Houses around the world allowed Einstein to slip into our house and host an event as if it were his own Moishe House. Which, kind of, it is.  So come and hang out with us anytime.

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