You’re a psychiatrist. What’s that like?
I went to med school because of curiosity about schizophrenia. It still interests me but I’ve branched out and now enjoy having a diverse practice. One especially satisfying part of my job is helping patients see themselves in a new and useful way. Clinical psychiatry is a job with lots of facets: some of it is based on relationships and some on hard science. I have a wonky bent so I like to keep up on the news in my field, and talk about it with others.
What do you want to accomplish this year?
I just moved to DC from Boston right before Sukkot, so a big goal this year is to develop my practice. During medical training the focus is mostly on patient care and public service, less so on the business of running a practice. So that’s a side of medicine I’m learning about. I’m also brushing up on my spoken Hebrew skills, hoping to take a long vacation in Israel. I’m really into history and politics, especially as it pertains to our people. It would be exciting to see first-hand the places described in Tanakh and later periods of Jewish history. I’d like to take a historical tour with an Israeli guide, and do some hiking.
What do you do after hours?
I’ve been playing guitar for a few years. Gary Lee Conner is one of my long-standing guitar heroes. I once made a pilgrimage to Ellensburg, WA, to see where his band formed! His playing is dirty, unschooled, and intuitive–something I aspire to. I also love biking on the trails around the city, reading history and fiction, and so on.
For one thing, I love to be in the woods. I like sleeping in a tent and listening to nature sounds. I did my psychiatric residency in Seattle which was paradise for someone who loves nature, although DC has a much livelier Jewish community, and that’s more important to me. I come from an assimilated Jewish background so I’ve been catching up on some stuff I missed out on as a kid. I started learning with a Chabad rabbi a while back and that has been eye-opening. Lately I’ve been reading the Artscroll Mishnah while I’m on the exercise bike. As an observant Jew with a scientific job, I wonder how our religion will adapt to innovations that move us further from our biology and natural habitat. Futuristic stuff aside, the state of Israel has been very important to me since my teens, so I stay active with political organizations that support my values in that regard.