Where are you from?
I am from France, where my whole family and most of my friends live, and have been living, for two years (in Nantes — small city in the West of France). I just arrived a couple of weeks ago to DC. (I used to say that I lived in Washington, but now I know that we have to say DC to sound like a real Washingtonian!).
What is Jewish life like in France?
If I’m not mistaken, the French Jewish community is the third largest one in the world. Especially in Paris, Jewish life is very energetic! In some smaller cities, like Nantes, Jews are less numerous, but we try to gather as often as possible. In my school for example, I was involved in a Jewish student organization (UEJF).
How many languages do you speak?
I speak French, I’m not too bad in Spanish, can read Hebrew, and I have been studying Chinese for two years.
What brought you to DC?
I’m studying in a business school (undergraduate), and as part of my academic program I am required to perform an internship abroad. So here I am, and for five months (until July), which gives me plenty of time to discover the city and all the wonderful people in DC.
What is your favorite Jewish holiday?
Purim definitely, and not just because it is topical! I really like this Jewish holiday because of its party atmosphere! We celebrate the story of the Jewish people’s survival when our absolute destruction was decreed! In the synagogues in France, maybe it’s the same here, we used to make noises to drown out the name of Haman, and then women throw candies from the first floor and everyone run to catch them, mainly the children, but not exclusively… 😉
If you could invite anyone over for Shabbat who would you invite?
Well, being here on my own is very exciting, but at the same time I cannot see my family and friends! So if I could invite any one of them, or even better everyone, it would be awesome!
Where is the one place you want to visit in DC, that you haven’t visited yet?
Hmmm… that’s a good one! I will not answer the White House, etc… I would like to discover the city with other young Washingtonians… Bars, museums, parks, nightclubs, theaters, parties.
Where can we find you on a Friday night?
At the GW student minyan in the basement of Hillel!
What is your favorite part about being Jewish?
Hospitality! Wherever you are in the world, you are sure to meet friendly people who will welcome you, and not to be alone on Friday night, especially when you’re a student. The warmth of the community is its main wealth.
Coming to DC is…?
A big dream for me! And I’m very enthusiastic to share my foreign experiences. Don’t hesitate to contact me! A bientôt peut etre. 😉
To get in touch with Michael, email firstname.lastname@example.org.