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Rachel: What brought you to DC?
Aaron: I grew up in the DMV, so I always intended to return to the area after college. I also work in politics, so a return to Washington was kind of a no-brainer. I went to school near Cleveland, which I loved, but I could only take so much frostbite. The East Coast homecoming has allowed my extremities time to thaw.
Rachel: Are you involved in any Jewish organizations in the DC area?
Aaron: Formally and informally, yes. I work with my synagogue (Adat Reyim) on various young adult programs from time to time, and I’ve served as a volunteer advisor for the youth group BBYO for about three years. Being able to get away from the chaos of Washington politics on the weekends to contribute to the development of our Jewish youth in a meaningful way is extraordinarily gratifying. Plus, I don’t have to wear a tie at BBYO events, which is nice.
Rachel: We hear you like to surf. How did you get into that?
Aaron: I get that question a lot, namely because it’s a pretty impractical hobby for someone living in DC. I actually started surfing my freshman year of college which is even more impractical, since as I mentioned earlier, I went to school in Ohio. Not a ton of waves to rip on in Lake Erie. Growing up, I always wanted to get into surfing. I wore Quiksilver and Billabong shirts, and I taped surfing pictures to the inside of my locker. I’d truly perfected the art of posing. Unfortunately, people were pretty quick to call me on it. My parents never liked the idea of me surfing – sharks, drowning, other Jewish mother driven rationales – but they gave in after I informed them that it seemed like a less risky venture than the snowboarding/skateboarding that they had permitted me to do since I was ten (breaking my femur snowboarding added legitimacy to this argument). My mother, to her credit, figured that I needed to get this whole surfing thing out of my system, and thought that signing me up for one surfing lesson in Florida would satisfy my pining for the sport. Despite being stung by 11 jellyfish during the one hour lesson, including stings by two Portuguese Man O’ War, I was immediately hooked and had no intention of stopping. I ordered a board from California the very next week, and it blossomed from there. During the summer, you can usually find me taking day trips to the Eastern Shore for some quality shred time.
Rachel: Who is the coolest Jew?
Aaron: Sacha Baron Cohen… Or Albert Einstein. They’ve both contributed so much.
Rachel: Where can we find you on a Friday night?
Aaron: It depends. Often, I’m supervising a BBYO event in Northern Virginia. Other times, I’m just hanging out with friends or getting into trouble in Dupont. And every now and then, when the stars align, you’ll find me making a cameo at Shul. I like to mix things up.
Rachel: Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather…
Aaron: … the world’s problems are solved. Or talked about extensively. Probably the latter.