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Aaron: What brought you to DC?
Max: I am actually born and raised in Washington DC. I attended the Jewish Day School and briefly left to attend Syracuse University where I majored in Sport Management. I came back to Washington DC because its been my home for most of my life and I absolutely love it here. The people in this city are so diverse, but equally motivated to find success in their respective fields. It’s a very inspirational city!
Aaron: What is your favorite thing about the DC Jewish community?
Max: My favorite thing about the Washington DC Jewish Community is how easy it is for people to drop what they are doing and support each other. Whether it’s a happy hour, or a community service day, it seems like the Jewish Community always find a way to show up in large numbers to support the event. The sense of community is very real, which is hard to find in a large city like DC.
Aaron: What’s the last Jewish event you attended?
Max: The last event I attended was the December 25th Day of Service! This past Christmas, the Hebrew Home was looking for volunteers to fill in for their full-time staff so they could spend the holidays with their families. The turnout was truly unbelievable. It got to the point where they had to turn people away as the support was overwhelming. Understanding how fortunate we are and thinking about others needs before ours is the most important ideal I learned in the Jewish community and I am lucky to have experienced that so many times first-hand.
Aaron: We heard you’re a ConnectGens fellow for a non-profit you started. Tell us more about that.
Max: YES! So excited about this opportunity for me! When I was in college, I worked as an equipment manager for the football team. Every summer before training camp, I would throw boxes of equipment into the dumpster to make room for the incoming inventory that is sent from Nike before every season. A month prior to that, I had gone on a two-week African Safari with my family. I was able to smuggle 2 duffle bags full of soccer balls into Tanzania to distribute to an elementary school that was in dire need. After these two experiences, I started to notice the huge supply of used sports equipment all around me as well as the major need for sports equipment among underprivileged youth. To make a long story short, I started my nonprofit called “Leveling the Playing Field” during my senior year of college. We have done a few bar mitzvahs now and have a few donation bins located around Montgomery County. Most importantly, we have been able to put sports equipment in the hands of children who desperately want the ability to participate in sport. The ConnectGens fellowship is going to go a LONG LONG way to helping me achieve my goals with this venture and I am so excited to see how this will help grow my business.
Aaron: Who is the coolest Jew?
Max: That’s a tough one! Unfortunately Robert Griffin III is not Jewish so I am going to have to say the late Abe Pollin. Washington DC would not be what it is today if it weren’t for Abe’s unselfish desire to improve the city.
Aaron: Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather…
Max: When the Jews gather anything is possible. When the Jewish Community comes together to accomplish a common goal there is really nothing that can stop us. We have proven it time and time again through history and we continue to do it within our respective communities.