Aaron: What brought you to DC?
Wendy: When I was in the 8th grade, my class took a trip to Washington, DC and I became obsessed with the amount of American history and symbolism incorporated into the district, and decided that I had to live here at some point. Plus, where else was I going to go with a degree in International Relations!?
Aaron: We heard you did a gap year in Israel before college. What exactly did you do?
Wendy: After high school, I did Young Judaea’s gap year program, Year Course. I spent the first three months of the year in Jerusalem taking classes on Zionism, Judaism, and learning Hebrew. The next trimester, I lived in a youth village close to the town of Zichron Ya’akov with three other volunteers where I worked as a mentor and English tutor for students in 6-12th grades. The village also had a farm, where we built a replica of an Ethiopian village (made from bamboo and mud!). We got to spend a tonof time with the animals! Finally, the last part of the year was in the city of Bat Yam, just south of Tel Aviv, where I volunteered in a gan (kindergarden). I don’t care what anyone else says, but Israeli babies are the absolute cutest! In Bat Yam we also got to be close to the beach! Nothing compared to weekend hikes in the North, in the Negev, or down the Mediterranean coast and celebrating all the Jewish holidays with the entire country. Taking a year to do something different before college not only taught me about Israel, but it was also an incredible growing experience and extremely fun!
Aaron: What’s your favorite thing about the DC Jewish community?
Wendy: My favorite thing about the DC Jewish community is the amount of activity that goes on. There is rarely a week that passes without a happy hour, volunteer opportunity, Shabbat dinner, or other program that isinteresting and engaging. Not to mention, constantly meeting new people!
Aaron: What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?
Wendy: My favorite Jewish holiday is Rosh Hashannah. I love being with my family or being taken in by a family if I can’t make it back to Texas. It’s also a great chance for me to practice making my mom’s world famous apple cake recipe!
Aaron: Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather…
Wendy: The conversation goes as such: “Oh you went to (large state school)? Do you know (insert generic Jewish name here). We went to camp together!” … and the rest is history!