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Rachel: What brought you to DC?
Alli: I’m originally from the New York metro area, and although I will always love “the city”, it was time to take on a new adventure come college. I chose to attend The George Washington University and loved having the entire city as my campus. I have been working for various organizations since I began college, including working as the Special Events and Public Programs Assistant at The National Archives, and as part of the Panim el Panim team at BBYO. I am very excited to be working as the Director of Operations at GW Hillel since graduating in May, and am loving every minute of young professional life in DC!
Rachel: What is your favorite thing about the DC Jewish community?
Alli: It is a community full of young professionals with amazing interests. There is no shortage of opportunities to volunteer, attend events, or just discuss views and opinions with others. The young DC Jewish community sees the problems in our world, and has the intellect, drive, and passion to make progress happen. And where better to do it all than our nation’s capitol?
Rachel: What is your favorite Jewish holiday?
Alli: Definitely Passover. I haven’t been able to get home to New York for the past few years for the holiday, but that has never stopped me from having a really festive holiday. My freshman year I made a Seder plate by printing out a kid’s coloring page and pasting it to a paper plate. My grandma sent a brisket and I reheated it in my microwave. My friends and I had a great time reading from a hagaddah I had printed out from the internet, sitting on pillows on my dorm room floor. E ver since, I have made a point of having a fun, festive seder open to anyone looking for a family for the night. It’s always a great time!
Rachel: What is your favorite Jewish food?
Alli: Nanny’s brisket is one of my faves- the secret is the Saucy Susan! I could also eat my weight in real Kosher pickles. The 3/4 sours at the pickle booth at Eastern Market are to die! And I could eat a bagel for any meal, as long as it’s from New York.
Rachel: Who is the coolest Jew?
Alli: I have two: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, first Jewish, second female Justice of the Supreme Court. And Adam Levine- great music, and even better to look at 🙂
Rachel: What is the coolest Jewish experience you have ever had?
Alli: Aside from going on Birthright, which was an unbelievable experience, I studied Jewish Studies abroad in Prague spring of my junior year. Our traveling seminar through Poland was absolutely amazing. We made a real point of interacting with local Jews in addition to our sightseeing. After visiting Auschwitz, we went to the Polish town of Osweicim, which is completely overlooked by tourists and scholars alike due to its number one tourist destination, the concentration camp. We got to meet with Polish and German students and hear about their impressions of modern day Jews and Judaism. In addition to their insight, they also explained that Osweicim is often seen as a town of death and despair, but the people who live there are trying to make their lives normal. That perspective was a really interesting one for me to hear and has colored my Holocaust studies indelibly. I also loved the Shoe Memorial on the bank of the Danube in Budapest, the unearthed secret synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of Barcelona, and my first shabbat in Prague at the unbelievably beautiful Spanish Synagogue, where we had shots of Slivovice, a classic Czech plum liquor, made by the rabbi’s grandmother, to make Kiddish.
Rachel: Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather…
Alli: …let the Jewish Geography games begin! “Where’d you go to camp?”