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Rachel: What brought you to DC?
Molly: I have always loved DC- I think of it as my version of Disney World. I grew up in Gainesville, GA, a small town about an hour north of Atlanta. Being the only Jewish kid in my school, I spent a lot of time educating and explaining Judaism to my classmates and teachers. This mainly consisted of bringing in food on major holidays. After I graduated from the University of Georgia, I took an Education Fellowship with the Goldring/ Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. I spent two years traveling around the South, eating good food, meeting nice people, and helping small Jewish congregations with their programming and religious schools. We were based in Jackson, MS and while the small Jewish population (only 1500 in the whole state) was new to my cohort of Fellows, it was familiar and comforting to me. My work at the ISJL introduced me to the possibility of being a Jewish Educator and that led me to pursue my Masters in Jewish Education, which I’m finishing as I work at my current job at Washington Hebrew. I have only been in DC for a short time but I already know it is the perfect place for me. Good food and nice people seem to be what makes me feel at home in a new place, and there is A LOT of good food! And a lot of great people, of course.
Rachel: So you work at Washington Hebrew Congregation. What do you do?
Molly: I am the Lead Educator in our Religious School. I oversee the Kindergarten- 6th Grade programs, write curriculums, manage teachers, and connect with families. WHC is a large congregation and there are around 900 kids in our religious school. This is my first year and I am excited to get started! I have always worked with small congregations so it is very different to work with such a large school. We are a 3,000 family congregation, so it is like having all of the Jews in Mississippi under the same roof and then doubled and doubled again. The clergy and staff are incredible, so I am lucky to have the opportunity to learn from and work with them.
Rachel: Have you been to Israel? What was your favorite memory?
Molly: I have! I went on the UGA Hillel trip with a few of my good friends from college. We had an incredible time and I will never forget it. My favorite memory is actually from going to a mall in Tel Aviv. My friend Rachel lost all of her luggage and was living out of my suitcase and this small complementary bag from El Al. Our trip leader took us to the mall so that she could buy some sneakers and we had the best time. Of course ,I loved seeing the incredible history and being in Israel, but wondering around a mall and trying to speak Hebrew will always stand out in my mind.
Rachel: What is your favorite Jewish holiday?
Molly: Purim. I don’t think this is a particularly original answer, but I absolutely love Purim. I think it is because I also love Halloween. And carnivals. Any time I can dress up like Esther and have the opportunity to win a beta fish is a pretty great day in my book. The theme for the WHC carnival is going to be a luau/ surf party so I am practicing my hula hooping and ring tossing skills. And who doesn’t love it when Vashti walks out on the king? Props to Vashti.
Rachel: Who is the coolest Jew?
Molly: Emily Yoffe from Dear Prudence. And I am not just saying that because I heard her speak at Sixth & I recently. OK, she is on my mind, but she is super cool. I would definitely sit next to her at High Holiday services.
Rachel: Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather…
Molly: They must compare camp stories. I went to Camp Coleman, so I probably know your camp best friend’s big sister.