Jewish Guy of the Week – Ethan

Ethan Merlin 2Want to recommend an outstanding leader to be featured on GTJ? Nominate him/her at

Rachel: What brought you to DC?
Ethan: Let x = the reason I came to DC. I’ll spare you the algebra, but in short, x equals “to teach kids math,” which has always been my dream job. I’ve been teaching for 12 years now.

Rachel: We heard you founded two independent minyanim in DC- that’s so cool!. Can you tell us more?
Ethan: I didn’t set out to become a “minyantrepreneur,” but my wife and I have twice had the opportunity to help create Jewish communities we wanted to be a part of. You may want to be part of them, too: Tikkun Leil Shabbat is a fully egalitarian Friday night community which gathers in the Dupont area for a songful, soulful Shabbat service followed by a teaching about a social justice issue and an awesome veggie potluck. Minyan Segulah is a traditional egalitarian community in the Shepherd Park neighborhood that meets many Saturday mornings for songful services and veggie potluck lunch. Both are meeting for Purim this week. Click here and here for details!

Ethan Merlin & Herry Monster -- I'm the one on the left (1)Rachel: We heard you’re a muppets appreciator…what does that mean?
Ethan: The rumor is true. The Muppets are like the ultimate havurah: lots of crazy personalities but they look out for each other, make bad puns, and channel life’s chaos into some great song and dance numbers.

Rachel: What is your favorite Jewish food?
Ethan: I’m from New England and love maple syrup, so for the first year after our wedding, my wife and I dipped our challah in maple cream (whipped maple syrup) instead of the traditional honey.

Rachel: Who is the coolest Jew?
Ethan: My favorite Jew changes all the time. It’s whoever most recently did something to help sustain our grassroots Jewish communities, whether it was arriving on time, leading services, bringing a tasty potluck dish, or washing dishes.

Rachel: Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather…
Ethan: …the babka disappears.

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