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Rachel: What brought you to DC?
Leah: I moved to to the area just over two years ago from Charlotte, NC to take a new job with Lansdowne Resort–it involved two promotions so it was too good to turn down.
Rachel: So you’re from Alabama. How many Jews are there in Alabama?
Leah: How many Jews in Alabama?…I honestly have no clue, but I know for sure there weren’t many as I was growing up. I was one of only two in my graduating class. Being a Jew in Alabama was tough, especially having moved there from Canada–talk about a huge culture shock; I was teased quite a bit.
Rachel: As a chef, what is your favorite food to make?
Leah: I spend a lot of time making food into art, so when I’m home nothing beats simplicity and comfort food…I LOVE a good homemade macaroni and cheese, but I do snazz it up a little by using at least three cheeses and spiking it with salsa and a bit of cayenne. (Rachel: mmmmmm…)
Rachel: We heard you’re on the 2239 Steering Committee. Could you tell us more about that?
Leah: Sitting on the steering committee for 2239 has been an incredible honor and such a joy! I get to connect with so many young adult jewish professionals from all over. 2239 is really what got me involved in the Jewish community in DC, long before becoming a part of the steering committee…the group and all of it’s “members” welcomed me with open arms when I first moved here not knowing anyone, and now I have the opportunity to do the same for so many young adults looking for a community that they too can be a part of; being “the new girl” is a scary thing, 2239 makes it so much more fun and relaxing!
Rachel: What’s your favorite way to spend Shabbat?
Leah: Honestly, I work on most shabbats (that’s the bad Jew in me); Friday nights are the busiest in the food service industry. When I’m not at work preparing for the next big Jewish wedding, I like to Skype with my mom to light candles with her (doesn’t happen as often as I would like) and, once a month, I very much look forward to attending Metro Minyan.
Rachel: What is your favorite Jewish food?
Leah: I can’t pick just one Jewish food! My mom’s brisket that she would make for seders is out of this world, I love a good matza ball soup, potato latkes with applesauce and sour cream, and, wait for it…gefilte fish, but not with that nasty jelly stuff on it, I scrape that off!
Rachel: Who is the coolest Jew?
Leah: The coolest Jew to me has to be my big brother…The Bear Jew–it’s funny how most Jewish American Military men are automatically dubbed Bear Jew. Anyway, it was fun watching him incorporate Judaism into his military school career and to see him continue to do so throughout his active duty career is even more amazing to me.
Rachel: Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather…
Leah: When the Jews gather, all bets are off while trouble brews.