Jackie: What brought you to DC?
Nathaniel: A job with the federal government. I had been working in New York for the state part-time during law school and then gratefully had this opportunity to take a federal job right after graduating! A lot of my extended family was already here, making the transition nice and smooth!
Jackie: What do you do at the Department of Labor?
Nate: I am an attorney there and enjoy the work that I do on behalf of the American people (which I’d rather not elaborate on here), but am also glad for a flexible schedule and leave so that I can also maintain an active volunteer life while off duty.
Jackie: I heard that you are very involved with the social justice organizations around town can you tell me more about that?
Nathaniel: I am very happy to do so! I am currently on the AJC ACCESS DC Board, where I am focusing on the interfaith, intergroup, and international relations work of the organization. I am also the co-chair of the American Jewish World Service DC Action Team, which is focused on trying to get the International Violence Against Women Act passed and in general focused on improving the condition of women, girls, and the LGBT community internationally. I have also been involved with Jews United for Justice (JUFJ) in several of their campaigns over the years, including the current focus on paid family leave. And I coordinate a tutoring program at the Central American Resource Center for aspiring U.S. citizens, inspired by my work with HIAS (formerly known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society). Additionally, I remain involved with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Entwine DC Planning Group and the Anti-Defamation League’s DC Young Professionals Division.
Jackie: What’s your favorite way to spend Shabbat?
Nathaniel: I am grateful to have a lot of family and friends in the area and do enjoy mixing it up every so often, but, by far, the Shabbat options at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue are my favorites. It’s truly a place where, the more you go, the more part of the community there you can feel.
Jackie: What is your favorite Jewish food and/or holiday?
Nathaniel: Passover is by far my favorite holiday, Jewish or otherwise. The structure of the Seder to teach us empathy, viewing ourselves as if we personally had been enslaved and then freed from bondage in Egypt, is a powerful tool in our heritage to remember in every generation. And I am glad to note that will be used this year in two social justice programs with which I am assisting leading up to Passover: The 14th annual Jews United for Justice Labor Seder at Adas Israel on March 22nd and the 1st annual AJC ACCESS DC Black-Jewish Seder at 6th & I on March 30.
Jackie: Who is your favorite Jew?
Nathaniel: That’s an easy one: Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. He approached his Judaic studies as a guidepost for social justice work and was extremely active in the American Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s. He is an inspiration to me and many others with his letter to Dr. Martin Luther King that, when he marched in Selma, he felt that his legs were praying.
Jackie: Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather…
Nathaniel: tremendous social change can happen!
If there is someone you would like to nominate for Jewish Girl/Guy of the Week email Jackie!