This week, I was lucky enough to have interviewed Michele! I’ve met her a few times all around DC at different Jewish events. I learned all about her passion for Judaism, her radio show, and her love of writing. Learn more about the Jewish Writer of the Week, Michele, in our interview below.
Jackie: Can you tell us about the radio show you DJ?
Michele: Well, me and my co-DJ, The Secret of Mana, play a mix of Israeli, Klezmer, Arabic, and Iranian hip hop. We play anything from Balkan Beat Box to Tupac on Takoma Radio 94.3, which you can hear in the DC area or stream online.
Jackie: How did you get involved in the Jewish community in DC?
Michele: My cousin Renee Peres used to be the chef for Sixth & I. She told me about all the amazing 20 something events there. Almost every month, I go to Good Soul Shabbat. There are so many great events hosted by Sixth & I, Moishe House, GatherDC, and ShinDC! It makes it easy to get involved since there are so many events to attend.
Jackie: Where is your favorite place to spend time in DC?
Michele: Busboys & Poets, especially the one in Takoma Park DC, since the area has such a great vibe. They have such great mimosas and play a nice mix of soul and hip-hop. I was so excited a few months ago the poet Sonia Sanchez was there for brunch and I got the opportunity to read her one of my poems.
Jackie: I hear you’re also a writer. What inspired you to become one?
Michele: My Bubbie and Zaide were Holocaust survivors; they really inspired me to become a journalist and record Jewish history. This drove me to go into journalism, and I love writing about Jewish life in DC for the Washington Jewish Week.
Jackie: What is your favorite article you have written?
Michele: While this wasn’t for the Washington Jewish Week, I covered an Afro-Punk music festival for a Baltimore-based hip-hop magazine. I had an opportunity to interview Wale, which was very exciting for me. He’s one of my favorite MCs!
Jackie: What else do you like to do for fun?
Michele: Israeli dancing is my favorite workout. I’ve been doing Israeli dance with my mom since I was young. To me, it is the new Zumba. I also love going to ShinDC events, and I’m very excited that I will be making the mimosas for their mimouna event, which is a Moroccan holiday to celebrate the end of Passover.
Jackie: Can you recommend places where people in DC can try out Israeli dancing?
Michele: RikudDC, an Israeli dance group at the Edlavitch Jewish Community Center, is where I usually end up going. They play Israeli music as well as a selection of hip hop music, which makes it more dynamic and fun.
Jackie: What is your favorite Jewish Holiday?
Michele: Tu Bishvat is my favorite Jewish holiday. I am a raw fruitarian vegan, and I love that this holiday has roots in secular Zionism and the kibbutz movement. This diet helps me connect to the earth through fruits that are seen as Israeli. To me, Tu Bishvat is an intersection of Judaism and veganism.
Finish the sentence: When the Jews Gather… we drink wine and do the hora!