As a part of GatherDC’s Jewish Person of the Week feature, we highlight one Jewish “newbie” each month. (Are you new? Do you know someone who is? Nominate them––or yourself––today by emailing Shaina!)
Meet this month’s Jewish Newbie of the Week, Benji!
Benji and I went to coffee in September right after we both graduated. (Want to grab coffee with Shaina to find out how to get more involved in DC Jewish life? Sign up!) Benji has lived internationally, loves to go camping, and is an Eagle Scout! Learn more about Benji in our interview with him below.
Shaina: When you were in college at the University of Southern California, you lived in Argentina for a semester. What was your favorite part about that time?
Benji: I lived in England when I was in second grade, so the novelty of living abroad wasn’t actually so novel… but getting to live somewhere where the spoken language is one that you’ve acquired is a fulfilling experience. I took all of my classes in Spanish, so I actually had a fairly rigorous course load while I was abroad. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating the World Cup victories that Argentina had (except for the last pesky game that they lost) and spent lots of time traveling through South America.
Shaina: I hear you love camping and the outdoors. Did you camp at all in college?
Benji: I joined USC’s outdoors club as soon as I got to college, and quickly became active in the outdoors community. I became a guide, led trips for underclassmen my Junior year, and ran the budgeting and accounts for the club my senior year too. California is a beautiful state to travel around, so much that in my last year of college I spent almost as many weekends in the deserts and the mountains as I did at school!
Shaina: Have you always been a fan of the outdoors and camping?
Benji: I started going into the outdoors with my dad and my brothers when I was a kid– at first on family trips but soon after through cub scouts and boy scouts. I spent summers in middle school and high school going to boy scout camps… culminating in the summer I spent working on a low ropes course and performing a nightly musical campfire at Philmont Scout Ranch in the New Mexico Rockies.
Shaina: What is your favorite part about DC?
Benji: I love that DC is a walkable city, even on hot summer days. I lived in Los Angeles for four years, which was a great experience… but I enjoy living somewhere that you can get around with public transit and walk to bars and restaurants.
Shaina: If you could choose any DC museum to get stuck in for a whole day, which would you choose?
Benji: I’m partial to the Newseum, but it’s definitely worth waiting to go when they have an interesting exhibit up. It’s painful paying to go to a museum in DC, but I still recommend it (but only once, maybe twice).
When the Jews of DC Gather… they play Hasbro’s latest version of Jewish Geography!
As a part of GatherDC’s Jewish Person of the Week feature, we are highlighting one Jewish “newbie” each month. Are you new and want to talk about getting more involved in Jewish life in DC? Sign up to grab coffee.