If you’ve been to Moishe House Bethesda, you’ve probably met Jill! She’s always smiling, ready to meet new people and is really excited to be featured as this week’s feature. Read more about her passion for community building, what it’s like being a resident of Moishe House, and her plans for the summer.
How long have you been in DC?
I relocated to DC about 3 years ago after I could no longer handle the commute from Baltimore to Bethesda – I needed more out of my day than commuting. Since moving to DC, I have fostered a love affair with the red line taking up residence in Cleveland Park, Woodley Park and now Bethesda. Surprisingly, living in Bethesda was the best choice I could have made towards living an active life daily – I barely use my car and metro issues rarely cross my radar. It is lovely.
How did you get involved with Moishe House?
My introduction to Moishe House started I’m sure the same way as many others – with a Shabbat meal. I didn’t know anyone at Moishe House and convinced my one Jewish friend in the area to go with me to this free Shabbat meal. I ended up sitting next to hysterical people and we spent the whole evening talking and laughing together. I left that Shabbat with the BEST opinion of Moishe House – and then didn’t return to another event for about a year.
Not what you expected to hear from a resident, I know, but scheduling and life get in the way sometimes – it happens. What did sit really well with me, and what I want people to take away from this story, is when I did return it was easy to integrate back into the community. Some organizations you feel weird when you disappear for a bit, but for Moishe House the door is open whenever it fits into your schedule, and that makes it a really accessible Jewish community to be a part of.
What is your favorite thing to do in DC?
There is no one favorite thing in DC, but I can share a few of my favorite things. I am so excited that summer has hit because my DC summer means 1 thing – paddleboarding on the Potomac!
I have recently discovered how easy it is to travel from Bethesda to Georgetown via the Capital Crescent Trail, so you can be sure most of my summer will be spent biking to Georgetown and hitting the water. For some indoor favorites, DC has some of my favorite dive bars. I will gladly challenge ANYONE to a competitive game of adult Jenga at Atomic Billiards ,and on Thursdays I like to attempt fame at Madam’s Organ Karaoke night. Finally, no true discussion of best things in DC would be complete without mentioning the culinary journey that is Union Market, one of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday afternoon, and a must for anyone visiting DC.
What does community building mean to you?
Community building for me means building meaningful connections. In my short time with Moishe House, my understanding of how to build those connections has evolved. I understand that it is not solely about planning events to get the biggest turnout. Rather, community building is about allowing community members to feel a sense of belonging and connection. Community building and being a community leader requires listening and flexibility as much as strong leadership.
What is the best part about living in Moishe House?
The best part about living in Moishe House are the opportunities. I am in a period of personal and professional growth right now, and I look at the Moishe House community (resident community, DC area community, US national community, the international community, etc.) as boundless opportunities to expand my professional and personal network, to expand my event marketing and community building skill set, to make an impact on the DC Jewish Community, and to foster amazing friendships.
Surprisingly, there are also massive opportunities to travel through Moishe House sponsored weekend retreats and the world wide network that the Moishe House community provides. Many of my housemates have taken advantage of the learning retreats offered by Moho. Personally, I was recently selected to attend the international resident conference in Barcelona this year. There I will get to meet, connect with, and learn from residents in the European Moishe Houses about how they build a strong Jewish community. Then, through Moishe House, I am able to come back to DC and focus on building a stronger connection to our international community. I’m so grateful and excited for this opportunity and can’t wait to return to the states and share what I learned with you all – definitely one of the best parts of being a Moishe House resident.
What is your favorite Jewish holiday?
Hands down – Passover. I love the food, family, and songs.
I hear you’re looking for a new resident. What does it look like to be a resident in a Moishe House?
It looks like growth and new opportunities. Being a Moishe House resident provides you with a new array of options that, if willing to maximize on, can open professional and personal doors for you and provide a platform for your own personal growth. On a month to month basis Moishe House involves planning meaningful events for you community, connecting to community members, leveraging skill sets and developing new skills to support your community and events. As the resident, you own what that means to you. It could be anything from attending every Jewish Young Professionals happy hour to meet and connect with new and established community members to picking up a weekly blog on life in Moishe House that would promote your community and passions. As a resident, you are in the driver’s seat for the community you build and the resident experience you will have.
Do you have any fun summer plans?
Travel. Travel. Travel. I am a marketing manager for a federal government contractor and summer is conference season, so I will be bouncing around the US attending various events, and tying them into fun travel when possible. I am currently trying to go hiking at the Grand Canyon with a conference in Anaheim; I’m really hoping I can make that work, as 3 days exploring the grand canyon would be life changing!
Complete the sentence: When Jews of DC Gather…we are either early or late, but rarely on time.