It has been a while but we are back with Gather’s weekly feature. We will continue to highlight the diverse and accomplished members of our community, only with a new name! Check out our post on the change and meet Tiffany -a community builder locally and abroad!
Jackie: Before moving to DC you lived in Israel, what was your favorite place to spend time in Israel?
Tiffany: Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, swimming without a wetsuit was always a traumatic. The ocean water was always dark, freezing, and full of seaweed. When I lived in Tel Aviv, I took full advantage of the 8.7 mile stretch of beautiful beaches. I lived in the city center, just two blocks away from Bograshov beach, so I would surf or swim in the mornings before class or work.
Jackie: Where were you stationed for the Peace Corps and what do you do for them now?
Tiffany: I spent 27 months as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. I lived in a tiny village of about 200 people on the Anti-Atlas Mountains near the border of the Western Sahara. I learned to speak Berber (Tashleheet) and Moroccan Arabic. As a Rural Community Health Volunteer, I started out teaching handwashing lessons. I worked on a few different projects, but my proudest moments were during my midwife training programs, a mobile vaccination campaign, HIV/AIDS prevention and education, and building latrines in my village. I am currently working as the Placement Specialist for Peace Corps’ Senegal and Sierra Leone Programs, so now I work with applicants and invitees as they embark on the same journey I took 5 years ago. It’s incredibly meaningful and rewarding.
Tiffany: They should all be on the calendar, since they’re all amazing (biased) 😉 On 8/9/2015 we have our August Picnic at Malcolm X/Meridian Hill Park. The picnics are one of my favorite events that we do. We buy a bunch of food, bring tons of sheets/blankets, and games, and basically vege out with our community members. There’s always a great turn out, and we meet a lot of new people throughout the event. I am also excited for the 8/15/2015Havdallah Ride with Lisa Kaneff, another Open Doors Fellow. These rides are so fun. It’s a critical mass style ride, open to all levels. Even people who don’t bike come for Havdallah and the post ride happy hour.
Jackie: As part on the Open Doors Fellowship you created the Website You Don’t Look Jewish.com can you talk about what motivated you to create that website and what you hope people will get from it?
Tiffany: I was so honored to be a member of the first cohort of Fellows in Gather the Jews Open Doors Fellowship. Getting to know Jackie, Rachel and the other Fellows was a real treat. The experience of the fellowship helped me discover not just the special nuances in our community, but also some of the needs and shortcomings. I felt very disturbed by the recent coverage of the various Police Shootings and Brutality. I thought about the ways in which African Americans and other out groups are disenfranchised and although, I had never really addressed racial macroaggressions publically, or the way they affect me personally, I wanted to address the subconscious attitudes that our community (the Jewish Community) sometimes holds toward out-groups, specifically diverse Jews. For instance, when one imagines a Jewish person, we think of someone akin to Woody Alan; and a religious Jew? Black hat, beard, and, most importantly: white as a sheet. Simply put: Jews are stereotyped. But we all know that Jews come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and orientations. So I wanted to create a space where people can see and interact with Jews of color, or people of color in general. I want our community to be able see diverse Jews and to attend our events because when you see and know Jews of color you can begin building the kinds of relationships that cause you to see the whole person that goes against the stereotypes.
Jackie: Who is your favorite Jew?
Tiffany: I have too many to choose just one. Honorable mentions to David Cygielman and Jordan Fruchtman, the visionary masterminds behind Moishe House and my mom, of course! Ambassador Uri Savir, is my dear friend and mentor. He was the Chief Negotiator of the Oslo Accords. He served in the Knesset, he founded the Glocal Forum, he is the president of the Peres Center for Peace, and he is the founder of Yala Young Leaders. I have an incredible amount of respect for Uri because he driven, incredibly intelligent, and a rebel. He spent his professional life on the frontline of development and peacemaking in Israel.
Tiffany: I love hosting Shabbat Dinners at Moishe House. After the time spent planning, shopping, cooking, and preparing, our community members arrive excited for the weekend, ready to let loose and stay late. Our dinners go well into the early morning hours. I love the company and the conversations people bring.
Jackie: Finish the sentence: When the Jews Gather…
Tiffany: the Mesiba (Party) begins!