Jewish Guy – Marcelo

Jewish Guy - Marcelo

I heard you’re from Puerto Rico, what do you miss (or not miss) most about it? And what’s the Jewish community like there?
There are certainly little things I miss about Puerto Rico, such as the old San Juan area, the FOOD, and the colors.  More importantly, I miss my family and friends!

I’m glad you are asking that question because a lot of people here in the States have no idea there’s a Jewish community in Puerto Rico.  And why would they?!  Here in the US, the Jewish community is certainly two things we are not in Puerto Rico: BIG and public.  There are around 3 synagogues in Puerto Rico and a Chabad Center. And although we have Ashkenazim, Sephardim (just like me!), and Mizrachim, the community consists of only approximately 2,000 families.  Acts of anti-semitism are rare in Puerto Rico, but they do happen, so the community certainly feels the need to keep its Jewish identity and traditions to itself.  I wish we were open about it though because I think at the end it just fuels feelings of ignorance and misunderstanding.

If you were on death row, what would your last meal be?
Without a doubt: mofongo!  Lots of meals in PR are plantain-based for the obvious reasons.  Mofongo is a oval-shaped meal made exclusively out of plantain, and then it’s filled with whatever you want, be it vegetables, chicken, etc.  Otherwise, I would settle for some bourekas.
 
Imagine you could hit up Adams Morgan with any biblical Jew, who would it be and why?
I think my Adams Morgan buddy would have to be Ruth, without a doubt! I would love to take her to a nice coffee place or even for falafels and ask her what’s her take on the conversion law in Israel.

If you had to describe your day as a traffic sign, what would it be and why?
I’m probably a “No stopping anytime” sign. I’m constantly thinking of alternative ways of doing something, and I love having different plans for anything, even when I go out with friends. That being said, the same goes for partying: “no stopping anytime”.

Did you watch the World Cup? If so, any thoughts you’d like to share?
I’m completely obsessed with anything between two countries. So to answer your question: of course I watched the World Cup.  I was very excited to see lots of Latin American teams make it to the group of 16, although we all know by now what happened at the end.  I hope to see Israel qualify for 2014, and I hope the US and lots of Latin American countries will do well.
 
I also have to say I just loved the way this World Cup served to portray South Africa. I actually lived in the Cape Town area for an internship program in 2002, and I just felt in love with the country.  It’s not the Rainbow Nation for nothing.
 
Where can you be found on a Friday night?
I love Shabbat services on Friday night and the DC area certainly has a significant amount of options.  I regularly attend the following: Sixth and I (because it’s extremely welcoming!), TLS (because it’s the Dupont area), Beit Mishpacha (a great minyan with a LGBT perspective), Adas Israel (because it’s near my place and my boyfriend’s 😉 and finally but certainly one of my favorites Magen David in White Flint (It makes me feel closer to home).

Jewish Guy – Eddie

Jewish Guy - Eddie

If you were the eighth dwarf, what would your name be and why?
Worldly. I love to travel and I enjoy exploring new places locally and internationally. My last trip was to Armenia which was amazing – it’s a beautiful country with an extremely rich history.

What do you miss most about California?
The beach and a good burrito. Overall, DC is a great place to live, but this oceanless city is lacking in the Mexican food department.

What’s the biggest misconception about lawyers?
Where do I even begin….Lawyers are often portrayed as greedy, sneaky, or self-serving. But the truth is that a vast majority of lawyers are individuals committed to the furtherance of justice. The lawyers I know joined the profession not only because it was a good career path but also because it is a way to help others and make a difference. 

What do you like most about being a member of the AJC?
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) is an extremely dynamic organization. Amongst other things, AJC promotes pluralism and works to create bridges of understanding between Jewish communities and other religious and ethnic communities in the United States and abroad. AJC has been a tireless advocate for the Jewish people and has been at the forefront of the fight against anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry and intolerance.

What is your favorite memory of Hanukkahs past?
Homemade latkes and jelly donuts. What’s better than deep fried potatoes and donuts? 

If you were in the “Mr. America” talent competition, what would your talent be?
I’ve got a few. I can easily jump onto a 54” box and do a standing front flip. I can put a whole chicken wing in my mouth and pull out only the bone. Oh, and I can also juggle three of almost anything you can hand me.

Jewish Guy – Moshe

Jewish Guy - Moshe

If you could have had the starring role in one film already made, which movie would you pick? (Would it maybe have your clone Freddie Prinze, Jr. in it?)
This is a tough question, but I would probably have to go with a childhood favorite. I would be Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s II.

You were just given a yacht. What would you name it?
I would name my yacht Kayser Soze.

What kind of hat describes your personality?
I’ve really only worn two types of hats throughout my life. First, I have worn sports caps and this reflects my love for sports. Second, I used to wear a Bucharian kippah to Jewish day school, and this reflects my pride and interest in my cultural background.

Challah french toast or regular french toast?
Neither. Even though my Mom is French, I have never liked any kind of french toast. My ideal breakfast would be croissant, Israeli salad, and feta cheese.

If you could go bowling with any three people Jewish people- dead or alive- Who would you take and why?
I would choose the following three people:
1 Viktor Frankl -Inspirational therapist and philosopher
2 Baba Sali-Miracle working Rabbi
3a Goldberg from the Mighty Ducks- I’d want to know if it was hard being the only Jewish player on the team.
3b Larry David-Funniest comedian and biggest schlemiel of our generation.

Are things really bigger in Texas?
Everything ranging from football stadiums to cities to people, things are usually bigger in Texas.

What do you like most about Shabbat dinner at 6th and I Historic synagogue?
My favorite things about Sixth and I Shabbat dinners are the people and atmosphere. It is a great way to meet young Jewish people that share a common bond-Shabbat dinner.  Plus, the Rabbis and food are
great as well.

Jewish Girl – Matilda

Jewish Girl - Matilda
(Jewish Girl of the Year Voting Page)

I heard you speak Spanish, what is your favorite phrase to say and why?
Mejor sola que mal acompañada. It means better alone than in bad company. I first heard the phrase from my aunt when I was 19 and whenever I am being asked for advice or personally dealing with people who make me feel bad, I just remember it and try to remove people who bring me down from my life. I use it so much I have even started translating it for my friends who don’t speak Spanish.

What is the coolest part about being in law school?
The bad law-school jokes. One would be surprised with how many dirty jokes/come-ons a law student can come up with using legal terms. I also really enjoy Law Revue which is an annual musical based on law school events and the legal profession. I end up laughing so hard I cry.

Finish this sentence:  As Jewish Girl of the Week I will change the world by…
Assuming I get a magic wand, I would like to tap people with my magic wand and have them break out in song, preferably happy songs. I think I like musicals a bit too much.

Who is the coolest living Jew?
Amanda Bynes. I think she is really funny and have been a fan since she was in Nickelodeon’s The Amanda Show. She also is my favorite because she got to be in the movie What a Girl Wants with my celebrity crush, Colin Firth.

What is your favorite Jewish Youtube video?
It is without a doubt the video of Gal Fridman and the entire stadium singing Hatikvah at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Israel’s first gold medal was made more significant by the anti-Semitic history of the Olympics. Every time I watch that video I get teary-eyed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9K-8vnXGW-o&feature=player_embedded

Where can we find you on a Friday night in DC?
After a pretty busy week, I’m either relaxing at home or going to services with Briana (also a JGOW), depending on what I find on GathertheJews.com. My new fave is Mesorah DC, thanks to Aaron’s suggestion 🙂 and I look forward to going more often.

Jewish Guy – Eric

Jewish Guy - Eric

What brought you to DC?
I came to DC to attend undergrad at GWU. Following graduation, I decided to stay here because DC is such a great place to live. There are so many unique areas of the town, each with their own character and charm.

Which Biblical character would you want to have dinner with and what would you serve?
Definitely David. For dinner I would serve Jewish pot roast of course!

What is your favorite outdoor activity in DC?
My favorite outdoor activity in DC would have to be playing golf right on the Potomac. It’s hard to beat hitting the links on the river while still being right in the city.

White fish or lox?
Lox hands down.

Tell us about your favorite Jewish memory.
Traveling to Israel on Birthright was my favorite Jewish memory. The trip helped to give me a greater understanding of Jewish culture and tradition while allowing me to visit one of the most remarkable and geographically diverse countries in the world.

Jewish Girl – Jill

Jewish Girl - Jill
(Jewish Girl of the Year Voting Page)

What flavor would your manna be?
There is only one thing I would want my manna to taste like and that is my Mother’s luxion kugal. I’m still not sure what exactly is in it, but it’s amazing and one of the reasons I love Rosh Hashanah.

What is your favorite Shabbat dish to make? And will you share the recipe with us?
I wouldn’t necessarily call my favorite thing to make for Shabbat a dish, but it is definitely a vital component of the meal. Every Friday for the past year I have made challah. The challah flavors vary from cinnamon raisin to chocolate chip, milk dud, or the crowd pleaser, rollo challah. I use the same basic recipe and just add whatever I want to it. It’s so much fun to play with food. I will definitely share my recipe, (along with the kugal) and everyone can view it when I start a blog on GTJ about Shabbat meals and cooking in general.

What song is stuck in your head right now?
Recently, I’ve been listening to a mix my friend gave me and “My Boo-Usher featuring Alicia Keys” has been stuck in my head ever since. I haven’t heard the song since high school … so good!

List your three favorite places in DC:
1. Steps of the Lincoln memorial. It’s the best feeling finishing up a run and sitting at the top of the steps looking out onto the Reflecting Pool, Washington Monument, and the Capital. Every time I’m there I realize how lucky I am to live in such a wonderful city that offers so much.

2. Sitting by the fountains in Dupont Circle. I have yet to find a better people watching area. Going there with friends after a nice Shabbos meal at the Dupont Chabad is the perfect lazy afternoon activity. I have had such funny, random experiences there, and you never know whom you’ll run into. Plus the park is full of dogs.

3. Mr. Smith’s in Georgetown. It’s a fun chill bar to go and hang out with friends. You can talk and get to know people while singing along to classic songs. It was also one of the stops when I turned 21, and it wasn’t so bad when everyone there sang happy birthday to me!

If you could meet any biblical character, who would it be, and what would you say to him/her?
I would want to meet G-D. I would thank him for surrounding me with amazing family and friends and I would also thank him for all the life changing experiences I’ve had so far.

Jewish Girl – Philippa

Jewish Girl - Philippa
(Jewish Girl of the Year Voting Page)

Interesting name, how did you get it?
My father is South African, my name is a a fairly common name in South Africa and my parents wanted something classic. Also, I am named after my grandfather, since his name was Philip. I do love to ride horses though, which is true to my name.

Since you moved here not too long ago from South Africa, what do you miss most about it?
Wine, noise and chaos, five roses tea (I’m a big tea drinker), family, and the Jewish guys in pink glittery shirts.

Umm, could you expand on the Jewish guys in pink glittery shirts?
Well, the Jewish men in South Africa are slightly more feminine than the ones in the US.
This specific type of man is usually called a bagel, and the South African equivalent of a JAP is called a Kugel.

If you could go on a roadtrip with any Jew (dead or alive), who would you chose and where would you go?
Hmm, not Amy Winehouse. I’d chose my sister because we’ve always tried to be Thelma and Louise, so we love road trippin. We’ll be good going anywhere as long as we don’t kill each other (because that’s what happened to Thelma and Louise).

What’s your favorite metro station and why?
Anyone where the escalator works

What’s your best memory of Hebrew summer camp?
So, first I should say Hebrew summer camp in South Africa is different than it is here. After a 25 hour train ride (from Johannesburg to Hermanus), we had to de-weed the camp site and then set up a tent. We also had to shower in cold water with garbage bags as shower curtains!

Hey, haven’t I seen you somewhere before? Like on some other cool website or something?
Oh… you mean here:
http://philippalevenberg.com/

Jewish Guy – Adam

Jewish Guy - Adam

So, I heard you just moved from Boston to DC (good choice!), tell us what’s better about DC.
Hot Jewish girls! (one in particular…) That definitely trumps the Sam Adam’s Brewery.

What’s the funniest thing that happened at the last wedding you went to?
It was before the wedding actually, when the sister of the groom got him a “How to Control Your Woman” gag gift.

Do you have any hidden talents?
I can make a mean Kosher hot dog!

What do you miss most about being a kid?
Legos are important…and setting fire to the carpet…and getting the recipe for gunpowder from my Grandpa.

What’s your favorite Jewish holiday and why?
Pesach, because it’s the biggest Jewish family holiday of the year. Everyone is together. It’s like the Jewish Christmas… only not.

What’s the best costume you’ve ever worn for Purim?
Let’s just say I put to use the Ghostbuster Proton Pack I got for Hanukkah one year!

Jewish Girl – Briana

Jewish Girl - Briana

(Jewish Girl of the Year Voting Page)

What does it mean to be Jewish Girl of the Week?
Fame and worship by all Jews throughout the district and beyond.

Where did you get the killer matzah ball recipe?
Not long after I became a vegetarian (pescetarian) at the age of 10, my aunt made a vegetarian matzah ball soup with tons of crazy root veggies in it.  I have been using her recipee ever since because I love vegetables.

What did your mother tell you when you became Jewish Girl of the Week?
Mom to JGotW: Oh, that’s nice, mazeltov. Are you are seeing someone? You are doing all this stuff but are you getting your school work done?

Which holiday is better, Purim or Passover?
Passover.  I live only to feed people.  And for the guilt when I forget and eat some forbidden hamitz.

What are you doing this summer?
Transfering my crown to the next Queen of the Jewz of my law school, which is a lengthy process.  One year as supreme monarch has been very tiring.

What’s your favorite Hebrew song?
Wow that’s tough, I have so many favorites.  On the religious side, I go for Kol Nidre, Max Bruch’s cello version.  Contemporary Israeli would just have to be anything by Hadag Nachash.

Mitzvah Maker – Jay Krasnow

Mitzvah Maker - Jay Krasnow

What is great about Hugs Across America?
Giving a teddy bear to a child may seem to be a small gesture. But for many of these same children, a hug is out of reach.  The feel of embacing something is important as these children begin their process of recovering from that crisis.  It makes a real difference to them. So Hugs Across America is great because it provides a way to do that.

Who have you hugged?
As a national charity, with chapters across the United States,  Hugs Across America has provided over 410,000 teddy bears to victims in traumatic circumstances. So we’ve provided hugs by responding to the survivors of house fires, police and medical emergencies, domestic violence and natural disasters. Locally, we’ve hugged children suffering from cancer and other illnesses and relatives of homocide victims. We’ve also given hugs to children at an orphanage in Cuzco, Peru.

What was your most memorable hug?
I remember a little girl at Georgetown University’s Hospital’s Pediatric Oncology department several years ago.  When the team arrived at her room I could tell she wasn’t haven’t a good day.  But then the nurse gave her a teddy bear and she was all smiles. That was powerful.

Who haven’t you hugged yet that you really want to hug?
As part of a film project I’m working on, I’ve partnered with Life Pieces to Master Pieces, a charity that works with young, underserved African American males living in our nations capital. To date, LPMP has served over 750 young males and create over 1,000 masterpieces as part of their quest to transform the community. I’d really like to hug them.  You can learn more about the amazing work that LPMP does on at http://www.artomaticvoyage.com/press

What was the name of your teddy bear when you were a kid?
I don’t think I had a name for it. My favorite teddy bear is one that I got as a gift from a friend when I was a senior in high school.  Shortly thereafter, my nine-year-old cousin Melissa asked if she could have it, so I gave it to her. I recently asked Melissa, now in her 20’s, about the stuffed anmial.  Melissa told me that she still has it and that she took it with her to her dorm when she was in college. But she also said that she didn’t have a name for the teddy bear either.

How can we learn more about Hugs Across America?
You can visit the Hugs Across America Website at www.hugsacrossamerica.net. The link for the Washington Chapter of Hugs Across America is http://www.hugsacrossamerica.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=127:hugs-futurearts-chapter&catid=34:washington-dc&Itemid=195. We’ve had all sorts of events to “raise” teddy bears.  Last year we did a networking event for entrepreneurs. We’ve also had happy hours. Last year we had a teddy bear stuffing and tagging party that also raised money for Hugs Across America.

What other projects are you working on?
I’m directing and producing a film about Artomatic, a popular arts expo that’s held annually in Washington, D.C. Over 1,000 artists take over a large vacant commercial real estate buildings for a month to show their works. The event is free to the public and has been wildly successful. Over 70,000 people attended Artomatic in 2009 and several artists have really made it big, in part, because of their participation in this event. Owing to the big draw of the Artomatic, the vacant buildings that house the event often find tenents shortly after the Artomatic ends.  The idea is catching on. A spin-off Artomatic was recently held in Toledo, Ohio, and other one is being planned in Houston, Texas. I’m an alumni of Artomatic myself.  You can learn more about my film on Artomatic, Journey to the Center of Artomatic, at www.artomaticvoyage.com

What was your Artomatic exhibit?
I had several, but my favorite one was a photographic exhibit with teddy bears as Hercules and recounted the twelve labors of Hercules. I called the exhibit “The 12 Labears of Bearcules.”  The exhibit promoted the work of Hugs Across America.