Jewish Girl – Tila

Jewish Girl - Tila

How will you change the world as Jewish Girl of the Week?
I’m not sure how I can change the world as Jewish Girl of the Week, but I would definitely know how to change the world as Jewish Girl of the Year… hint hint

Who makes the best matzah ball soup?
My mom!!! She is an amazing cook.

Which biblical character are you most like?
Maybe Esther… Because like her, I believe that a strong Jewish community is very important.

What is your favorite Jewish holiday?
My favorite Jewish holiday is Shabbat because it occurs every week! I love the feeling of being able to just relax with friends and family and not have to think about the stresses of the week.

Who is the coolest living Jew (besides the GTJ staff)?
Other than the GTJ staff, I would have to say Natalie Portman.

Where can we find you on a Friday night?
On a Friday night, you can find me either at Chabad or 6th and I.

Jewish Girl – Rachel

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

Should challah have raisins?
Never! Except for that holiday where it is supposed to have rasins in it. It’s all about tradition, right?

Smooth or Chunky Peanut Butter?

Favorite dish your mom/grandmother makes.
My grandmother’s Matzoh Ball soup. She passed away a few years ago and I still dream of the soup that I will never have again. My mother was denied the recipe and although she has put an enormous effort into duplicating it, recreating that magical concoction still eludes her.

Jewish superhero by night, what by day?
A scratching post for my children.

Where could we find you on a friday night?
6th and I probably, with the creators of this site.

What’s the longest drive you’ve ever taken?
A three day road trip through Central Australia’s Northern Territory from Cairns to Alice Springs. Imagine nothing for three days but the occasional farm that spans hundreds of miles and some random Dingos and kangaroos. But camping out at Uluru and feeding a kangaroo named Mary some beer in a coffee cup made it totally worth it. Never have I wanted to take a kangaroo back on a plane to America with me so badly

Jewish Guy – Yaacov

Jewish Guy - Yaacov

What was your nickname when you were little?

What’s your favorite Passover candy?
Is this a trick question?

Where can we find you on a Friday night?
Usually enjoying the spiritual blessings of every soul-loving bite of the Kabbalah Cook’s food (trademark , JK) and the company of my fellow young DC Jews. If that option is not available, I now peruse for contingency plans. Thank you, gents.

What is the best thing you have done on a Sunday morning?
Stop and ponder the meaning of “Sunday morning.” I am a slave to my perceptions of reality including time and space and wonder what else, if at all, is out there. As far as something I can put on the ol’ resume, I would have to say running any of my four half marathons.

Where in the world is the most beautiful sunset?
That’s easy. Jerusalem in the Yemin Moshe/Mishkanot Ha’ananim neighborhood overlooking the Old City. Nothing will ever beat that.

What is your favorite Bond Movie?
Casino Royale… Daniel Craig rocks as Blonde Bond

Jewish Girl – Yael and Jane

Jane and Yael(Jewish Girl of the Year Voting Page)

Jane and Yael on why they should be Jewish Girl(s) of the Year?
“You should vote for the Frozen Chosen because it’s about time Alaska was known for something else in the DC area. We’re committed to spreading our Jewish spirit all across the U.S., from the far west to the east. Besides, how do you pass up a 2 for 1 deal?”

How did you convince GTJ to have 2 Girls of the Week at once?!
Jane: I think they were trying to prove to the D.C. Community that there is more than 1 Jew in the State of Alaska.
Yael: I think it was a couple of convincing shayna punims.

I thought that the only things in Alaska were Eskimos and Sarah Palin, there are Jews too?!
Yael: And a great view of Russia! Actually, there is a strong Jewish community in Anchorage, I’ve heard us called Jewskimos.
Jane: I prefer the term ”Frozen Chosen”… and yes we sell t-shirts that say that too. They are available for purchase online.

What do you miss most from Alaska?
Yael: Mountains, Midnight sun, Moose’s tooth pizza
Jane: Being able to drink water from the tap, Bar scene, Skiing, My family, and Fishing!!!
Yael: I’m glad you like to fish because I like to eat fish. Nothing beats wild Alaskan salmon, other than wild Alaskan salmon that Jane caught and smoked herself.
Jane: I can’t take all the credit for that salmon… it’s my dad’s recipe!

What is the best part of DC, besides Gather the Jews?
Jane: Having Jewish friends other than Yael
Yael: I grew up 3,000 miles from my nearest relative so its nice having extended family nearby.

Jane and YaelWhat is your favorite snowcone flavor?
Yael: Anything but yellow.
Jane: I feel like when you grow up in Alaska you learn not to eat snow of any kind… but you might not know that Alaska has the highest consumption of ice cream per capita out of any other state in the U.S., Matanuska Maid Dairy is the best!
Yael: Mmm, ice cream…who eats snowcones?

Since you guys are best friends and attached at the hip, in order to take one of you out for dinner does the other have to approve/join/or doesn’t matter?
Yael: I always approve of Jane’s choices.
Jane: Yael, I know that’s a lie, I don’t even approve of my own choices. And for anyone trying to take Yael out…. You do have to go through me.

What will you do now that this prestigious crowns have been bestowed upon you?
Yael: Go to Disneyworld.
Jane: I might just go get coffee or something….Yael? Want to come?
Yael: Of course 🙂

BTW in the first photo, their hands are the maps of Alaska.

Jewish Guy – Ilya Shapiro

Jewish Guy - Ilya shapiro

Ilya on why he should you be Jewish Guy of the Year:
Vote for me because I was one of the first Guys-of-the-Week (when there was more competition for these slots) and the year only got better.  Whether arguing for liberty at the Supreme Court, reciting the Braveheart speech in full makeup, or going mano-a-mano with Stepehen Colbert, there’s never a dull moment!

Who is your favorite historical Jew and why?
Barry Goldwater, because extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.  Sandy Koufax is a close second, but he’s still alive so might not count.
Who is your favorite biblical Jew and why?
I’m not much of an expert on the bible but I’ll go with Moses, the first lawyer (also, I really liked Charlton Heston).

What is your profession and how does it rank on a scale of 1-10 in terms of Jewishness?
Lawyer and writer… that would be a 10!  (Unless 10’s reserved for the rabbinate, in which case a strong 9.)
What is the best part about being Jewish?
Being part of a group that totally outkicks its coverage in terms of impact on history and culture relative to numbers.

Passover or Purim?
I’ll go with Passover because I’ve celebrated it more often, don’t much like hamentashen, and most importantly can (and do) drink any time of the year but only lean while eating once.
Favorite DC activity?
Attending oral argument at the Supreme Court.

Mitzvah Maker – Rabbi Yudi Steiner

Mitzvah Maker - Rabbi Yudi Steiner

Why is Chabad the place to be?
It’s all about the people. You’ve been to the Young Professionals Shabbatons, have you ever seen a more exciting mixture of young Jews anywhere? No, right? Chabad is world famous for one thing; Ahavat Yisrael, love of a fellow Jew, this is palpable in everything we do here in DC. It’s the warmth and the feeling you immediately get of coming home again. That’s the concept, but if you really want to feel what I’m saying, bring someone new to Chabad and just watch his or her body language as they experience Chabad for the first time.

If Chabad were a cookie, what type would it be?
If Chabad were a cookie they’d have to invent a cookie in its honor. One that is not too heavy to make you feel guilty but not too brittle to make a real impact and it can be savored long after it’s gone. You know speaking of cookies reminds me that Passover’s just around the corner, which in turn reminds me that all your readers have a phenomenal chance to check out Chabad for the first time or the tenth, we’re having both Seders and you’re all invited, just email for more info and to RSVP. Who needs cookies? we guarantee the best tasting maror you’ve ever had.

What’s the difference between Chabad at GW and The Shul?
Aha. Your best question yet. Chabad doesn’t wait for you to come to them we come to you. A wise man once said, “Just as Hitler once hunted down every Jews in hate, Chabad seeks to include every Jew with Love.”
Chabad GW takes Judaism to the Jews of GW that may not even know that Saturday is Shabbat. Where during a Shabbos dinner one can find a first time, very skeptical student txting on his Blackberry – probably something like, “wtvr this plc is sooo not cool” but then, slowly, as the night wears on and the spirit takes over she tucks the phone away, joins a familiar song and is hooked.
The Shul, actually it’s TheShul, is where all the up and coming, busy, ambitious, young Jews come out to share meaningful Jewish experiences. From our now famed monthly Young Professional Shabbat Dinners to Sushi Nights and other social mixers and Wednesday night’s lecture with yours truly. I’d say its more Washingtonian.

What’s your favorite holiday?
Favorite holiday is going to have to be Purim. Yes its Cliché but this year it took on a whole new meaning; hundreds of students who otherwise wouldn’t be caught dead in a synagogue celebrated Purim at our “Purim in China” party. So ya, in this line of work an opportunity to do something so fun and so Jewish at the same time is what we’re all about.

Is it true that black is the new fashion craze?
I’m still the only one living in Foggy Bottom who goes out in the dead of summer with a black suit and Fedora. But I must say it definitely get heads turning. What kind of hat do you wear? Think about it, it’s a deep question [:)].

What if I don’t know much about Judaism, is Chabad still a good place to go?
No, if you don’t know much about Judaism Chabad’s not a good place to go, it’s the best place to go. Chabad doesn’t just teach Judaism it celebrates it, if you want to understand and experience the joy that Jewish involvement can bring to your life you must spend some quality time at Chabad, and please don’t make your first appearance on Yom Kipur, there are many more, shall we say exciting days than that (think Seders!).
What do you think of the term “Mitzvah Maker”? 
I love it but i would suggest amending it to “Mitzvah Macher” because that denotes not only a person who does many good things but one who aggressively searches for opportunities to do mitzvahs, more passion, you know? That being said as a Rabbi I leave you with a blessing; may you, your website, you readers and Jews all over the World Wide Web and beyond (are there any Jews beyond?) merit to make many mitzvahs!

Jewish Girl – Sheryl

What’s your favorite nickname?
My favorite nickname: Soju (pronounced: so-jew). It’s the name of the most potent alcohol in South Korea. When I lived there, I got a fish as a pet, and I named him Soju without thinking about the implications of his namesake. My American and Canadian friends thought it was funny and nicknamed me that since I was only 1 of 100 Jews living in South Korea. On another note, I hope my life ends better than Soju’s. It’s surprisingly hard to get a coy fish down a Korean toilet…

Don’t ever buy me…
Don’t ever buy me a cat or an avocado, as I’m allergic to both. Or anything gold lame’ (are you reading this, Mom!? 🙂 )

If you could hang out with one cool Jew all the time (besides GTJ staff)?
If I could hang out with one cool Jew all the time, I would hang out with my awesome 7 year old niece Rebecca. She’s just one of my favorite people on Earth. She’s cute and thoughtful and endless amounts of fun. Rebecca’s also one of the proudest Jews I know. When she was just 3 years old, a waitress asked her, “How are you?” to which Rebecca replied, “I’m Jewish, how are you?”

The one song you would love to hear before you go to bed?
The one song I love to hear before going to bed is “By Your Side” by Sade. I love the words and the rhythm.   

Make a haiku about living in DC.
Snow, where can I go?
Lend me a shovel, Barack
I am your neighbor

Jewish Guy – Andrew Penn-Giannettino

Jewish Guy - Andrew Penn-Giannettino

Latke or Hamentashen?

On Friday night you can find me at:
Mesorah DC

Mel Brooks or Woody Allen?
Mel Brooks–can anyone argue the genius of Spaceballs?

Is there a Jewish look?
If there is, I don’t have it.

Jewish superhero by night, what by day?
Excel jockey.

Favorite living Jew (besides the GTJ staff):
Favorite is a tough one, but I will say that my grandmother is the most important to me.

Mitzvah Maker – Rabbi Teitelbaum

Mitzvah Maker - Rabbi Teitelbaum

What is great about Mesorah DC?
From the feedback that we get from our participants, everyone seems to enjoy our all-out efforts to create a warm , comfortable, accepting(and fun) environment, whatever the occasion or event.  People always seem to leave happy and come back for more.  Also people enjoy the range of activities from social events to enriching Jewish experiences.

If Mesorah DC were a Jewish food, what would it be and why?
Food-that’s a tough one!  I like to think of ourselves as a smorgasbord, but I guess the “Rabbi in me” would say: the “heavenly manna” that could taste what you wished it to taste like.  I just think we have a tasty appeal to almost everyone (rabbis are allowed to be corny).

Did i mention we are having a great Friday night event next week (the 19th). Elliot Brandt, one of the premiere speakers for AIPAC, will discuss the toughest challenges Israel is facing today.  Check it out

What has been one of your most successful events?
Hmmm.  It depends (you knew I’d say that) how you define “success.”  Certainly in terms of numbers of participants–we just had a smashing Purim event with probably close to 400 people!  Enjoying the food, the drinks, the live music and carnival.  Our bi-monthly Friday night  services and dinners  are attended by well over  a hundred people.  They are just as successful, in the sense that we touch a spiritual chord, as well provide a great socializing opportunity.  We actually have a few people who met and married through these dinners!!

I heard you eat sushi pizza, is that true?
No.  I can’t take credit for that brilliant invention BUT we do have sushi AND  pizza every Monday night, at Mesorah DC’s Cafenite.   And that’s not even the best part–it’s the great crowd that comes to learn each Monday–everything from Hebrew to Ulpan, history to ethics, or even join our very own think tank.  And you even get to eat great sushi and pizza (free dinner) as all the classes converge during dinner time to shmooze/socialize.

With hundreds of DC Jews involved in Mesorah, how do you remember everyone’s name?!
Easy–I just call everyone “Handsome,” or Jennifer.  Actually, it’s real tough because hundreds are involved, but I really work hard to remember not just their names but who they are and how I can possibly help them.  It also helps that most of the people are repeat offenders, we see them often.

Did I mention this great Friday night event on March 19th?  Dinner at 8 speaker at 9, followed by dessert reception and cocktails and Q&A-at Sixth and I synagogue?

I heard your wife was asked to be on Iron Chef for her Shabbat meals; when are they doing the filming?
My wife definitely is an incredible cook (as those that  join us for lunch on Saturday at Sixth and I can testify).  She doesn’t even let me hang around her kitchen, so I don’t see her letting in a movie crew.   Besides we don’t give away our recipes so quickly–you have to earn it.

What if I don’t know much about Judaism, is Mesorah still a good place to go?
MesorahDC is the perfect place for  people just getting involved.  We really care to make them feel “at home.”  We assume zero background knowledge.  And we offer multiple entry levels from real beginners to those  with somewhat more of a background.  You should come to the event to find out more about us. See you Friday night.

Jewish Girl – Aliyah

(Jewish Girl of the Year Voting Page)

What’s your Mother’s Favorite Dish?
Lamb chops.

Where did you have your most spiritual moment?
The first time I arrived in Jerusalem. At the time, I was 15 and with a group of my best friends. We started the day in Warsaw, in Janusz Korczak’s orphanage where he hid Jewish orphans during the Holocaust. We spontaneously decided to sing Hatikvah there. Right after, we boarded the plane to Israel and drove straight to the Old City of Jerusalem where we cried and laughed and prayed and sang. That whole day was my most spiritual moment.

Which female biblical character do you admire the most? Why?
Appropriate for Purim, I admire Queen Esther. A little chutzpa goes a long way.

What type of hummus do you prefer? (Chunky or Creamy)
Not sure about the chunky or creamy preference, but my favorite chumus comes from Abu Gosh, a village near Jerusalem. It’s the best. Pure beige happiness…