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Girl of the Week – Stacy #WayBackWednesday

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Stacy was a Jewish Girl of the Week 6 years ago when the feature first began. She even competed in the first-ever Jewish Girl of the Year competition. Stacy is still an integral part of the DC Jewish community, but now in a professional capacity.

Read our updates on Stacy and her original article (including a poem) below!

 

  • I am not in the field of education anymore (I sooo miss recess and the kiddos), but before I left teaching I started an after-school cooking program for kids called Snack Attack Cooking. My favorite session was when we had an Iron Chef competition and the judges tried one group’s creation that looked like a dessert pizza.  But, the kids had used garlic instead of sugar! The looks on the judges faces when they tasted it was priceless.
  • About a year after the original article was published, I founded an organization that hosts events for Jewish young professionals in Northern Virginia called NOVA Tribe Series. Since 2011, I have hosted over 150 programs, engaged thousands of peers in the community, and helped orchestrate countless numbers of friendships – and even 2 marriages!
  • Last fall I started working for the Edlavitch DCJCC as their manager of EntryPointDC, a program for 20s and 30s. I have helped revamp the Shabbat Clusters program, started the B’Shert 2.0 Modern Jewish Love Series and am looking forward to our next big event, Schmooze & Snooze Fest on Saturday, February 25th. The event will be an “all-night” type party with a 90’s cover band, Bar Mitzvah DJ dance party, moonbounce, Havdalah, drinks, carnival snacks, Ted Talks and more! Tickets go on sale today.
  • One signature program I created that I look forward to hosting every year is Lox Meets Bagel. It has become one of the largest speed dating & mixer events in the DC area for 20s and 30s. The 6th Lox Meets Bagel is next Tuesday, February 7th, and you can register here!
  • I am still a Virginia girl, but I now live in Arlington instead of Fairfax. My favorite things to do in the neighborhood are people watch at Northside Social, catch a comedy show or movie at Arlington Drafthouse, and take long walks to Georgetown.

Read her original article below!

Stacy on why she should be Jewish Girl of the Year:

There once was a girl from VA

Who taught her students to say

“I flip my latkes in the air”

She spent $157.23 on metro fare

To get to Jewish events last year

Her Hebrew name

is a video game

She works with Jnet

Your vote she needs to get

Editor’s note: Stacy raised the bar for Jewish Girl of the Week by submitting a Youtube video as part of the application process. If you think you or someone you know has what it takes to be a Person of the Week, shoot us an email and tell us why. We encourage creativity in nominations!

How long have you been teaching?

This is my sixth year teaching. I have taught students from grades K-7 over the years, but right now I teach 1st-3rd grade at a Montessori school. These kids are awesome. The Montessori philosophy emphasizes learning practical life skills, so my kids cook me lunch every Wednesday, do the dishes and laundry every day and take field trips out of the classroom at least once or twice every few weeks. I want to take them home with me to clean my house!

Stacy, so many people ask: “What do you do?” The GTJ staff likes look deeper into the Jewish soul, so we ask, “What is your passion?!”

My biggest passion is helping others. Besides teaching, I also work with autistic kids once a week leading social skill groups. My first day at social group went something like this (and I knew from then on I was in the right place) Me: Ben, we have something in common, we both like to celebrate Hanukkah  Ben: You are Jewish Ms. Stacy? I am so glad you joined group! (He runs around the room singing the dreidel song)  Nate: You must be Israeli then because you are Jewish  Me: Actually, I am not.  Nate: Aww man, I really like Israeli women, can’t you be Israeli for me?  Dan: I know someone that is Jewish, but I don’t like her very much.  Me: Why is that?  Dan: She is a very bossy Jewish girl.

Are there really Jews that live out in Virginia?

Yes, there are and we rock.  I am on the committee of Jnet. We plan happy hours, BBQ’s, and other great events; our next BIG gathering will be a philanthropic event for the JCC of NOVA special needs department. You can find us on facebook if you add JnetVA as a friend. I promise if you come find me at an event I will make sure you have a great time!

Can we share the video of your kids with all our readers?!

Of course you can share the video! I love being Jewish, and I want to share my love of my religion and culture with everyone; the video explains it all.  You can see the enthusiasm in my students’ faces as they sing this song (and my amazing dancing skills and “latke” flipping tools as well). I spent a whole day reading Hanukkah stories, playing dreidel, sharing latkes, and taught them all the words to Candlelight and I have never seen them more excited, or in other words, equally excited to sing about/celebrate Hanukkah as Christmas.  Since you and the Maccabeats are BFF’s, can you send the video to them as well?

What has been your most memorable Jewish moment?

Hmmm that’s a hard one. I think I have had many, but one that sticks out actually occurred this week. We had a Celebration of Light ceremony with our class in which all the families came together to share their winter month traditions that involve light. I have 23 students in my class and only 1 is Jewish. After the presentation, the one Jewish family came up to me and gave me a big hug. They thanked me for teaching the students the Candlelight song and told me their daughter finally feels included and everyone is now just as excited about Hanukkah as any other winter holiday. It really touched me because I have always made it my personal mission to bring Jews together from smaller communities, whether it’s making my one Jewish student in my class feel more comfortable talking about her religion to her classmates to planning events for my alma maters’ Hillel that included only about 400 Jewish students out of 15,000.

You can only eat one Jewish food for the rest of your life, what is it and why?

It would be my mom’s challah. She started making using this recipe when I was about 10, it’s a sweet version that I can’t get enough of. It totally satisfies my sweet tooth.

Is it Chanukah, Hanukkah, or Hannukah?

Is this a trick question? I have not seen the double N’s before or if I did it was way back in the day; spell check does not like it either. Actually prefer the double K’s, Hanukkah is where it’s at. My students know 3 ways to spell it and are very proud of that fact.

Where can we find you on a Friday night?

I usually check out the services at Adas Israel and Sixth & I and then go out in the city. I have gone to Shir Delight the past few months and always have a good time with my friends and meet a lot of new people. You never know who you are going to run into, last week I saw my babysitter whom I have not seen in 20 years!

What’s the next big Gathering you will be at?

I am on the committee of Jnet. We plan happy hours, BBQ’s, and other great events; our next BIG gathering will be a philanthropic event for the JCC of NOVA special needs department.  See facebook page here.

Measuring Success through DC Volunteerism

Conversion Rate: A Monthly Column from a DC Young Professional on the Israeli Economy (and other Misc thoughts…)image-3

Sometimes you start a monthly column on GTJ and then you get a new job. And sometimes that new job is a bit demanding of your time and that monthly column needs to be restarted a year later. Sometimes is now.

Welcome (back) to the New Conversion Rate…

I was driving up to the Jersey Shore with a couple of friends for Father’s Day weekend. As we are all active Jewish young professionals, we do what active young Jewish professionals do – start talking about upcoming marquee Jewish events in DC and which ones we’re going to go to. IMPACT? Falafel Frenzy? JNFuture’s Anchor DC Boat Cruise? GTJ’s next HH? AIPAC Policy Conference? Hanukkah on the Hill? Etc.

We weigh the options at hand by discussing cost vs. value, big events vs. small events, and more.

Our conversation steers from who is going to these events to how do we measure their success? Is it purely the amount of revenue raised, the amount of people that attend, did it sell out, did it make a profit, did it cultivate a passive volunteer to become an active leader, or can we gauge success on another metric?

We learn that a recent large Jewish event lost money, but everyone there had a great time. Is that still success?

We discussed the experience of a first time visitor of another large Jewish event being turned away at the door after schlepping from Montgomery County into DC for an open/free event that was “sold out.” The person was trying to get in and was seeing people walk out of the door but he wasn’t allowed in regardless. And the staffers of the organization were giving him a bit of attitude. He’s never attending any event from that group again and others who heard his story were disappointed in how the situation was handled. Apparently it didn’t need to be a situation. (And yes, I used situation twice there because as I earlier mentioned – we were on our way to the Jersey Shore.) So was this sold-out event a success to this individual? Was it a success to the organization?

Measuring success might seem to be more science based but sometimes it is an art-form, or maybe at the least a social science.

langsner_schwartz_presidentSo here’s an alternative measure of success. Over the last few years in DC I have volunteered my time for a number of groups whose missions I value. I’m not as active as I used to be across the board but I do what I feel I can, where I think I can, without diluting my volunteerism. I want to see a direct return on investment (ROI) of my time and treasure that I donate to a cause – whether it be a Jewish cause, a pro-Israel cause, or another cause. I often find the scarcity of my available time to be a higher treasure than making a meaningful financial gift. We all have $18, $36, $100, or more sitting around that could either go to a good cause rather than a night out on any given day.

These days I split my time between Israel Bonds and JNFutures because I can see, feel, and comprehend the direct impact that those groups make in advancing a cause that I am passionate about – literally and figuratively growing Israel.

I’m a new JNFuture member and I’m excited for what will be my first official responsibility this summer. I’m proud to support and bring recognition to the great work of JNF in advancing Israel’s clean water programs and of course in its historic work in planting 250 million trees across Israel. 250 MILLION!!! That is ROI. That is a return on investment in time and treasure. We’ll be celebrating how the Jewish National Fund is responsible for over 12 percent of Israel’s water capabilities (i.e. storage,Ad Photo reservoirs, sustainability technology) on a night on the Potomac River via a cruise for 300 young Jewish professionals on July 18.  I recently learned that JNF was more than just trees and although this will be my first JNF event, it certainly will not be my last.

I am passionate about supporting Israel and helping to advance Israel’s economy and Israel’s prosperity. That is why I started Conversion Rate on GTJ, why I blog for The Times of Israel, and why I want you to join me on the Potomac this month.

Conversion Rate represents the views of Jason Langsner.  Langsner has been active in the DC Jewish community for over 10 years.  He formerly drove the digital strategy for B’nai B’rith International.  He is an active volunteer leader in a number of Jewish communal organizations at local and national levels. He has staffed a Taglit-Birthright trip and is a former runner-up to GTJ’s Jewish Guy of the Year.

Meet the Jewish Girl of the Week Alex

Alex 3Jackie: What brought you to DC?

Alex: My family and I are originally from DC. After I graduated from Old Dominion University (located in Norfolk, VA) I decided DC would be the best place to look for work and cultivate my career considering I am interested in politics and law. One of these days I plan on attending law school in the DC area. I know that you just came back from Birthright, was this your first time in Israel? This was my first time in Israel and I fully intend on going back as much as possible!

Jackie: What made you decide to go now?

Alex: I had always intended on going and I felt like now would be the best time to capitalize on the experience. I felt like I was at an age that I could fully comprehend and appreciate everything that these birthright trips have to offer.

Jackie: What was your favorite moment from the trip?

Alex 4Alex: I would have to say climbing Masada to witness the sunrise. It was certainly a difficult feat climbing on the way up but once we got to the top to witness the sunrise and learn about to history of Masada the climb was completely worth it. Ialso had my bat mitzvah on top of Masada since I never had one when I was younger. It was incredible to have that experience in Israel along side so many amazing people that have now become life long friends.

Jackie: Did you make new connections on your trip?

Alex: I made multiple connections on this trip with those from the DC area as well as the Israelis that were on the trip with us the whole time. I never knew I could grow so close with so many people in such a short amount of time. We have actually all stayed in constant contact through social media and the DC residents have been getting together on the weekends a lot.

Jackie: What’s your favorite way to spend Shabbat?

Alex: I like to go to Friday night service and get together with friends for dinner and wine after. I try to stay as restful as possible on Saturday’s but I generally end up having to run errands due to my busy schedule during the week.

UntitledJackie: What is your favorite Jewish food?

Alex: Sticking to my Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry I am naturally obsessed with matzo ball soup. Anytime it’s really cold out or I’m sick I will make a fresh pot of matzo ball soup from scratch. I took my grandma’s recipe and tweaked it just a little bit.

Jackie: Who is your favorite Jew?

Alex: Golda Meir by a long shot. She is the epitome of a strong willed Jewish woman paving the way not only Jews but women as well. Golda Meir constantly fought for the betterment and fundamental rights of Jews and Israel. For example, she single handedly raised $50 million in 1948 to purchase weapons to protect the young country even though everyone told her it was not possible. Persevering and protecting her people are things she constantly clung to which is truly admirable.

 

Jackie: Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather…

Alex: There will most certainly be constant chatting and eating! The feeling of community is emitted at all times.

 

Registration for Birthright’s next community trip is now open! Click here to apply.

FREE 10-day Taglit-Birthright Israel: DC Community Trip this WINTER!

Free Trip to IsraelAre you a Jewish young professional or graduate student, ages 22 to 26, living in the Greater Washington area?  Go to Israel for FREE this Winter on the Taglit-Birthright Israel: DC Community Trip with Shorashim. On this trip, you will travel with Israelis and young adults from the DC area for all 10 days. Registration for this amazing opportunity opens September 8thfor past applicants, and general registration opens on September 9th at 10 AM at www.israelwithisraelis.com. The trip fills up fast, so get on the bus and join us for an amazing 10-day adventure! Contact Rachel Barton at Rachel.barton@shalomdc.org or (301) 230-7266. Learn more at www.shalomdc.org/birthright.

 

Learning from History

AJC-logo3_H-tag newThis article originally appeared in The Times of Israel.

At the end of June, I was fortunate enough to take part in the American Jewish Committee ACCESS Third Generation Initiative trip to Germany, which brought together ten young American Jewish professionals and ten young German professionals to explore modern Germany and its history.  The trip was co-sponsored by American Jewish Committee

ACCESS; the Munich-based financial services company, Allianz; and Germany Close Up, a German nonprofit that promotes American-Jewish-German relations.

I first traveled to Germany in 1994 with my high school orchestra on a cultural and educational exchange program with the Detmold Jugendorchester from the small town of Detmold, Germany.  At the time, I was a bit hesitant about traveling to Germany because some members of my family regarded anything German or related to Germanys with some suspicion and distrust.  During my high school trip, I stayed with a German host family and was struck by how sensitive they were to my being Jewish and how attentive they were to my Kosher dietary restrictions, making special efforts to prepare vegetarian meals for me.  During this trip, I spoke to some Germans about the Holocaust and could see they were eager to learn about it and discuss it.

On my recent trip to Germany with the Third Generation Initiative, I saw that this interest in learning about the Holocaust runs far deeper than I initially thought.  During this trip, I saw Germans in all aspects of society going to great lengths to educate themselves about their Nazi era past and learn from it.

We visited the offices of Allianz, a large German financial services company that co-sponsored the trip.  Allianz has spent years uncovering its corporate history during the Nazi era, including its involvement with the Nazi regime during that period of history, and has taken a leading role in handling Holocaust-era insurance claims.

During the trip, we visited the former concentration camp, Sachsenhausen.  As I walked through the camp, I was surprised to see a number of groups of elementary school-aged German children visiting the camp.  After the visit, many of the German participants on our trip shared what grandparents and aunts and uncles were doing during the Holocaust.  I was moved to see how visibly conflicted and upset some of them were about relatives that may have been complicit in the atrocities.

On a visit with leaders from the German armed forces, I learned that the country’s history during the Nazi era influences current military policy.  The German Nazi and Stasi history has led to a general policy of military restraint, although this may be changing as Germany becomes a larger force on the world stage.  The military leaders told us that the army’s current oath is to defend the rights of the German people as opposed to the military’s oath during the Nazi era, which was to pledge unconditional obedience to one individual—Hitler.

Over the past couple of months I have seen numerous newspaper articles about the recent rise of anti-Semitism in Europe.  I was especially shocked to read that protesters were shouting anti-Semitic slurs and attacking Jewish individuals on the streets of Berlin, which is so much at odds with my experiences in Germany.  However, I am encouraged by the strong statements denouncing these anti-Semitic actions made by Chancellor Merkel, other prominent Germans, and members of the German press. I have confidence that Germany will continue to take a strong moral stance and put a stop to the spread of anti-Semitism in Europe, and that Germany will be a model for the world in learning from its past.  As young leaders in the Jewish community, we have a critical role and responsibility to continue to support these efforts and to strengthen the German-Jewish relationship in the years to come.

Natalie Rosenfelt lives in Washington, DC and is an antitrust lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice. She received her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and her undergraduate degree from Cornell University. 

Masa Israel Featured Internship: Marketing Internship, Hebrew Today

As an intern at Hebrew today you will be responsible for marketing via social media outlets and other internet sources. Daily tasks involve contacting various distributions internationally along with assisting Hebrew today staff in administrative matters.

Hebrew Today is a publication house specializing in the highly professional and unique fusion of linguistics and journalism. Their products are developed and written by professionals in the fields of education, linguistics and the Hebrew language. From their experience and knowledge, these professionals create easy newspapers in Hebrew, along with the highest quality of tools for Hebrew learning.

Hebrew Today Publication House is based in Jerusalem and ships their easy Hebrew newspapers to private and organizational subscribers internationally. Their publications are recognized by the Israeli Ministry of Education and recommended by the Jewish Agency for Israel.

http://www.interninisrael.org/marketing-internship-hebrew-today/

Masa Israel Featured Internship: Special Projects Intern, The Pears Innovation and International Development Program at Tel Aviv University

Special Projects Intern, The Pears Innovation and International Development Program at Tel Aviv University – Provided by Career Israel

The Special Projects Intern will work closely with program staff to promote special projects. In particular, the intern will help launch the first “innovation for development” accelerator program in Israel. This position provides exposure to all levels of the program’s operations as well as to key players in the field. It requires someone who is well-organized, creative, a quick learner, and strong on follow-through and relationship-building.

Responsibilities
• Assist staff on research of existing accelerator models and outlining of key elements critical to a successful program
• Identification of potential local and international partners for implementation of accelerator
• Mapping and needs assessment of start up industry players eligible to apply for accelerators in fields such as health, alternative energy, agriculture, water, education and ICT
• Assistance in identification and recruitment of mentors both locally and internationally as aligned to needs of startups
• Identification of potential sponsors, VC and Angel funding for successful projects, etc.
• Create a Wikia for the competition and Hackathon
• Miscellaneous other needs that will arise with program development

The Pears Innovation and International Development Program at Tel Aviv University aims to make Israel the center of innovation and technological solutions for the developing world. The program works closely with the Israeli government, business and civil society in order to develop government policies and programs that can support an Israeli international development industry in important fields such as agriculture, water, renewable energy, health and education. In addition, the program organizes capacity building and community building activities on a wide range of international-development related topics for business and civil society in Israel.

http://www.interninisrael.org/special-projects-intern-pears-innovation-international-development-program-tel-aviv-university/

Masa Israel Featured Internship: Grant Writing and Resource Development Internship

The internship is flexible, but Appleseeds Academy needs help in the following areas: Development of new investment channels; conservation and development of partnerships from the business sector, private sector, philanthropic, government agencies and local authorities; mapping the channels of investment and development; company relationship management; contacting organizations, US government agencies, companies and private investors; and writing proposals and supporting the organization’s activities.

Established in 2000 as a business-sector initiative, Appleseeds Academy seeks to connect people, especially at-risk youth and lower-income individuals, with technology. Its mission, broadly, is to provide an equal opportunity to Israel’s socially disadvantaged communities through technological tools and the development of life skills.

Appleseeds Academy specializes in the initiation, management and operation of technological programs throughout Israel, combined with socially oriented training adapted to each sector, population and age group.

The organization carries out its mission by creating cross-sectorial partnerships, partnering with businesses, public sector and other social organizations to create sustainable projects with long-term impact. Appleseeds Academy is a certified academy of multinational high-tech companies such as Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, Google and others.

http://www.interninisrael.org/grant-writing-resource-development-internship-appleseeds-academy/

Masa Israel Featured Internship: Research and Web Development Intern, The International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists

The international association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (NGO) is looking for an intern in the fields of International Law, Human Rights, and the fight against Anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and terror.
Responsibilities include legal and general research that concerns the Association’s agenda; writing papers, prepare briefing and creating PowerPoint presentations; and uploading materials to the Association’s website while assisting in re-writing the Association’s web presence and branding.

The intern’s responsibilities will be highly diverse according to the project currently on the agenda. Preference to people who majored in International Law either at the University or as practitioners.

The International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, founded in 1969 by three well known jurists: Rene Cassem, a Nobel Prize Laureate, Arthur Goldberg of the United State Supreme Court, and Haim Cohen, Deputy Chief Judge of the Supreme Court of Israel, was established, primarily, in order to further the cause of human rights, to act against Anti-Semitism and the denial of the Holocaust, and to act against all forms of racism manifested against any people. The Association has the status of a recognized NGO in the United Nations and in the Council of Europe, and its representatives regularly participate in various discussions conducted in United Nations institutions and in the Council of Europe. The IAJLJ uses its specialty in Law to promote its agenda and vision. The Association has representatives in many countries and deals with matters that are of interest to the Jewish People and the State of Israel.

http://www.interninisrael.org/research-web-development-intern-international-association-jewish-lawyers-jurists/

Masa Israel Featured Internship: International Middle East Journalist, The Media Line

Intern will work with The Media Line staff in establishing story-lines and topics as well as researching and writing news and feature stories.

The Media Line promotes accuracy among regional journalists. This is a unique non-profit news organization established to enhance and balance media coverage in the Middle East, promote independent reporting in the region, and break down barriers to understanding in the Arab and Israeli journalism communities. The mission is to provide credible, unbiased content, background and context to local media outlets throughout the Middle East and around the world, including the United States, Canada, Europe and Australasia.

In addition to its own reporting, which reaches millions of news consumers daily, TML promotes accuracy and fairness among other regional journalists by designing and implementing ongoing educational, training and dialogue-building projects.

http://www.interninisrael.org/international-middle-east-journalist-media-line/