Aaron Bregman is a history teacher by day, and hardcore Big Lebowski fan by night (White Russian anyone?). He also recently got engaged (thanks JSwipe!) and is super-excited to teach at this year’s ROUTES: A Day of Jewish Learning. We think he’s a pretty objectively awesome guy, so you should most definitely read on to get to know him.
NOTE: GatherDC-ers (that’s you!) can get $20 off the ROUTES registration price with code GATHERDCROUTES2017. The cost is normally $48 including lunch, but for you it would be $28 (not including lunch – you are welcome to BYO).
Allie: Tell us, how did you become a teacher?
Aaron: Well, while growing up in Danvers, Massachusetts (just outside of Boston), I loved learning about history and politics. So, I went on to study history and education at American University. After graduating, I spent several years developing curriculum on the Arab-Israeli conflict at The David Project in Boston. In 2012, I came back to DC to teach American, European, and Middle East Jewish History for 11th and 12th graders at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland – where I’ve been for five years now. And in just a few weeks, I’ll be teaching about the Soviet Jewry and The Jewish American Experience at ROUTES.
Allie: Huh? What’s ROUTES?
Aaron: ROUTES is kind of like going back to college for the day – except just the actual, education part of college ;). It’s an entire day of Jewish learning hosted by The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington at George Mason University on November 5.
You show up, pick four learning sessions, have lunch, meet new people, and leave with at least one new piece of life wisdom. There’s tons of sessions to choose from…across diverse topics like addiction and Jewish spirituality, rebranding Judaism, creating a sustainable kitchen, using media to talk about Israel, Jewish women making an impact, gratitude in Jewish prayer, and more. See a full list here. And if you’re a history buff – you better sign up for my session!
Allie: Wow. That sounds like quite the day! In other news, I hear you have an exciting life update… Aaron: Yes! I recently got engaged to my fiancé who I met on JSwipe, and am having fun wedding planning with her. We’re planning a wedding in DC at Hotel Monaco.
Allie: Mazel Tov! What do you guys like to do for fun together in DC?
Aaron: It’s fun going to many of the political events and Jewish community events across DC. There’s just so many interesting ways to be involved. Also, my fiancé is a big foodie…so I’ve subsequently become a lot cooler in terms of my restaurant-going behavior over the past few years. We also like going for walks, playing chess, seeing museums, trying new restaurants…pretty much whenever we see something fun going on in DC when we have time off work – we go check it out.
Allie: More importantly, what TV shows do you guys binge watch together?
Aaron: I used to be very anti reality shows, but my fiancé has officially converted me. Now I watch Big Brother and Survivor (no shame). But my personal favorites will always be Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, John Oliver, and The Daily Show. Oh, and fun fact, one of my friends is actually a writer for John Oliver, which is pretty awesome.
Allie: What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?
Aaron: I’m going to have to go with Rosh Hashanah. It really brings the family together and you get to enjoy that great big dinner, without the difficulty of preparing a big seder. And I love a good brisket and matzo ball soup.
Allie: If you had to be stuck on a desert island with a celebrity who would it be and why?
Aaron: Well, there’s two. I would go with Jon Stewart – he is brilliant in everything he’s ever done. His background, his beliefs, his whole shtick. And also Gal Gadot, because in my world, she is the new Jennifer Aniston.
Allie: Any fun facts about yourself that might surprise our readers? Aaron: I was in the high school marching band and played snare drum, and our band actually performed at the Rose Bowl in 2001 (between University of Washington and Purdue University). Also, I am a huge Big Lebowski fan; when I went to Lebowski Fest in 2004 in Louisville, Kentucky, my buddies and I won the best costume award.
Allie: Hold up. What’s Lebowski Fest?
Aaron: Oh, it’s incredible. It’s just the most ridiculous, fun time complete with White Russians, bowling, a big screening of the movie on the green, and obscure costumes…
Allie: Complete this sentence: When Jews of DC Gather…
Aaron: a family comes together.