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German opera singing. Indigenous language preservation. Aaron Judge wedding fantasies. Alissa Platz is one unique lady. Get to know her in this exclusive interview!
Allie: How did you wind up in DC?
Alissa: I’m from central New Jersey, went to college at American University and have been here ever since.
Allie: I hear you work at AJC. What motivated you to become a Jewish professional?
Alissa: Growing up, I was the only Jewish person of my friend group, so Judaism took a back seat. But, my mom always instilled in me that it was important to be proud of my Judaism. I associate the Jewish community with positive childhood memories, and I love the values of being Jewish, like tikkun olam (repairing the world) and tzedakah (charity).
When I went to college, I really tried to get involved in the Jewish community in as many ways as I could. My Hillel director once said to me, “Why don’t you consider being a Jewish professional? You could make a great impact.” So, when I was looking at jobs, I looked in both International Relations (my major) and Jewish professional jobs – and landed at Sixth & I [and later went to AJC].
Allie: What do you do at AJC?
Alissa: I manage the young professional division at AJC called ACCESS, which empowers millennials to advocate for the values of AJC. On May 22nd, we are having a Young Diplomat Reception at Social Tables. This is one of our signature events that brings members of the Jewish young professional community together for a night of conversation around a specific theme. This year, the theme is sports and diplomacy. I’m personally a really big sports fan, so I’m excited to use a lot of sports puns in my Facebook posts [to promote this event].
Allie: What are your favorite sports?
Alissa: I’m a really big Yankees fan, and I love the Chile National Futbol team. I love watching sports in general, and am really excited to watch the World Cup this summer. I’m also a big Nationals fan. I love Mark Teixeira, Rhett Gardner, Derek Jeter is a classic, and Aaron Judge is my future husband.
Allie: Do you play any sports yourself?
Alissa: I’m in a rec softball league with DC Fray, we play each week next to the Washington Monument which is really beautiful. We haven’t won a game yet, but we’re working on it.
Allie: If you could be amazing at any sport what would it be?
Alissa: Baseball. But, that would require me being a lot taller than I am. I’d want to be catcher because you have to know what’s going on and strategize with the pitcher.
Allie: Where did your love of baseball come from?
Alissa: In middle school, my teacher always talked about the Yankees, and I wanted to be a part of the conversation. So, I started watching Yankees games with my dad every night. My dad turned 65 last year, and I took him to a baseball game and surprised him with his own personalized jersey.
Allie: What are you most excited about summertime?
Alissa: Warm weather, the heart of baseball season, and going to Italy with my friends! We’re going to go to Venice, Florence, and the Alps.
Allie: What’s your favorite smell and why?
Alissa: Freshly cut grass, I love warm weather and that smell signals to me that warm weather is coming.
Allie: What is something people might be surprised to find out about you?
Alissa: I love singing opera style – in German.
Allie: Is there a quote that inspires you?
Alissa: Ellen Degeneres, who is a phenomenal human being, and the voice of Dory, says to “be kind to one another.” Today, politics can be pretty divisive, people are segregating themselves based on their political beliefs, and a lot of nasty things are being said by our elected officials – and we should all try to be kinder.
Allie: What’s your favorite way to spend free time in the city?
Alissa: I love being outside in nature. I love Rock Creek Park, the National Mall, and still have on my bucket list to go to Great Falls and Shenandoah. DC always has new festivals or activities happening, and I like to check the events section of Facebook or GatherDC’s calendar and see what’s coming up.
Allie: If you could be anything (besides an awesome Jewish community professional) what would you want to be?
Alissa: I’d want to live in an indigenous community in Latin America studying indigenous languages, and how to preserve them.
Allie: What do you find funny?
Alissa: A combination of 6-year old boy humor, SNL, and observational humor. I love John Mulaney, and also really love a good pun. I feel like an old soul trapped in a 24 year old’s body.
Allie: Complete the sentence: When Jews of DC Gather…
Alissa: We play Jewish Geography.