I met Emily Mathae back when I worked at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. Since then, I’ve been blown away by how her presence has brought so much sunshine to Jewish DC and Northern Virginia. Besides making our bellies happy with her incredible talent for whipping up Jewish baked goods, she also makes our community happy with her warm smile and contagious kindness. Although Emily is soon moving out of the Moishe House Northern Virginia (MoHo NoVA), she’s not going far. So if you don’t know her yet, now is your chance!
P.S. If you’re interested in taking Emily’s spot in Moishe House NoVA, let them know!
Allie: What brought you to Arlington?
Emily: I was born and raised in Arlington; I’m what you call an Arlington native through and through.
Allie: I hear you’re soon moving out of in Moishe House NoVA! What’s been the best part about being a Moishe House resident?
Emily: I’ve been living there for almost two years and it’s been amazing. It’s been a life-changing experience. I get to create really meaningful relationships with community members and put on programs that I’m personally excited about.
Allie: What programs have you hosted at Moishe House that you’re most proud of?
Emily: I love to bake, so it’s been incredible to host programs related to that. I’ve hosted a round challah bake for Rosh Hashanah, babka-making, sufganiyot, hamantaschen, and traditional challah baking events.
I also love Rosh Chodesh and celebrating Jewish women and our lives together as a community. We’ve been doing Rosh Chodesh events since last July. It’s a very strong group of women who are very supportive of one another. I’m curious to see how things will turn out when I move out, but I’m hoping to continue to do the Rosh Chodesh events with Moishe House Without Walls (MHWOW).
Allie: What’s your perfect DC – or Arlington – day from start to finish?
Emily: It would be April 25th; not too hot, and not too cold. All you need is a light jacket! Yeah, hopefully it would be a beautiful day outside, but not too much sun because I get sunburnt very easily. I would go out to Leesburg and visit a couple of wineries and just relax. Maybe I’d go for a long walk or hike. If my favorite band Judah and the Lion was in town I would go see them. That’s one of the bands I will never get tired of.
Allie: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Emily: I had struggled with my faith for a long time. I was very active in my former faith community, but started questioning some of the things that were told to me and asked some really deep questions that they just didn’t have the answers to. It felt like destiny that I wound up doing my study abroad in Israel where I studied conflict analysis and resolution. While there, I also worked at BINA and loved it so much.
When I returned home, I wrote my senior thesis on young American Jews and their relationship with Israel. This was so impactful for me that I wound up applying to work at some Jewish nonprofits after graduating. At that point, I was halfway through my conversion process. I got the job [that I currently have] at The Jewish Federation and have constantly worked to become a leader in the Jewish community since then. By working at Federation and living in the Moishe House, I feel like I’ve found my place.
Allie: What’s your favorite Jewish food?
Allie: What’s your perfect bagel?
Emily: An everything bagel with vegetable cream cheese, with onion, cucumber, and tomatoes. Please don’t hate me for not liking lox…
Allie: Favorite Jewish holiday?
Emily: Shavuot. I love dairy and because of the story of Ruth. It connects back to my own Jewish journey and I feel like I’m Ruth in a way.
Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…
Emily: They have a grand old time.
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