Rachel Erlebacher flies on ropes through the sky, should have already been featured on The Great British Bake Off, and is training for her first marathon. Meet this amazing woman!
Allie: How did you wind up in DC?
Rachel: I majored in environmental studies in college, which led me to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). I kind of knew that my home [after college] would be in DC, because I love the political scene.
Allie: What sparked your interest in politics?
Rachel: I wanted to be able to make some sort of positive change in society. And I liked the idea of working with other people and collaborating on big ideas.
Allie: I bet working in government can get stressful at times. What are some of your favorite ways to relax when you’re not in the office?
Rachel: There’s three things. The first is running. I’m training for my very first marathon which is exciting. I’m running The Chicago Marathon in October, which is great because I can indulge in some deep dish pizza afterwards. I’m a firm believer that Chicago deep dish pizza is better than New York pizza, and that the Cubs are THE best baseball team.
All of my family is in Chicago, so it’s a very fitting place to run my first big marathon.
Allie: That’s amazing! What are the other two things you do to relax?
Rachel: The second is flying trapeze. That was something that had been sitting on my bucket list for a couple of years. I finally went to a class by myself this past December at the trapeze school in Navy Yard and fell in love with it. I loved the instructors and that feeling of being free. The school is in the dead center of DC, and the minute you walk in you just kind of feel like you escape.
Sometimes, I need to get away from the stress and the politics of the city, and trapeze lets me do that. Flying trapeze has also been a great way to connect with new people.
Allie: What do you enjoy most about flying trapeze?
Rachel: It’s a no judgment zone. You sign up for a class and there are no levels. The instructor will help you with whatever activity you are working on. There are no more than 10 people to a class and you have three instructors. You go up one at a time, so you get to cheer each other on. There is a very welcoming, communal spirit.
Allie: What’s the third thing you do to relax?
Rachel: Baking. My granny is an amazing baker and when I was little, she taught me the skills to make brownies. I’ve since expanded my repertoire. During the Shutdown, I actually started a small baking business to keep me busy, aptly named the Shutdown Sugar Shack. Now, I’ve started hosting Shabbat dinners through OneTable so I can practice new baking techniques, and don’t have to eat all of the sugary foods myself. Plus, I’m social and really enjoy hosting and bringing people together.
Allie: What do you bake for your Shabbat dinners?
Rachel: This year, I hosted a crazy cookie party themed Shabbat where I created homemade versions of your favorite store-bought cookies like those Little Debbie cosmic brownies, Oreos, things like that. I think I baked 200 cookies that week, it was so fun! Most recently, I planned one that was Great British Bake Off themed.
Allie: How do you find time to sleep?
Rachel: I sacrifice that a bit. I’m someone who over commits and really likes to keep busy. I’m Monica Geller in a nutshell!
Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…
Rachel: The Jewish geography game is super real. Every time I meet someone new in this city, we always have a new mutual friend. I recently invited a girl from my trapeze class to my Shabbat dinner!
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