Itay Balely may or may not be best friends with Disney Channel’s Aly & AJ, is terrible at trivia, and is his grandmother’s #1 fan.
Allie: What led you to live in DC?
Itay: I was born in Israel and moved to Florida when I was young, but we later moved to Bethesda, Maryland. After high school I did a gap year in Israel, and then moved back to Maryland to work in higher education. I recently started a job at the Human Rights Campaign in DC, so this is where I’ve been living ever since!
Allie: Describe your dream DC day from start to finish.
Itay: I’d grab brunch with friends at a new restaurant in the city. We’re lucky we have such good food in DC! My friends and I have started to do this thing where we have a little picnic in the National Mall or nearby park with my guitar and have singalongs, so I’d definitely do that. I taught myself how to play guitar when I was younger, and love it. Then, I’d go to a record store. After that, I’d go watch a show at The Kennedy Center. I enjoy theater a lot and DC has a great theater scene.
Allie: What inspired you to learn guitar?
Itay: When we moved to Maryland, I was entering eight grade and everyone already had their cliques. I felt like I needed an outlet, so I decided to be emo and write songs.
Allie: What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
Itay: I host District Trivia. It’s a very fun thing to do. I learn a lot of information you can’t do anything with but it’s just good to know. The team names are always the funniest things in the world. People are so into it and get really competitive, and that makes it all the more fun.
Allie: Are you good at trivia?
Itay: Oh no, I’m terrible. I don’t know the information at all.
Allie: I hear you recently met Disney Channel’s Aly & AJ…please tell me more.
Itay: It’s kind of insane how it all happened because in the last few years Aly & AJ released new music which transformed me from an average Disney-watching fan to a true Aly & AJ fan. I was talking about their new music at work and coincidentally one of my coworkers knew a friend of theirs. When she saw her friend – who happened to be with Aly and AJ – the girls sent me a video saying hello. I wound up taking to AJ for a bit and they gave me backstage passes to meet them at their DC show (which was packed)! It was such an amazing time.
Allie: What’s your favorite way to decompress at the end of a long work day?
Itay: I love binge-watching shows on Netflix. Schitt’s Creek is one of my favorite shows of all time, and I recently watched Dead to Me which is so good. I have way too many good show recommendations on my list.
Allie: Who is your Jewish role model?
Itay: My grandma, for sure. She’s been through a lot of adversity, but still produced a large family that loves being together. We recently went back to Israel to celebrate her 80th birthday.
Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…
Itay: Our grandmas talk about how proud they are.
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