Last week, we welcomed a brand new member of the Gather team to serve as our first-ever NoVA Community Manager. We are so excited to introduce him to the community! Jewish DC/NoVA – meet Ethan Litvin, lover of meeting new people, the dancing person emoji, and everything bagel sandwiches. Ethan just moved to Arlington and is eager to take you out for coffee to learn more about Jewish NoVA and connect with some awesome friends. Reach out to welcome him to the team and set up a time to grab coffee!
Allie: How did you wind up living in Northern Virginia?
Ethan: I’ve moved around to several different states growing up so I can’t say that “I am from” anywhere in particular. (If you want the entire list of all the places that I’ve lived, we can chat over coffee!) Most of my family lives in Virginia, so I tend to associate myself with being from Virginia.
When I was looking for jobs after completing my Masters degree in Israel, I knew I wanted to be closer to family in a city that offered a thriving young Jewish professional scene. The DMV definitely offers that. Also, NoVA is close to the mountains, the beach, and other cities outside of DC. To be able to hop on a train and go anywhere is amazing. It seemed like the perfect place for me at this stage in my life, and I’m so excited to now be living in Arlington/Clarendon!
Allie: Tell me more about your experience living in and getting your master’s degree in Israel.
Ethan: I lived in Jerusalem for a year and a half where I studied Hebrew and received my master’s in Nonprofit Management and Leadership at the Rothberg International School at Hebrew University. Living in Israel was an incredible experience both personally and professionally. I strengthened my Jewish identity and connection to Israel, and found an incredible community of Israelis who I consider to be my family now. I highly recommend everyone study or live abroad for a time, because it can and will change your perspective on life.
Allie: Why did you apply for GatherDC’s NoVA Community Manager role? What excites you most about this position?
Ethan: I’ve always had a passion for building Jewish communities and helping others find their place in different communities that interest them. I also get a high off of meeting new people and networking, so I felt this job was perfect for me. I am most excited about creating something completely innovative and magical in NoVA to the point where people from DC will want to venture South of the Potomac more often because of all the amazing things that are happening in Jewish NoVA.
Allie: What are some ideas and dreams you have for Jewish NoVA this coming year?
Ethan: I would love for NoVA to become this platform where every geographic region in NoVA has Jewish life to offer. For example, in Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, etc…there will be regular Shabbat dinners, minyans, social and volunteer programs, and anything that the community is interested in doing. I think this can happen best through grassroots relationship building and organizing. I see my role as connecting community members to each other so that they can start their own initiatives in the Jewish community.
Allie: What’s the best way for someone to connect with you if they want to chat about Jewish NoVA life and how to get involved?
Ethan: Set up a meeting with me for coffee! Just email me and we can find a time that works for you.
Allie: What is your favorite way to relax at the end of a long work day?
Ethan: Music is a huge part of my life. I love coming home to my guitar to learn a new song or attempt to write one. Music is very therapeutic for me, I depend on it to relax.
Allie: How do you like to celebrate Shabbat?
Ethan: I love attending Kabbalat Shabbat services and then either hosting or joining community members for a Shabbat dinner or lunch. I also love to take long walks around my neighborhood, or in a new neighborhood that I want to explore without any form of technology. Just me trying to appreciate the world around me on Shabbat and live in the moment after a busy week.
Allie: Who is your Jewish role model?
Ethan: Shoshanna Schechter. She encouraged me to do Birthright, helped me start the Hillel at my college. She’s been and still is a major support system for me in my Jewish professional and personal life.
Allie: What is at the top of your travel bucket list?
Ethan: I want to take a cross country trip around the USA, especially to the national parks. Also, I would love to go to Asia because it is so culturally different, and I hear the geographical landscapes are phenomenal.
Allie: What is something people might be surprised to know about you?
Ethan: I have a twin brother.
Allie: What is a quote or piece of wisdom you love?
Ethan: I am a huge fan of many of John Lennon’s quotes. One in particular is “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
Allie: Describe your perfect bagel sandwich.
Ethan: An everything bagel with lox, cream cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and maybe a fried egg.
Allie: What is your favorite emoji and why?
Ethan: The dancing person emoji because it makes me smile and laugh at the same time.
Allie: If you could pick a superpower, what would you choose and why?
Ethan: To be able to disappear in awkward situations.
Allie: When Jews of DC (and NoVA!) Gather…
Ethan: They talk about their favorite Jewish foods.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.