Meet Trey: Jewish Community Organizer of the Week!

by Allison Friedman / February 5, 2020



Allie: What brought you to DC?

Trey: I’m a native Hoosier (born and raised in Indiana), went to Butler University, a small liberal arts college outside of Indianapolis, and after a brief stint working for the Indiana Legislature and then a law firm, I started working in communications for Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) Fraternity headquarters. In that role, I was traveling to DC a lot, and I got this feeling that DC was the place I needed to be.

I made the move almost two years ago, got my current job at a small cancer research foundation and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Washingtonians are ambitious and passionate about the things they are doing, and I’m attracted to that. It has been a good fit.

Allie: You’ve only been in DC for two years, but it seems like you have already built such a strong foundation here. How did you do that?

Trey: Before I officially made the move to DC and when I was in town for work, I would be invited by a few local friends (h/t to Dan) to Shabbat dinner. That was a really cool way to meet friends of friends and grow my network. So when I finally moved to DC, I already had a small community, but I also wanted to get more connected to the larger Jewish community. 

I found myself on the Gather website and reached out to have coffee with Rabbi Aaron. It was kind of serendipitous because we met up right before Beyond the Tent 5, and Rabbi Aaron mentioned someone had just canceled and there was space on the retreat if I were interested. Despite being a huge planner, the weekend of the retreat I was completely free, so I ended up going and loving it! I had a great small group on the retreat. We connected really quickly and decided that we wanted to stay in contact with one another, so we made a concerted effort to do Shabbat dinner together once a month. Almost two years later, we’re still gathering for monthly Shabbat dinners (thanks, OneTable!), but we like to keep them open to new friends. We’re a welcoming and fun group, and I hope fellow GatherDCers join us.

Plug: Our next dinner, which I’m hosting, is on Friday, Feb. 21! (Editor’s note: Email Trey if you’re interested in attending.)

btt smal group

Trey and his Beyond the Tent small group

Allie: Has building and being part of community always been important to you?

Trey: Yes! I think you are the company you keep, so I really enjoy meeting new people. I find the best way to do that is finding different communities of things I’m interested in. Also, because I’m a Midwesterner, I grew up knowing my neighbors and saying hello to everyone. I think even just smiling at a stranger on the street is a good opportunity to feel connected to our shared humanity. I also find a path to Judaism that most resonates with me is community. Being a part of something bigger than yourself that can impact the world around you is an incredible feeling.

Allie: What communities are you a part of?

Trey: I have many different friend groups because I have a myriad of different interests and hobbies. I like to run with the GatherDC run group, attend/host monthly Shabbat dinners with my Beyond the Tent small group, spend time exploring the city with some of my close friends who I’ve met through work and Gather, and volunteer my time with the Butler University Washington, DC and the AEPi alumni communities as well as with B’nai B’rith Connect.

Allie: As a planner, do you have fun plans for this coming year that you’re particularly excited about?

Trey: On New Year’s Day, I was on my couch with my Google Calendar open and setting flight alerts for most of 2020. Between marriages, babies, work travel, and personal travel, there’s a lot coming up!

I’m most excited about my upcoming trip to Japan with B’nai B’rith International. I’m also hopefully going to Ireland and Croatia with family in the summer. On top of this, I’m trying to be more mindful of leaving some space on my calendar for spontaneity, which I’m pretty bad at doing. 

Allie: How do you like to relax at the end of a long week?

Trey: I’m a huge supporter of the DC Public Library. One of the first things I did when I moved was to get my library card. I prefer borrowing Kindle versions so I can read on-the-go, and then when I’m done or the loan expires, the book just disappears.

Working at a small organization means there’s never a shortage of work, so I generally find myself pretty burnt out by the end of the week. If I’m not hosting or going to a Shabbat dinner, I normally become best friends with my couch and whatever book I’m reading and/or the show I’m bingeing on Netflix.


Allie: Describe your dream DC day from start to finish.

Trey: It would be a Friday when I’m hosting a Beyond the Tent small group Shabbat. I’d wake up early (I don’t know how to sleep-in), listen to NPR Up First and The Daily while getting ready. Then I’d go on a run — either on the Metropolitan Branch Trail or a loop I run from my apartment in NoMA down to Navy Yard and back. This day I would do the Navy Yard loop so I could end my run at The Wydown on H Street NE and get coffee and their blackberry lavender scone — it’s my favorite!

After that, I’d venture down the street to Whole Foods to get food for Shabbat and then head home to cook and clean my apartment. Whenever I host, I love being able to look around the table and watch my friends — old and new — interact over good food and good conversation. It fills my cup — literally and figuratively.

Allie: If you could invite three people to your Shabbat dinner table, who would you invite and why?

Trey: This might be breaking the rules a little bit, but I would invite one music group and a dog! I like all kinds of music, but my favorite group is Matt and Kim – check them out on Spotify. One of the first things I did when I moved to DC was go to a Matt and Kim 9:30 Club show with my friend Dillon. It was awesome! Matt and Kim are much edgier and cooler than me, so they’d definitely make Shabbat dinner quite the experience. My other guest would be Butler’s new live mascot, Butler Blue IV, also known as “Blue.” Go follow him on Instagram, and you won’t need to know why I’d invite him!

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Trey: Friendships are made.


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.