Allie: What brought you to DC?
Andrew: I’m originally from Orlando, Florida and was most recently living in Boston. I moved to DC about 5 to 7 years ago for a job with Hillel International. They were building an Israel Education and Advocacy support branch and I was one of the regional support support staff.
Allie: It seems like you’ve built a really strong Jewish community in DC. How did you do that?
Andrew: Raechel, my wife, and I are both from the Hillel world, so we are used to gathering friends. Raechel lived here years ago and met a lot of people while working at the RAC. When I started working at Hillel, I met more Jews. We also became friends with some of the DC area rabbis, and recently started doing programs with The Den. We do couples learning at our house. We hosted around 30 people for our Tu B’Shevat seder, which is my wife’s favorite holiday! She even has her own Haggadah for it.
Allie: I hear you have a really adorable dog. Please tell me more about him.
Andrew: Jack Banks. He took my wife’s name like a good dog should. He is a rescue, and we think he is from Georgia and about a year old. We rescued him through the Humane Rescue Alliance. I was friends with the coordinator and she sent me a picture with his little nose poking out. I called my wife and told her we were picking him up. He is 12 and half pounds and is a beast. He’s the best.
Allie: Walk me through your ideal day in DC.
Andrew: I would start at Call Your Mother and have the place to myself: just me, the owners, and a bagel. Like a good Jew, I would then go home and take a nap. If I’m feeling fancy, I’d do the smoked salmon and whitefish with onion on an everything bagel or I’m feeling healthy I get the Za’atar bagel with radish and carrots. Then, I would either go to the zoo or The Air and Space Museum because I’m still a child on the inside. I have to talk to people, so I’d lead or take a Segway tour. I’d have lunch at any Jose Andrés spot and then get an oat draft latte at La Colombe. We’d finish the day at my new favorite restaurant Maydan. If it’s a perfect world, I’d also get froyo.
Allie: What do you do to relax at the end of a long day of work.
Andrew: I go to the dog park. I love that everyone knows the dogs’ names, but no one knows each others’ names. I’m also a sucker for The Great British Baking Show, it’s amazing. I also love to talk to people, so chatting with friends and catching up is nice.
Allie: If you could invite three people to Shabbat dinner, who would you invite?
Andrew: I would love to talk to Oprah, I would want Amy Poeler there to make it fun, and I’d invite the author of the Golden Compass – Philip Pullman.
Allie: What’s your favorite Jewish food?
Andrew: Okay, I think this is a trick question because not all traditional Jewish food is good, but lots of food Jewish people have adapted can be really delicious. I love Kubbeh soup – a great Iraqi dish. I also love Knafeh (best made by Palestinians) and hummus. You can tell I just want to be in The Shuk in Israel.
Allie: What is on your bucket list for the coming year?
Andrew: My wife and I are going to Thailand. I’m really excited to see elephants and go scuba diving! In terms of life bucket list, I never want to stop traveling.
Allie: What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
Andrew: I love gardening, I love to repot plants and arrange succulents. I do them as gifts for friends. My grandmother competes with African violets and I like that gardening is a hobby that connects me with her.
Allie: When the Jews of DC Gather…
Andrew: We’re a force to be reckoned with.