Meet Aaron: Jewish Disney World Lover of the Week

by Allison Friedman / May 20, 2020

Aaron Rifkind loves all things Disney and can’t wait for the next time he can wander through Tokyo DisneySea or enjoy the Indiana Jones ride. Get to know this travel-loving Shabbat host and get his pro-tip for Covid-19 coping.


Allie: What brought you to the DC area?

Aaron: I fell in love with DC when I visited as a college student. I came from LA for AIPAC and also did a summer program where they took college students to DC to learn about the area. We met with people at think tanks, congress members, and even visited the CIA which was amazing. I knew after I graduated that I had to move to DC. 

Allie: What do you like about living in DC?

Aaron: I like the friends that I’ve made here and that I don’t need a car. I like that I can be in a city that’s super accessible for walking, and with traffic that’s better than LA. The great friends I’ve made in DC’s Jewish community is also a big part of why I’m still here.

Allie: What led you on your current path?

Aaron: I initially started at AIPAC, but I wanted a career change so I did a total 180. I now work for the Consumer Technology Association and I get to use some of the skills I learned at AIPAC, like managing a budget and planning conferences but on a larger scale. 

Allie: What parts of Jewish DC are you involved in?

Aaron: I am currently involved in Nice Jewish Boys of DC, I’m on their kickball team and I participate in a lot of their events. My roommate Dan (and former Jewish Dog Lover of the Week) and I like to host Onetable Shabbat dinners as well.

Allie: What is the Nice Jewish Boys group?

Aaron: Its a group of gay Jewish men. They participate in DC Fray and Stonewall Sports and also host regular events like cook-offs and now Zoom Shabbats. This past January, we went to a gigantic house with 30 or so people and just hung out for the weekend. There were a lot of board games and a lip sync competition. I performed “Let It Go” and went up against the former kickball head coach which was very fun.


Allie: Has being involved in Jewish community always been important to you?

Aaron: Yes, being Jewish has always been a very central part of my life. I grew up going to Jewish day school and got to do an Israel exchange program in 10th grade, which I really enjoyed. When I was in college I got involved with Hillel and I was on the Hillel board. Anywhere I’ve moved, being a part of the Jewish community has been really important to me. 

Allie: If you could invite any three living people to a shabbat Dinner who would they be?

Aaron: 1) Dan Levy from Schitt’s Creek, which is one of my favorite shows, 2) Robert Downey Jr. because I love his personality and Iron Man is the best Marvel character, and 3) Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk since they seem to think differently than other people.

Allie: What is your dream day in DC (post-coronavirus)? 

Aaron: I would start my day off with Call your Mother bagels. I like walking a lot, so I would probably walk from Capitol Hill to Georgetown. On the way I would stop by the mall and check out the Museum of American History and then walk around Georgetown. Then, I would head back to Chinatown and hit up Zaytinya which is my favorite restaurant in DC

Allie: What is one coping tip you would offer to others during this pandemic? 

Aaron: Break up your to-do list into manageable chunks. 

Allie: What are some things on your life bucket list?

Aaron: I was supposed to go to Singapore this March, so I still hope to go there. I have been to 20 countries and I love Disney theme parks! My favorite is Tokyo Disneyland, it’s a lot cleaner and the staff are really nice. It’s everything in our parks but taken to the next level. 


Allie: How many times have you been to Disney parks? 

Aaron: I’ve been to Paris twice, Tokyo twice, Disney, California over 100 times because I grew up near there, and Disney World in Florida about 7 times.

Allie: What is your favorite section of Disney? 

Aaron: Tokyo has two parks and one of them is Tokyo Disney Sea, there is an Arabian themed Aladin area. They also have an Indiana Jones theme area with a fake volcano in the middle of the park that erupts. 

Allie: Do you have a favorite Disney ride?

Aaron: Indiana Jones. I think it’s the perfect blend of an immersive line experience because there are clues when you are waiting, and the vehicle is super reactive. Overall, it’s just great.

Allie: Is there something people would be surprised to know about you? 

Aaron: I grew up with a bird that my dad got in college. My dad passed away three years ago, and the bird currently lives with my mom in LA. Since my dad passed, I’ve gotten involved with a national nonprofit called The Dinner Party and we talk about grief and our lives over dinner. 

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Aaron: Everybody celebrates

aaron dan



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