Meet Lev: Jewish Journalist of the Week

by Rachel Kriegsman / January 19, 2021

Lev Facher is passionate about writing and telling stories about issues that impact people’s lives. In his spare time, he loves exploring his Park View neighborhood and scoping out live music. Read more about Lev and some of the top spots on his 100+ destination travel bucket list!

Rachel: What brought you to DC and what made you stay?

Lev: Journalism was my main extracurricular in high school and college, but I didn’t consider it as a career until I was 21. As soon as I decided I wanted to pursue journalism professionally, I realized the most fulfilling path would be to write about public policy and issues that really impact people’s lives. So, I moved to DC in 2016 for whatever reporting internships I could find, and miraculously, the second of those internships became my full-time job. 

I write about health and science policy for the news website STAT, so it’s been an eventful four years, 2020 especially. But I haven’t just stayed in DC because of work – I love living here, Park View specifically. The Park View neighborhood is beautiful and walkable, I have made some amazing friends, and there’s great baseball, food, and music – which is all I really need. 

Lev reporting for STAT on BBC News

Rachel: Describe your dream day in the DMV from start to finish. 

Lev: This hypothetical post-pandemic Sunday seems exhausting and expensive, but since it’s a dream: I’d start slow and read in bed while I down a full French press, which happens most mornings. Later, I’d get brunch at the Ethiopian buffet at Heat Da Spot in Park View. Then I’d walk it off through Mt. Pleasant and into Rock Creek Park, grab beers on the Red Derby roof, and eventually find live music somewhere further south — Blues Alley, Kennedy Center, 9:30 Club, or The Anthem, depending what there is. And, if it’s possible, squeeze in a Nats game between the beer and the music.

Rachel: What do you do to relax at the end of a long week? 

Lev: I’ll give the quarantine version. Like many, I’ve stepped up my cooking/baking game, complete with a food-only Instagram (I don’t post much, though). Early on, I made challah almost every Friday afternoon — I got really perfectionist and scientific about it — until I realized that eating an entire loaf every weekend isn’t super healthy. My favorite new pandemic habit is that I’ve started keeping Shabbat. I turn off all electronics before lighting candles on Friday, maybe as a counter to the stress and work insanity that COVID-19 has brought. It’s incredibly calming. The lack of electronic distractions has re-taught me the skill of completely losing myself in a good book. I’ll often plow through a novel between Friday night and Saturday. If the weather is nice, I’ll go on a long walk. If I can plan ahead, I’ll invite a friend or see if someone wants to hang out from a responsible distance in Meridian Hill Park. 

Lev with his cousin catching a baseball game

Rachel: Do you have a Jewish role model who inspires you?

Lev: The first person who comes to mind is Chaim Potok, the rabbi and author. “The Chosen” was such a formative book for me as a kid. Early in my pandemic reading binge, I went back and reread it and its sequel, then tore through every word Potok ever wrote. His novels are really compelling and full of fantastic, understated commentary about how you can exist as an observant Jew and a modern, progressive-minded American at the same time. 

Rachel: What’s at the top of your life bucket list or where are places you’d love to travel? 

Lev: Travel-wise, everywhere! I’d like to visit 100 countries eventually. Though right now I’m not close. I’ve traveled a ton in Latin America and some in Europe, but never to Asia or Africa, and lately my travel to-do list is getting scarily long. The very, very short version includes Vietnam, Turkey, Tanzania, and a Trans-Siberian Railway adventure (i.e. Russia, plus maybe Mongolia and China). My sister is currently living in Jerusalem, and for obvious reasons I haven’t been able to visit her. I’d love to go explore Israel more, and Palestine too. Lastly, my family briefly lived in Argentina when I was about 13, and I’ve only been back once. Buenos Aires is incredible and I’d really like to spend more time there.

Lev’s only pandemic haircut, from his Jerusalem-based sister

Rachel: Complete this sentence – “When Jews of DC Gather…

Lev: Everyone seems to talk about how they went to “camp.” Not me! Unless you count jazz camp.


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