Meet Ilana: Jewish Forager of the Week

by Rachel Kriegsman / February 2, 2021

Ilana Rubin loves to spend time outside. In fact, she came to DC with a mission to protect water and wildlife. When she’s not at her desk, you can find her outside foraging for mushrooms or training to be a forest therapy guide. Meet this fun, outdoorsy NoVA resident and learn what’s on her life bucket list (hint: it has to do with sustainable foraging)!

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

Ilana: I first moved to DC, excited to start a new job to protect water and wildlife. I’ve stayed in the area because I enjoy that DC is a city where I can see more of the sky, explore many neighborhoods in a small area, and find lovely outdoorsy spots. I’m living in northern Virginia now where there is a bit more room to roam, but I still look forward to getting back into DC to see friends, go to events, and explore more post-COVID.

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

Ilana: I’d head to Breeze Bakery Cafe for a red bean bun to start the day before going to a nearby park to guide a forest therapy walk with people from all around the DMV. (I’m currently in training to become a forest therapy guide!). It would be a warm day, so I’d go for a delicious ice cream from Jeni’s. Then, I’d spend some time reading and relaxing at home with my boyfriend before heading out to a blues dance (in a pre- or post-COVID world). A perfect dinner to wrap it up would be something homemade with garden-grown ingredients. And hot chocolate wouldn’t hurt, either.

Rachel: That sounds awesome. What do you do to relax or for fun at the end of a long week? 

Ilana: I could be exploring anywhere outdoors, working on my ukulele chops, foraging for mushrooms, dancing, gardening, journaling, forest bathing, taking photos, or reading.

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

Ilana: My sister, Miriam! She had such a spark for life, whether it was learning how to tap a maple tree for sap, playing with hamsters, baking pizza, going cross-country skiing, teaching kids at temple, or looking at pond critters.

Rachel: That’s beautiful, thank you for sharing. Okay, last question! What’s at the top of your life bucket list?

Ilana: I’d like to learn enough so that if I wanted to, I could find all the food I’d need for a while through sustainable foraging, gardening, fishing, or hunting. It would be a challenge, but a fun, rewarding, and tasty one.

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

Ilana: …they’re hopefully wearing masks and sharing laughs!


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