Meet Bryan: Jewish DOJ Consultant of the Week

by Travis Hare / August 10, 2021

Bryan Gershkowitz is a self-described workhorse. Whether he’s burning the midnight oil for his consulting clients, at the gym, or teaching Hebrew School, he finds himself constantly on-the-go. We caught up with Bryan to learn more about his life and the ways in which his new dog, Bailey, has taught him to slow down while providing companionship during the pandemic.

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Allie: First, tell me what brought you to the DC area.

Bryan: American University brought me here; I went to AU. I fell in love with DC—it was never on my list before, but I have a visual processing disorder, so I was looking for colleges that had centers for accommodations. AU was one of the top for its size in the country. After visiting, DC went to the top of my list.

Allie: Where are you from originally?

Bryan: I’m from Los Angeles.

Allie: What are the biggest differences between LA and DC?

Bryan: In LA, you’re reliant on a car and parking. In DC you can be a lot more independent. You can take the metro yourself. You have a life that is a lot faster paced and a lot easier to make it that way. In LA, people are very laid back, whereas in DC people are very go go go. LA feels like a big overwhelming city. DC also feels like a big city, but it’s confined. You can be exposed to everything.

Allie: Do you go back to visit LA often?

Bryan: Yes, most of my family is there, northern California, or Arizona. I have very little family out here. Because my grandparents are older I get back there as often as I can.

Allie: Do you want to live in LA one day?

Bryan: While I love DC, there’s also something about LA that I miss a lot. I do plan to move back, probably the summer of 2022. I would love to live three weeks in LA, one week in DC, that would be the best of both worlds. It would be hard leaving the adult friends I’ve made in DC. I have friends in LA, don’t get me wrong, but they’ve lived lives in LA without me. So that’s a sort of scary change. It would be starting from the beginning, but it would be an exciting new start.

Allie:You do work in consulting. What motivated you to do that and what kind of clients do you work with?

Bryan: I really wasn’t sure coming out of college what I wanted to do—I knew I wanted to do something in the international business realm and I like solving big issues. Someone told me once that consulting is a lot of forming your own opinion and then stating it, and I’m very opinionated, so I raised my hand and I said, “sign me up.” Now I work with the government. What I’ve done over the last couple years is go in when they are in the middle of a big financial system implementation. Most recently, I was hired towards the beginning of a project and I figured out what they needed from the old system and the new system and how to do it. It comes with some mundane tasks I don’t like, but I love the bigger challenges.

 I’ll never stop learning. Consulting is great because it gives you exposure to a lot of different things.

Allie: Tell me about your dog, Bailey.

Bryan: I had been thinking about a dog, and I kept saying, when I move in by myself, if I can afford it, I will get a dog. When I finally made that move, I thought that I’d be fine just entertaining people, and then COVID happened. So I got to the point where I thought I needed something more than work to do in this space. I thought—I’ll have this time at home to train a dog, before going back to work, whatever capacity it will be. 

The breeder wasn’t local so he was shipped to DC, and of course when I met him the first thing I said was, “I’m going to love you like nobody else will love you.” Puppy world is not all glamour, but the fact that every morning the first thing he does is jump into my lap before I put on the harness to go walking, or he lays at my feet while I’m working, and the fact he’ll watch tv with me—it just has added such joy. He is so cute and there is nothing he can do that is wrong, even when I’m frustrated. So he adds joy and companionship, but he also forces me to stop. I am a workhorse and I used to be at the gym, on the treadmill every morning at 5 or 5:30 AM. Now I’m trying to get up at 5 to train Bailey. 

He is a constant reminder—he forces me to take a lunch break, he reminds me to stop at the end of the day, it’s been really good. I love and adore him.

Allie: Do you have any plans for the High Holidays?

Bryan: I usually do things with my family out in Rockville. I’m a second grade Hebrew School Teacher at Washington Hebrew Congregation. If I have friends that are going to Adas Israel, sometimes I’ll do that. Years where there aren’t, then I would go to Washington Hebrew with the Rockville family. So that’s probably where I’ll end up being this year.

Allie: What is a personal skill or hobby that you want to learn this year?

Bryan: I’d like to improve my cooking game. I like cooking from the perspective of entertaining friends, and I wouldn’t classify myself as a bad cook, but I’d like to improve. Cooking and baking. Baking makes no sense to me because it’s completely exact, total chemistry. I can put together cheeseboards and snacks, but the cooking piece I’d love to add.

Allie: Is there anything on your life bucket list–places you want to travel, things you want to do?

Bryan: I want to see the Northern Lights. I would like to get back to visit my host family in Jordan from studying abroad. Southeast Asian would be awesome. A lot of friends of mine have travelled, but I got stuck in the work world. Even my boss was like, “Go use your vacation.” I’ve done odd places—Eastern Europe—but I haven’t done London or Italy or a lot of the places you would think of when you think of Europe. Shopping in Italy. I’m a big shopper, so that’s on my bucket list.

Allie: And for our final question, please finish this sentence. “When Jews gather…”

Bryan: I think of community.

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