Meet Ava: Jewish Community Coordinator of the Week

by GatherDC Staff / October 20, 2021

Ava Gurman recently joined GatherDC as our Community Coordinator and newest member of our Engagement Team! This New Yorker went to University of Wisconsin-Madison (go Badgers!) before coming to DC, where she’s found ways to explore her passion for social justice. Read our 1:1 interview to get to know Ava and discover her love of biking and RBG!

GatherDC: Tell me about where you grew up and what brought you to the DC Area. 

Ava: I grew up in New York and came to DC after college through Avodah to complete a service year. After the program ended, I decided to stay in DC because I felt that I had grown such strong roots over the past year and was not quite ready to let those go.

GatherDC: Wow! Avodah is an incredible organization and experience. Tell us more about how you connect with your Jewish identity or Jewish community?

Ava: I find so much of my Jewish identity in service work, which is the initial reason I chose to apply to Avodah. However, living in the house and having communal dinners almost every night, I saw how food can be such an integral part of my Jewish life. I grew up kosher and have found that eating vegan combines my interest in food and service work.

GatherDC: What led you to this role at GatherDC? What are you most excited about in regards to this position?

Ava: When looking for a new job after my position at my Avodah placement ended, I knew I wanted to continue working with people. I have always loved connecting with Jews and learning about their lives. Looking forward, I am really excited to feel more a part of the Jewish community in DC as I continue to meet more of its members. [Editor’s note: sign up here to grab coffee with Ava!]

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

Ava: I would likely start with an early breakfast at Busboys and Poets. Next, I would go on a long bike ride with a friend or two. The ride to Alexandria and Bethesda have been two of my favorites so far. At the end of the day, I would come home to make dinner and watch the sunset on a friend’s roof!

GatherDC: What is something people might be surprised to learn about you?

Ava: I am 6 feet tall! During the pandemic most people meet me over zoom. I have been interested in how people respond when they see me in person for the first time and I am towering over them. 

GatherDC: What’s your favorite Jewish food?

Ava: I am from New York, so I legally think I have to say bagels.

GatherDC: Do you have a Jewish role model? If so, who and why?

Ava: My Jewish role models are Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Since I was a young child, my grandmother was a feminist north star. I can fondly recall memories with her at the breakfast table as she tried to explain to me the difference between Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, two revolutionary feminists I often naively mixed up. Though the ultimate figure in her house was one of her own classmates from James-Madison High School in Brooklyn, Kiki Bader. My grandmother’s fiery passion toward feminism and a greater, more just world easily channeled into my own, as well as an admiration of Justice Ginsburg.

GatherDC: When Jews of DC Gather…

Ava: They like to play Jewish Geography.