Meet Allie: Jewish Theatre Teacher of the Week

by GatherDC Staff / October 26, 2021

While Allie Heiman loves living in the nation’s capital, it can have its drawbacks. For instance, she’s had to face the hard facts that her apartment is not the ideal place for an alpaca. Nevertheless, Allie finds plenty of joy in her job as a theatre teacher for young adults and in the pleasures of morning walks and strong coffee. We caught up with Allie this week to learn more about what brought her back to the area after college and her affection for alpacas.

GatherDC: You grew up in the area?

Allie: I grew up in Bethesda and went to Washington Hebrew Congregation, where I’m now a member. I went to Washington University in St. Louis for college and never thought I’d move back right after undergrad. I realized I missed being in a place where the local newspaper is also a national paper, a place where even if people don’t have an opinion of what’s going on in the world they are aware of it. And then I realized how great it was living near my family and decided to stay!

GatherDC: What would your dream day in DC look like?

Allie: It’s one of those rare and amazing summer days where there’s no humidity and a slight breeze. Clearly COVID isn’t an issue and I’ve just left my in-person theater camp and jumped on the Metro to go downtown to meet my friends for Jazz in the Gardens. We’ve managed to get a perfect spot on the grass and everyone brings a potluck picnic as we listen to live music and catch up. Then we walk down to the Wharf, where we grab a drink at Pearl Street and listen to more live music, since they have their windows wide open.

GatherDC: How do you typically relax at the end of a long week?

Allie: By getting outside! A hike that ends at a winery or brewery is the best way to wind down from a week. 

GatherDC: What’s something you can’t get through the day without?

Allie: Coffee! I had a student graduate last year who never let me forget the time when she was in sixth grade and I tried to give up coffee for two weeks and couldn’t get anyone’s name right in the 8am class.

GatherDC: That’s hilarious! Tell us more about your job. You’re a teacher?

Allie: I’m a theater teacher at a 6-12 independent school. As a teen, I always loved working with kids younger than me. In undergrad, I realized my favorite part about doing theater was training others and helping them learn. I’m so lucky to have found a job that melds my passion for teaching with my love of theater!

GatherDC: Switching gears, how do you find yourself connecting with your Jewish identity or community? 

Allie:help to run Washington Hebrew Congregation’s LGBTQ+ Affinity Group, which is an affirming community and social space for people of all ages who identify as LGBTQ+ and their families, and I am a member of WHC’s 2239 steering committee. I love Shabbat dinners with friends, and I host a friendsgiving style potluck Seder each year.

GatherDC: Speaking of seders…if you could invite any three people to your Shabbat dinner, who would you choose?

Allie: My maternal grandmother, who I never knew, and my mom and grandfather. 

GatherDC: What’s your favorite High Holiday tradition or food?

Allie: My great-aunt’s chopped liver. It took me years before I realized that chopped liver was actual, factual chopped liver and not some dish that was just called “choppeliva”.

GatherDC: Amazing! Do you have any Jewish role models?

Allie: My great-grandparents, who made the decision in late 1930’s Germany to bring their family to the USA.

GatherDC: What is something you’ve gotten into over the pandemic?

Allie: New York Times Crosswords! I picked them up and now I’m hooked. It’s a fun thing for me and I can’t believe I didn’t realize that half the wordplay clues are puns! I like puns.

GatherDC: Beyond the crosswords, have you found any good life hacks for getting through the pandemic?

Allie: Morning walks. I hate mornings and need my coffee, but waking up a little earlier and going for a walk (especially if there’s coffee at the end of it) has really changed my work-from-home days for the better. 

GatherDC: Are there any skills you’d like to learn that you haven’t had a chance to try yet?

Allie: I want to learn German. I had planned to go to Germany through the Germany Up Close program, but it was delayed due to COVID. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to build a language foundation by the time I do get to go. 

GatherDC: What’s your favorite thing you’ve done this year so far?

Allie: I adore alpacas, and for my birthday my sister and brother-in-law surprised me with a backyard visit from two alpacas. It was such a joyful experience! Our whole family still grins whenever we talk about it. 

GatherDC: That’s incredible! Do you have any pets of your own?

Allie: I am a dog-aunt to my sister’s dog Dusty and a dog-sister to my parent’s pup Champ. My apartment is not dog-friendly (or alpaca-friendly, for that matter).

Gather DC: And finally, when Jews of DC Gather…

Allie: …We kibbitz and nosh!


Connect with Allie on Insta: @allie_hei & FB: