Meet Gabe Contino! Gabe has lived all over the world but he ended up in the DMV after studying at the University of Maryland. Fun fact, Gabe was the mascot during college (go Terps!). Gabe is a resident at Moishe House Arlington and he loves to spend time with his community. Read on to find out about Gabe’s many interests and adventures!
GatherDC: Where did you grow up?
Gabe: I actually grew up in many different places. My dad was a doctor in the Army so we moved around a lot. I was born in Georgia but I’ve lived in Florida, South Carolina, and then spent all four years of high school in Germany.
GatherDC: Wow it sounds like you’re quite the traveler. Do you have a favorite place you’ve lived or traveled?
Gabe: My favorite place that I’ve traveled to is Norway. I visited during the winter when I was in high school. We went on a dog sledding tour and saw the Northern Lights. It was absolutely beautiful and one of the coolest things I’ve done. The great thing about living in Germany was how easy it was to travel and explore Europe. Germany was definitely my favorite of all the places I’ve lived.
GatherDC: So after all your globe-trotting what brought you to the DMV?
Gabe: I attended the University of Maryland, College Park so that’s what originally brought me here.. A fun fact about me is that I was the UMD mascot during my time as a student. I got to travel to cool athletic events and it was a really awesome experience for me. Just being the mascot is really fun; it requires a lot of energy but it is also really fun to mess with people. After college I got a job in the area and wanted to be a Moishe House resident so that’s how I ended up staying.
GatherDC: Could you describe your dream day in the DMV from start to finish?
My dream day ideally would be during late spring when there is great weather. First I would bike into Georgetown and get brunch somewhere. Then I would walk around with my friends and explore the monuments. Afterwards we would get food from one of the trucks on the National Mall. For dinner I would get Ethiopian food with my friends from Letena. And then I would end the day with a Moishe House happy hour in our backyard, some drinks, and just spending time with my friends and housemates. [Editor’s note: want to see what events Moishe House Arlington has coming up? Check out their upcoming gatherings on their calendar!]
GatherDC: What’s one thing that you can’t get through the day without?
Gabe: I would say a nice homemade breakfast in the morning. I think that’s a really important part of how I start my day. I have a delicious pesto bagel that I make every morning and I feel like it just starts me off on the right foot. Making breakfast helps me get my mind ready for the rest of the day.
GatherDC: If you were having Shabbat dinner and you could invite any three people, who would you invite?
Gabe: I think I would invite Obama, Lebron James, and my girlfriend. Obama would light the candles and Lebron would be in charge of doing the challah reveal.
GatherDC: Wow sounds like quite the dinner crew! What do you do to relax or for fun at the end of a long week?
Gabe: At the end of a long week, I really like to get out and be active. When it’s nice outside I’ll go to the local park and play pickup soccer and pickup basketball. I also really like to run. I ran my first marathon right before COVID hit. I also like exploring and trying new restaurants. I love to travel in general so any kind of exploration is super fun.
Gather DC: Congrats on the marathon! Do you have any other hobbies we should know about?
Gabe: Well, I’ma jazz drummer and I was in the University of Maryland Jazz Band up until COVID. I also really like to bake. I think my favorite things to bake are my seven layer bars and pizza. I have Italian heritage and during COVID I decided to find a way to make really good thin crust pizza. And I think I’ve gotten that down pretty good now!
GatherDC: How do you connect with the Jewish community?
Gabe: My main connection to the Jewish community right now is through my involvement with Moishe House Arlington. When I lived on the military base in Germany there weren’t that many Jews there. So being a Moishe House resident has been an incredible way for me to learn more about Judaism and meet fellow Jews.. I think that after college, it can be really hard to find a social circle, but being in a Moishe House has really helped with that. I’m meeting new people all the time. I’ve also become close with my roommates because we work very closely with each other and share the same space.
GatherDC: Final question! Complete this sentence: When the Jews of DC Gather…
Gabe: We play Jewish geography!
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