Abby Shulman, the Jewish fellow at Abrahamic House, loves all things food and comedy related. Whether she’s planning her perfect day in DC or her dream Shabbat dinner, Abby likes to surround herself with laughter and delicious treats. Curious about Abby’s favorite comedians and Jewish foods? Read the full blog to find out!
GatherDC: What brought you to DC? And what made you stay?
Abby: I grew up in California and lived for six years in Texas. After that, I imagined myself trying one more spot in my 20s somewhere on the East Coast. I happened to get a job in DC, and I thought, “it’s meant to be!” And here I am. I moved here in November of last year…I think DC is such a pretty city to walk around. I love seeing the architecture, getting coffee, and exploring on foot. DC’s walkability is remarkable to me. As someone who grew up in LA and then lived in Houston this is the first time since I was 15 that I haven’t driven every day.
GatherDC: Could you describe your dream day in the DMV?
Abby: First, I would wake up and go for a run in Rock Creek Park. Then I would get a bagel from Bagels Etc. [Editor’s note: Want more bagel content? Check our Instagram for the GatherDC bagel bracket] After that I would head over to Eastern Market to get some groceries and lots of delicious little snacks. In the afternoon I would take a casual stroll around the city and then get sushi for dinner. Post-dinner I would go see a show at Underground Comedy, my favorite BYOB comedy spot in Petworth, with friends and then call it a night.
GatherDC: What do you do to relax at the end of a long week?
Abby: I love to host Shabbat dinner. It’s not the most relaxing activity to prepare for, but once the food is cooked I can really enjoy myself. Living at Abrahamic House has also given me access to an instant community, so cooking Shabbat feels like a small way to give back. If I’m really trying to relax-relax, I’d probably veg out with a comedy special on the couch.
GatherDC: As someone who loves to host Shabbat, if you could invite any three people to your Shabbat dinner who would they be?
Abby: I would invite some of my favorite comedians: Aparna Nancherla, Michelle Buteau, and Chelsea Peretti. Just funny ladies and good vibes only.
GatherDC: How do you connect with your Jewish identity and/or Jewish community?
Abby: I connect with Judaism largely through food. Growing up, my family was very food-oriented–lots of competitive hummus making in my household. Now I connect to Jewish life in ways beyond food. I find a lot of value in services and ritual. The reason I like Shabbat dinners so much is because they are a lovely combination of food, community, and a little bit of ritual to bring depth.
GatherDC: Do you have a favorite Jewish food?
Abby: Hmm, that’s a really tough one. I love a lox bagel, I love babka, but if there was one food I could take with me into the afterlife it would probably be matzah ball soup.
GatherDC: What is one thing that you can’t get through the day without?
Abby: Coffee is a lame answer, but it is coffee. Also I love to FaceTime my friends. I get made fun of for being on the phone constantly, so I don’t think I could make it a day without a call home.
GatherDC: Do you have any hobbies that you’re really excited about?
Abby: I like to run, read, and cook. I really love to eat. Eating is probably my main hobby, so let me know if you have any must-try DC spots!
GatherDC: What is the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received?
Abby: An old friend recently said to me, “as long as you can find good people it all flows from there.” I thought that was great, simple advice and it’s been so true for me. In my experience it doesn’t really matter where you live or work or go to school—as long as you find a couple of good people all the rest will flow from there.
GatherDC: Last question: Can you complete this sentence—When the Jews of DC Gather…
Abby: You meet your friend’s former camp counselor’s cousin—there are always unexpected new friends to be made!
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