Meet Glenna! Glenna grew up in the DMV and is happy to be living back in her hometown. She loves educating people about Judaism and sharing her traditions. Glenna is an incredible baker (keep reading to hear about her amazing seven layer cake) and uses her baking to bring joy to the people in her life.
Hannah: What brought you to the DMV?
Glenna: I grew up in this area. After graduating college, I moved to New York, and lived there for almost a decade. After my time in New York, I moved back here. It’s nice to be back in DC and closer to family. I don’t really have any intention of leaving DC. The city has changed so much since I was a kid and it’s great to explore the diverse cultural opportunities DC has to offer as an adult.
Hannah: Could you describe your dream day in the DMV from start to finish?
Glenna: I would get up early and take my dog to the park, and we would have a good time there. And then I would go to Call Your Mother because they just opened a location near me. In my mind, the nicest thing about DC is the museums. It’s always a shock to me when I have to pay for a museum because I grew up with them being free! During my day, I would hit up the American History Museum and go back to the African American History Museum. Afterward I would get food at a restaurant that has outdoor seating so I can people-watch (truly one of my favorite activities). I would follow my extra long meal by going to a beer garden. Really what I want in a day is to learn something, eat something, and talk to people I enjoy being with.
Hannah: What is something that you do to relax or for fun at the end of the week?
Glenna: I like skincare and I always enjoy a good facemask, especially my Sunday routine of a mask and fresh new sheets; it’s amazing. But at the end of the day, I like to unwind and do something mindful or meditative that clears my head. I also do needlepointing which I have been doing since elementary school. I like to say that I’m aging into my personality.
Hannah: We heard that you’re a pretty amazing baker! Tell me more about how you got into baking.
Glenna: I used to stress bake when I was a teacher. I would bake cupcakes (not very well) and bring them to work. Now I have a full arsenal of tools and I’m into learning new techniques and making my cakes look as professional as possible. I could talk about different types of buttercream frosting for hours on end. I find that baking can be stressful because of all the moving pieces and you want to get everything right. But then, when it’s done you feel an amazing sense of pride and accomplishment.
Hannah: What’s a bake that you’re really proud of?
Glenna: So my dad is from New York and he loves seven layer cake. It’s not the easiest cake to make because the layers have to be super thin—and it’s easy to overbake a sponge cake. It’s a labor intensive cake since you have to layer and cut it perfectly so it stays upright. I have a great recipe now and lots of people have said that it’s the best cake they’ve ever had. The joy on my dad’s face when I make it for him is really really wonderful.
Hannah: How do you connect with your Jewish identity and or Jewish community?
Glenna: The part of Judaism I really enjoy is the community aspect, whether it’s a Shabbat dinner or a community event. At my parents’ events, there’s always a straggler, maybe a Jewish friend who needed a place to go or even a friend who wasn’t Jewish. It’s always fun to get together and share traditions. I like the education aspect of Judaism. When I was a teacher, most of my students didn’t know anything about Judaism, and I loved teaching them about it.
Hannah: Do you have a favorite Jewish food?
Glenna: I always make the charoset for Passover [Editor’s Note: Charoset is a mixture of fruit and nuts eaten on Passover that represents the mortar used by the Israelite slaves to build in Egypt]. It’s special to me because my maternal grandmother taught me how to make it and every year I’m in charge of making the charoset because I’m the only one who was taught the recipe by my grandmother.
Hannah: What is a piece of advice that you’ve received that’s stuck with you?
Glenna: One time I called a good friend of mine, and I was complaining about something. She asked me, “Glenna, do you want me to listen? Or do you want advice?” And I thought about it and realized I just wanted her to listen. That moment’s stuck with me, especially the idea that I’m able to advocate for what I need. I also think it’s made me a better listener.
Hannah: If time and money were no object what would you be doing right now?
Glenna: I’d be on the vacation of my dreams, hanging out in a thermal pool somewhere beautiful and preferably in the winter. I haven’t found it yet, though! Besides that, I would want to spend my time helping underserved people, specifically by providing women with small children with the skills and support that they need. I would particularly want to focus on helping people who are former felons to help give them options and opportunities because it’s so hard to do anything once you have that on your record, especially if you have small children. Also, I would love a personal assistant to deal with all the little time-consuming things you have to deal with in life and help to keep me on track and accountable.
Hannah: Complete this sentence: When the Jews of DC Gather…
Glenna: No one can get a word in! (haha)
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