Introducing the incredible lawyer-to-be Rafaella! Rafaella came to DC for law school and loves exploring the city and experiencing Jewish life in the DMV. Find out all about Rafaella’s perfect day in DC (hint: it involves scootering) and learn why she is excited to be a lawyer!
Hannah: What brought you to the DMV?
Rafaella: I moved here about a year ago for law school. I’m at Georgetown Law. I’m still getting used to DC. I like it so far. I never really lived outside of the Northeast before this, so it’s different from what I’m used to but it’s been really interesting to be in a new city.
Hannah: You mentioned you’re in law school. What inspired you to become a lawyer?
Rafaella: I wanted to be a lawyer forever. There’s certain parts of law that I enjoy, like research analysis and stuff like that. I’m specifically interested in immigration law. My father immigrated here from Jamaica and my mother’s family immigrated here in the early 1900s. So immigration has always been a huge part of my life. When I realized I could combine law and immigration together I knew that this is what I want to do. When I was younger I actually wanted to be a doughnut maker, so this is definitely a shift.
Hannah: I know you are still new to DC but so far – Can you describe your dream day in the DMV from start to finish?
Rafaella: I would start by walking to a bookstore. I really like some of the bookstores in Adams Morgan. Then I would go to a cafe to read and hang out. After that I would walk or scooter around the city and explore different areas. Lastly, I would meet up with friends for drinks or dinner. That’s a perfect day for me.
Hannah: How do you connect with your Jewish identity and or Jewish community?
Rafaella: Part of the way I connect is just being around Jewish people, whether that’s at Jewish events or just in general. Having that community is really nice. Also, having Shabbat dinners is really nice as well. I’m still trying to figure out what Jewish life looks like for me here in DC. [Editor’s note: Need plans for the High Holidays? Check out our guide here]
Hannah: What is your favorite Jewish holiday?
Rafaella: I love Passover with my family. I always love the way we have the Seder [Editor’s note: a seder is the traditional Passover meal where we discuss the story of the Exodus from Egypt]. We all take turns reading from the haggadah [Editor’s note: a haggadah is the book of Jewish texts we use to teach and discuss the Exodus and the meaning of seder rituals] and telling our own little stories. I really enjoy that.
Hannah: If time and money were no object, what would you be doing?
Rafaella: I would spend time relaxing, reading, watching TV, and hanging out with people. I would also travel because I’ve never really traveled around the United States that much. I also really enjoy the work I’m doing, so I would like to volunteer or do pro bono work in immigration law. It would be a mixture of doing things to relax and also doing the things I love to do.
Hannah: What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Rafaella: Being in law school, you get advice from so many different people who are doing so many different things, but I think it’s most important to figure out what is important to you. It can be hard to figure out what you want when everyone’s telling you different things, so I think it’s important to figure out what works for you.
Hannah: If you could choose a fictional family or friend group to be a part of, which one would you choose?
Rafaella: I love watching ‘New Girl’ partly because I love the dynamic between the friend group. So I think that would probably be my pick. I feel like I would probably be a more grounding personality for the friend group.
Hannah: If you could invite anyone to your next Shabbat dinner who would you invite and why?
Rafaella: My middle name is actually Cleopatra! I’ve always been interested in Cleopatra so she would definitely be on the invite list. Also I would invite Beyonce. I love her and would love to get to know her.
Hannah: Last question! Complete this sentence: When the Jews of DC gather…
Rafaella: There’s such a diversity of different perspectives and experiences!