Meet Dane: Jewish Teacher of the Week!

dane

Allie: Tell me how you found yourself in DC?

Dane: Well I have GatherDC to thank for that, more specifically Julie Thompson. She is my roommate, and my girlfriend; we share a one bedroom apartment in Columbia Heights. She sleeps in the bedroom, and I sleep on the couch. She’s the one who got me to move down here. I used to live in Baltimore and used to hate DC, but I finally came down and turns out DC is a pretty great city.

Allie: Where are you from originally?

Dane: I’m from Laurel, Maryland. It’s roughly between DC and Baltimore. Then, I went to undergrad at College Park. Living in DC is actually my first time living outside maybe a 30-mile radius. 

Allie: What inspired you to become a teacher? 

Dane: Is masochist the one where you like to hurt yourself? I just wanted to set myself up for a bad time. Kidding! 

Really, I’ve never been a big fan of school. Growing up, I had a couple of teachers that pushed me to go above the bare minimum, and it really helped me want to strive for excellence in the work I did. They paid attention, and made me feel really proud of working hard. It had a major impact on my life, and I wanted to do the same for others. So, I became a teacher.

Allie: What grade and subject do you teach?

Dane: I teach 7th grade English and 6th grade reading. I originally wanted to teach high school in New York, because I wanted to move away from this area and be on my own somewhere new. In grad school, I was placed in a middle school in the last county I wanted to be in – Howard County. They told me I would be there for one quarter and then would move to a high school. By the time that quarter was up, there were claw marks in the walls because I didn’t want to leave, and I beat down the door of that middle school when I was looking for a job. It’s such a great place to be. 

Allie: What are your favorite things about teaching?

Dane: The kids, they’re great. They are full of life, full of energy and enthusiasm – which is a blessing and a curse. High school is very grade driven, where students are constantly thinking about how to get A’s and how things will benefit them later. 

Middle school students really make me think about the purpose of what I do here: what is the meaning behind it? Why should they care? When you hit that groove it’s such a fulfilling feeling. You have a lot of freedom to make an impact and help others learn how to make an impact.

Allie: What’s the most challenging part? 

Dane: It’s a very big time commitment and it’s a very big emotional commitment. I’ve moved around to different curriculums every year I’ve been teaching, which is exhausting. You have to anticipate how things will go for the first time. Grading is ridiculous as an English teacher, and then emotionally you have kids going through the biggest changes of their lives. You have to anticipate that and work with that to help them get through it, which is worthwhile but tiring. 

Allie: Why did you choose to teach English?

Dane: My dad told me I should be an English major because I like to read and am a good writer. If I could go back I would think about science. I am not a natural scientist by any means, but I taught a sustainability course last year and it’s a really cool thing to teach. 

Allie: What is your perfect day in DC, assuming you don’t have school and have unlimited money to spend. 

Dane: I’ll wake up, feed former Jewish Cat of the Month Chloe, and then make coffee. Ideally the weather outside is low 70s – a nice, sunny day. I’ll go for a walk, and then Julie and I would go to RedRocks and sit on the patio. I’d get myself RedRocks’ hash because it’s the best breakfast food that’s ever been created. After that, I would go downtown and spend some time at the museums. I’d grab lunch at a burger joint with outdoor seating. Then, I’d find a good rooftop bar and meet up with some friends. After that, I’d go to Meridian Hill Park and watch a beautiful sunset. Then, I’d go to dinner with some friends, and be sure to crawl into bed by 9:30. 

dane

 

Allie: How do you relax after a long work day?

Dane: I like my couch. I’ll sit on the couch, close the door, and light a candle. I like to put my things away so I’m sitting in a nice clean space, and take a little bit of time to have some quiet and watch the sunset.

Allie: Do you have any resolutions for the year ahead?

Dane: Oh yeah, whether or not they’re going to be fulfilled is another thing. This last decade was one of major shifts. I started college in 2010, finished in 2015 with grad school. A lot of it was very youthful – figuring out who I am. It came with a lot of anxiety around not knowing what was going to happen next. This year, I just want to think less and do more. My first instinct is usually good but I don’t always follow it, and I need to trust myself more. 

Allie: Are there any places you want to travel to?

Dane: I haven’t really been outside the country, so my next big thing is international travel. Julie loves to travel and I’ve been along for the ride with her, which has been awesome. I’d love to go to a place that’s a little outside my comfort zone, somewhere where I’m not as familiar with the language and can get immersed in a culture that’s very unlike mine. I’d also love to continue to visit national parks, especially out west. The parks there are more beautiful than anything you can see in a picture. 

dane Allie: Do you have a favorite Jewish holiday?

Dane: I would say Passover, I really enjoy having people over for Passover, and all the food that we make. I come from a family of great cooks, where there was always plenty of good food to go around. My mom makes an unbelievable brisket for Passover and my dad also makes a great matzah ball soup. I’m also fascinated by Purim, but haven’t really celebrated it before. 

Allie: What’s something someone might be surprised to know about you?

Dane: I’m very introverted. I do not get my energy from being around people. I try very hard to be friendly, and I think people expect me to be more extroverted than I am. Julie and I have figured out that she is definitely more extroverted, whereas I am usually quite worn out after talking. 

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Dane: Hopefully it’s on M Street! 

dane

Meet Arianna: Jewish Traveler of the Week!

Have a suggestion for a Jewish Person of the Week? Email allisonf@gatherdc.org to nominate your friend, colleague, partner, or even yourself!

Arianna

Allie: How did you wind up living in the DC area?

Arianna: I was in college during the 2016 election and was pre-med. I was not politically active at the time, I was doing immunology research! I was able to go to the Hill to advocate for the NIH and was really moved by that experience: it seemed like staffers cared about what I had to say. After that experience, I moved to Los Angeles to intern for Senator Harris after I graduated. That brought me to my first-ever campaign, and I got bitten by the bug. After my fourth campaign in New York, I was exhausted; I wanted to be somewhere where I could be involved in politics, but not have to move around so much. So I ended up getting an internship on the Hill in DC. 

Allie: After going from pre-med to politics, do you still have an interest in the medical field?

Arianna: Yeah! I’m actually getting my Masters in Public Health and Health Policy from GW part-time while I work full-time. I’m still on a medical track and still very interested in medicine. Right now, it’s a time to keep being involved politically and that’s where my focus is. But I’ve always wanted to find a way to help people in a tangible way, and medicine makes it feasible to do this. I wanted to be a pediatric surgeon, to travel abroad and work with children.

Allie: Outside of work, are you a big traveler?

Arianna: I didn’t used to be. I did not study abroad in college. I went on one medical mission to Jamaica and then I went to Israel on Birthright. I’m so grateful I got to go on Birthright, it blew my mind. Once I started working, I didn’t really take anytime for vacations until this past year, when I went to Italy with my Nana. It was beautiful, and made me realize I wanted to start seeing places I’d always wanted to go to. So my friend Daria and I planned a trip to Bali. That was amazing. And after that, I was like “okay – where can I go next?!” 

Allie: So, where are you going next?

Arianna: I already have plans to go to Spain and Australia later this year. Australia has always been the number one place I wanted to go. I’ve always loved Outback Steakhouse. Right now I’m going alone, but I’m confident I can make friends along the way.

Allie: What else is on your travel bucket list?

Arianna: Ireland and Greece. I also really want to go to England, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine.

Allie: What excites you the most about traveling?

Arianna: The people you meet along the way. I never knew there was such a vast community of people out there who are kind of transient. It’s people our age who are taking time off, and paying their way by working at hostels or have saved up to travel for a few months. I met people who were traveling for 6 months and some up to 2 years!

arianna

Allie: Walk me through your dream DC day?

Arianna: I’d wake up, and then go for a long walk from Arlington to DC along the Mount Vernon Trail. I’d stop for a coffee somewhere. Then I’d go to the American History Museum because I love politics and history. Then, I’d walk past the old Newseum and pretend it’s not closed. I’d look at all the newspapers of the day. Then, I’d sit outside of the Capitol and read for a bit. Later on, I’ll head to dinner with some friends. I’d finish the day on the Pod Hotel’s rooftop.

Allie: Did you set any resolutions for 2020? 

Arianna: Well, one of my friends guilted me into signing up for the Chicago Marathon lottery – and I got picked! Once you get picked in the lottery, you are in. They charge you and it’s non-transferable. So, what I decided to do to prepare for the marathon is to run one race a month. I ran my January one on January 1st in DC. I have almost every month set up. I’m doing the Nashville half marathon for St. Jude’s in April. I’m not a huge runner by any means, but I do Orange Theory regularly and like running. I just started using the Nike run app to help with my training.

Allie: How do you stay so motivated?!

Arianna: 2018 was a really hard year for me and 2019 was a recovery year. In June 2018, we lost the election I was working on – so my job ended. My relationship ended, and I was supposed to move in with him. My lease was up. I kind of felt like everything was crumbling. I ended up moving to Arizona and was not happy there, so I moved home to New York. I started questioning everything and wondering if I should have stuck with the medical path. I finally moved to DC, but was living here for months without a job. My first six months in DC I hated it here. So, this past year has been a big rebuilding year for me. I forced myself to come to social events so I could make friends and build a community. I went to Gather events and JWI’s Young Women’s Leadership Conference. I really want to get back to living the best version of myself.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Arianna: You learn a lot about yourself through others.

arianna

 

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Meet Corey: Jewish Nats Fan of the Week!

corey

Allie: What brought you to the area?

Corey: I grew up in Bethesda, Maryland and have several friends from high school who moved back to the area after college. We’ve maintained a core group of guys who have been close for 20+ years, and that combined with DC having job opportunities in my field brought me back here. I’ve also always liked DC, it has worldly people and is a nice balance size-wise.

Allie: Tell me about where your interest in working in politics came from.

Corey: My dad is a First Amendment lawyer, and growing up – he would always cut out clips from The Washington Post and put them on my breakfast table in the morning. I always had more to read than I could possibly take on. Little did I know, I’d have my name in The Washington Post one day as a spokesperson for a politically-active organization. But originally, I wanted to be a journalist. 

When I was an undergrad at Syracuse, I began to find my way when I interned for Chuck Schumer. I was a communications and constituent services intern, and really enjoyed seeing how government responds to people’s needs and how the media can drive attention to problems in the community. That set me in the direction of working in political communications. So when I graduated from Syracuse, I got a job with a campaign. Ultimately, I worked at a political media firm and today work in media relations for a legal services  organization that specializes in election law, the Campaign Legal Center

Allie: What is it like working for Campaign Legal Center?

Corey: I’ve been there since September 2016 – it’s been a time of great change. When I started there we were a staff of 16 full timers, and today we have a total of 53 staff. Being part of the maturation and growth of an organization has been the experience of a lifetime. The 2016 election was definitely awakening in many regards. As a result, more people see the need to fund democracy work because they are increasingly aware that our election system needs the proper infrastructure in order to protect people’s voting rights. That’s what is at stake when I go to work every day. 

Allie: Walk me through your perfect day in DC from start to finish.

Corey: If I could pick a perfect day, it would be to re-live the day the Nationals won the World Series. But that may only happen once in a lifetime. I love seeing Nats games and also like to watch basketball, hockey, and football. A good breakfast and early start is important. I’d have bacon, eggs, yogurt, a little coffee. A good workout helps me feel more alert and present. I’d enjoy a walk through the American History Museum or the National Portrait Gallery, since people in other cities don’t get to take advantage of what we have here in DC. Dinner would be sushi or steak. After, I’d have a big party with my friends. It would be a fancy, catered party maybe at The Monaco or The Willard.

corey

Allie: Are you a big Nationals fan?

Corey: Oh, yes. I was a day 1 fan of the Nationals when they came to DC in 2005. I take immense personal credit for their victory. Baseball was the first sport that I ever loved, I played through high school. Today, I play on a softball team through Beth El, which is the synagogue I grew up going to.

Allie: Do you have any resolutions for 2020?

Corey: One of the lessons my mom used to teach me was to not wish time away, and to appreciate the regular days more thoroughly. So, I want to appreciate Mondays more. Also, I’d really like to find something in the Jewish community to get involved with that fits my personality.

Allie: Who is your Jewish role model?

Corey: My grandma. Her optimism lights up a room. She’s always upbeat and is friends with everybody. She really appreciates people and takes time to get to know their name even if they are somebody she will likely never see again. She’s also a really good cook.

Allie: What’s your favorite way to relax at the end of a long work day?

Corey: I’m in a book club where we read fiction novels. Right now, we’re reading Midnight’s Children, which is really long! I also like watching and playing sports. 

Allie: When Jews of DC gather…

Corey: We respond with, “I know it’s a big school” when the person we are talking to at the event does not recognize the family friend’s name. Nevertheless, we proceed to list every name we know that went to the same college. When the person doesn’t know any of them, we proceed to find things in common about our shared knowledge of east coast suburbs.

corey

 

Have a suggestion for a Jewish Person of the Week? Email allisonf@gatherdc.org to nominate your friend. colleague, partner, or even yourself!

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

 

Meet Julia R. – Future Jewish Talk Show Host of the Week

Julia Ring (not to be confused with last week’s Jewish Julia of the Week) dreams of one day becoming a talk show host, embarking on the ultimate Italian adventure, and a future where better frozen dessert options exist in DC. Get to know this fun-loving, energetic, extroverted woman!

julia

Allie: How did you wind up living in DC?

Julia R: I went to the University of Maryland and stuck around after graduating. I think it’s a really good sized city, but there’s still lots to do – I felt very comfortable here. For the past two years, I’ve been working at an online tech company, 2U.

Allie: What would be your dream career?

Julia: My dream, dream job would be to be a talk show host, like to have Ellen’s job. 

Allie: Walk me through your perfect day in DC.

Julia: I love when you have a Sunday and the timing of everything works out perfectly. In the morning, I’d do a workout class – probably Flywheel or 305 Fitness. Then, I’d get breakfast at the Dupont Farmers’ Market. I’d walk around with a friend and get coffee. In the later afternoon, I’d go see an improv show. After that, I’d get dinner at a restaurant that I really like, maybe Farmers and Distillers. I’d like to get a frozen dessert somewhere, but there really is a lack of good ice cream options in the city. That’s my number one gripe with DC.

julia

 

Allie: Is improv something you like to just watch, or do you also do it?

Julia: I’m taking improv with the Washington Improv Theater, that’s been really fun. I did improv stuff in high school and I had the most fun. The WIT class became a great way to meet new people as an adult. I feel like after college we have few opportunities to learn something new and get better at, and this was a chance to do that. I would also get to put my phone away for two and a half hours, which is a rarity in this day in age. Some people from my old class are forming an indie improv team and I might join it. I’m not that good though, I’d like to put that on the record! 

Allie: Do you have any resolutions for 2020?

Julia: I want to be better at planning trips. I really like traveling, but am not great about planning them. My timing always seems to be off. I’d love to go to a few national parks. I want to go to Acadia, Arches, the parks around Sedona. I also really want to plan a Europe trip. Italy has been number one on my list for a long time.

julia ringAllie: What is your favorite Hanukkah tradition?

Julia: I realize that my love language is gift-giving. I’m just like my mom and we are both always on the hunt for presents to give to friends. I’m a big board games person and want to get some people fun games.

Allie: When Jews of DC gather…

Julia: There is really good and stimulating conversation.

julia dc

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Meet Julia: Jewish Book Club Founder of the Week

julia

Allie: What brought you to DC?

Julia: I am from Denver and moved to DC in 2014 without a job, right after graduating with my masters in public policy because I love this city. I’d spent three college summers interning in DC and knew I wanted to be here. I moved into an apartment that I actually found through Gather’s housing board.

Allie: That is amazing! Tell me more about this apartment.

Julia: I moved into this beautiful, special apartment in Dupont Circle. It was a two bedroom apartment that was converted into a four bedroom in 2009 by a group of Jewish girls. They kept a kosher kitchen, and the apartment has since been passed down from Jewish girl to Jewish girl since 2009. I think to date, almost everyone who has moved in found out about it through Gather’s housing board. I’m not being paid to say this! In my time there I lived with 10 different women, and am still friends with all of them. 

Allie: Where did your interest in public policy come from?

Julia: I volunteered on the Obama campaign in 2008, and that’s where I started getting into policy and politics and how they are intertwined. I volunteered on a number of campaigns and government offices after that. After graduating with a masters in public policy, I worked doing natural oil and gas policy, and now work as a small woman-owned consulting firm called WWC, where my clients have been the US State Department and Navy.

Allie: Walk me through your perfect day in DC.

Julia: It would be a sunny spring-time day after the cherry blossom rush but before humidity hits. I’d go for brunch in the morning, likely at Boqueria. Then, I’d go on a monument walking tour of DC. I have a special route I like doing whenever people visit me in DC. It starts in Dupont, goes to the White House, then past the White House to the Washington Monument, then to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, and then around the corner to the FDR Memorial, to the MLK Memorial, back to the Mall, then through the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial. If you have it in you, we’d then walk to Baked and Wired in Georgetown for a cupcake. I’d eat at Sakana in Dupont, which is my favorite sushi restaurant. I’d end the day in Kramerbooks, followed by a White Ford Broncos concert.

Allie: With the New Year fast approaching, what are you most looking forward to in 2020?

Julia: I am getting married this year in August! I’m very excited about that. I’m also excited for a new election and being able to get a fresh start.

julia

Allie: What are your go to ways to relax?

Julia: Being busy is relaxing for me. I run a book club, we read books written by women and meet once a month. I am also involved in the ADL’s Glass Leadership Institute this year, I’ve been taking weekly Hebrew classes, and volunteer as a Sixth & I ambassador where I help out at their events. 

Allie: How did this book club come about? 

Julia: I had a bunch of friends who were moving away from DC because this city is very transient, and I wanted to find an organized way to get all of my friends together. I sent out an email to my girlfriends and said we should start a book club, I told them to bring a friend, and made the only parameter that we read books written by women because I had read an article that women authors aren’t paid as much – so I figured let’s have women support other women. We read a variety of types of books, from The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood to Becoming by Michelle Obama, and we just read City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. I send out a Google poll for people to vote on the book we read and a Doodle poll to select the meeting dates. We meet every month where we talk about the book, drink wine, and eat cheese.

Allie: What three books would you recommend to people to read over the winter holidays?

Julia: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, Educated by Tara Westover and Where the Crawdad Sings by Delia Owens.

Allie: Who is your Jewish role model?

Julia: My mom. She always made Judaism so fun and important for me growing up. 

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Julia: Fun is sure to be had!

julia

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Meet Matt: Jewish Linguist of the Week!

matt

Allie: What brought you to DC?

Matt: I’m a DC area native. I grew up in Potomac, MD so for me, coming back to DC was a sensible step to be closer to my family. I missed DC after being away for a while in Israel and then Philly. I missed the greenery, the funky neighborhoods, the beautiful architecture, and the incredible bookstores.

Allie: What were you doing in Israel?

Matt: I was in Israel for a year and a half starting in July 2017. I speak a bunch of different languages including Hebrew, Arabic, and Yiddish, and while living there, I got to use these languages almost every day. I was working as a PR freelancer to fund my experience there, and was mostly there to travel and explore. I traveled to 120 different towns and cities in Israel and 10 different European countries. I blogged about all of it, so you can read about some of my adventures

Allie: I hear you recently landed a job as the new director of GLOE. Tell me about that!

Matt: Full disclosure, today is my second day on the job. But, GLOE is the Gay and Lesbian Outreach and Engagement program of the EDCJCC. It’s the only program of its kind through a JCC in the country. It’s social, cultural, spiritual, and offers people an opportunity for queer Jews to really plug into a Jewish space. It also offers Jewish institutions that are not specifically from this community an opportunity to make their spaces more welcoming and engaging for the LGBTQ+ community. If you’re interested in plugging in, reach out to me!

Allie: What are you most excited about for this role?

Matt: I get to be in my space! I’ve spent a lot of time working in refugee and immigrant communities, where I was in a mostly Latino community, so it’s very different that I get to work in a Jewish and gay space where I don’t have to explain anything about myself. I have so many allies around who get it.

Allie: Are there any GLOE events coming up people should know about?

Matt: Nice Jewish Boys is hosting a Latke Cook-off on December 14th. GLOE is hosting a volunteer event at the Edlavitch DCJCC on December 25th as part of the broader D25 community event.

matt

Allie: Describe your perfect DC day.

Matt: First, I’ll go to Torah Brunch at Bread Furst, and then walk around the Hillwood Estate. Then, I’ll go to a few bookstores. Some of my favorites are The Lantern, Second Story Books, and Kramer Books. I might read at Teaism after the bookstores. For dinner, I’ll go to Paragon Thai. The people there are so nice – for my birthday one year, they gave me gifts. I love Paragon Thai – go visit! After dinner, I’d like to go to my favorite language exchange event where you write the languages you speak on a nametag and can walk around and practice with people.

Allie: What are all the languages do you speak?

Matt: English, Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Catalan, and intermediate Yiddish. 

Allie: What about language interests you and how did you ever manage to learn all of these?!

Matt: I love language because it just opens your mind to a different world, you can meet new friends, and you learn about different ways of being and thinking. For me, I’m a big music fan so I will sometimes learn a language because I like the music that it’s sung in. I usually learn languages from a private tutor, and practicing and teaching. I actually teach Hebrew, Spanish, and French. If you want to learn a language – contact me. I think private tutoring is the most effective way to learn, and then you need to use it.

Allie: Are there other languages you want to learn?

Matt: Oh my god, yes. I’ve studied some Greek and am considering taking German or Italian. I found a language exchange person who knows Romanian and wants to learn Spanish, so hopefully we will get together and learn from each other. 

Allie: What’s your favorite language?

Matt: I like Spanish because you can use it almost everywhere in America. French makes me relaxed. But I love all of them.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Matt: They can and should find interesting questions to ask each other besides “What do you do?”

matt

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Meet Sam: Jewish Moishe House Resident of the Week!

sam

Allie: What brought you to DC?

Sam: I was living in Indonesia as part of the Boren Scholars, which is a year-long post-grad language program. I went before officially graduating from the University of Maryland because I wasn’t ready to enter the workforce just yet. I decided to go, learn a new language, and then would work for the government in DC when I came back. 

While I was in Indonesia, I felt far removed from any sense of Jewish community, and decided to apply to be a Moishe House resident in DC. I’d heard about Moishe House from my friend Alyssa Silva, a former resident. I applied to live in Moishe House Capitol Hill and unfortunately didn’t make the cut, but luckily they forwarded my application to Moishe House Northern Virginia and I got in! 

Allie: What was your experience like in Indonesia?

Sam: It was a small cohort of 11 people, and was unlike any experience I’ve ever had. I lived with a host family, and spoke Bahasa which is the national language. But, there are hundreds of local languages in Indonesia, and where I lived most people spoke Javanese. 

Before that experience I had always lived in very Jewish environments, growing up in Jewish day school and then going to the University of Maryland. When I get to Indonesia, people didn’t know anything about Jews or if they did, it was likely a conspiracy theory. Judaism is not one of their recognized religions, which is a problem for the underground Jewish communities there. I told my host family about my Jewish religion after the Pittsburgh massacre, because my grandparents live in Pittsburgh and it was a very emotional time for me. I was really lost and didn’t know what to do, and tried explaining to them where I was coming from and how I was feeling. They were understanding about it. 

Allie: Was that your first experience studying abroad? 

Sam: No. After high school, I went to Bar Ilan University for their Israel Experience One Year Program and took college classes and Judaic studies classes. In the evenings I was a volunteer first responder

Allie: Describe your dream day in NoVA.

Sam: Waking up at 9:00am and then finish prepping the food I’d started last night for a Moishe House brunch event. My friends would come and we’d have a lot of people enjoying brunch, and maybe get tipsy on mimosas. Then probably walk around Arlington with my girlfriend Sarah, maybe do some jump roping. I’d end the day going swing dancing in DC.

sam

Allie: Why did you decide to apply to Moishe House?

Sam: At college, I studied International Development & Conflict Management, and Global Terrorism. I dedicated a lot of my academic career to understanding extremism, and how to combat it by taking a whole society approach and mobilizing communities to create acceptance and strive for dialogue. Part of why I joined Moishe House was so I could take what I learned from a community building perspective and put it into practice.

Allie: What is it like living in Moishe House NoVA?

Sam: It’s a surprising adventure every day. It’s been a real growth experience from a personal standpoint and a programmatic standpoint as I learn to create events people actually want to go to, manage a budget, and send newsletters. It wouldn’t be successful if we didn’t put in the effort to build relationships with people, go to other events, and make things happen. I’m eternally grateful for this opportunity. 

Allie: What’s your favorite Moishe House event you’ve planned?

Sam: I love our Shabbat dinners. Our Shabbat dinners can get even rowdier than our parties. Some of our community members aren’t Jewish and come because they’re just interested in exploring Judaism or are in interfaith relationships, and I love opening the door and helping other people experience Shabbos.

moishe house

Allie: Are there any fun Moishe House events coming up you want people to know about?

Sam: Yes, we are partnering with the Anti-Defamation League on Sunday, December 8th to do a Words to Action training on Anti-semitism. The following Sunday we’re hosting a Babka and Bonfires event in our backyard. We’re also looking for a new resident, so if you’re interested, please fill out this application to join the house!

Allie: What’s on your bucket list?

Sam: Go skiing in Switzerland, where my dad is from. This year, I also want to go to more swing dancing classes.

Allie: If you could invite anyone, what three people would you want to invite to your Shabbat dinner?

Sam: I’d want to build the best conversation that can actually go somewhere. So I’d say Barack Obama, Israeli author Etgar Keret, and Harvard professor Ruth Wisse.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Sam: Connections are made. 

moishe house

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Meet Alex: Jewish History Buff of the Week!

Alex Fosco is GatherDC’s brand new Community Coordinator and she cannot wait to meet you! Get to know all about Alex’s love of Mesopotamian pottery, costuming, and wine. Email her or comment below to welcome her to the team.

alex f

Allie: What brought you to DC?

Alex: I was planning to move to New York after graduating from Penn State this past May, but came to DC for a job and never wanted to leave. I love all of the food and breweries here. I’m very food motivated.

Allie: What did you study in college?

Alex: I studied history and anthropology. I focused on early history: the Levantine era and Mesopotamian pottery. I like history because I love understanding people. History is very informative in who we are, our current cultures, and the foundations of humanity. I like to see the trends and comparisons overtime between where we are and where we were. This has a huge impact on how I view the world.

Allie: Have you ever been on an anthropological dig?

Alex: Yes! I got to study in Israel and do a dig at Tel Akko, which was an Ottoman city. Fun fact, I broke a field record there by collecting 64 buckets of pottery shards. 

Allie: Walk me through your dream day in DC.

Alex: I’d wake up and have a nice cup of coffee with my french press. Then, I’d leave the house at 11:00 am so I can make sure I’ve had enough alone time before I go out into the world. I’d hop on the circulator and meet up with my partner Tyler in Georgetown, even though it might take him an extra half an hour to get there because he’s always late. We’ll stop at a couple of the bookstores there. I’d walk out with too many books because I have no self control when it comes to buying books. 

After that, I’d go watch a $5 movie at AMC because they have that deal on Tuesdays (on my dream day it’s Tuesday). Then, go to Thunder Burger and stop by the nearby wine store afterwards. I’d like to end the evening in the Mt. Pleasant area so I can visit Tyler’s roommate’s dog, a giant Bernese Mountain dog. I’ll end the day watching something funny on Netflix or Hulu.

alex

Allie: What is on your bucket list this coming year?

Alex: I really want to do an international trip and visit my friend in Norway.

Allie: What is your favorite Jewish holiday or food?

Alex: As an adult, I’d say Purim because of the story and I love going out. From a nostalgic perspective, I’d say Passover. It’s hard because I love carbs a lot. It’s always such a wholesome, familial activity. I’d take Passover over Thanksgiving.

Allie: What are you most looking forward to in your role with Gather?

Alex: I’m excited to meet all of the vibrant personalities in DC. So far, I’ve met so many people in my personal experience and there is so much variety in terms of where people come from, what their Jewish life looks like, what their jobs are. I hope to meet you at our happy hour tomorrow night or if not, definitely email me and we can grab coffee sometime. I love coffee.

Allie: What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?

Alex: I used to do live action role play, which is basically an unscripted play where you get to be a character in the Dungeons & Dragons story. This was part of a full-contact sport that included sword fighting and costuming. I still enjoy costuming. 

Allie: What do you like most about costuming?

Alex: I got into costuming because of my history major, but also like pop-culture costuming as well. It’s a lot of work, but you have a beautiful final product. This year, I want to volunteer with community theater in DC and help them with their costuming.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Alex: There better be bagels.

alex

 

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Meet Lilly: Jewish Outdoorswoman of the Week!

When she’s not running around to one of the EIGHT different hotels she does HR for, you might find Lilly Andorsky trekking through Harper’s Ferry, biking around the city, or enjoying a delicious Chinese food dinner. Get to know this happy-go-lucky, nature loving woman!

lilly

Allie: What led you to DC?

Lilly: I grew up in Columbia, Maryland and went to school in Charleston, South Carolina, and after graduating I decided to come back home. I was having FOMO being away from my family.

Allie: How did you get involved in hospitality?

Lilly: I went to school to be in event planning, and after doing internships with event planners I realized it was not what I wanted to do. So, I started working at a resort in Charleston, South Carolina and realized I really liked the HR aspect of that job. I work for Crestline Hotels and Resorts, and support 8 hotels in the DMV area.

Allie: Walk me through your perfect DC day:

Lilly: I would wake up and have a cup of coffee. It would be a beautiful fall day. It would be a weekday so everyone else is working and it wouldn’t be crowded in the city. I would go for a 20-25 mile bike ride around DC, and then stop for some lunch. I’d like to get in a little hike as well, and at the end of the day have a massage. For dinner, I’d go out for Chinese food.

lilly

Allie: Where are your favorite places to hike?

Lilly: I like to hike in Shenandoah, especially Old Rag. I love Sugarloaf because it starts out very woodsy and then there’s a beautiful overlook. I also like Harpers Ferry, my friends and I camp the night before and then do the Overlook Trail in the morning. I just like being being outdoors and around nature, especially when I can be without my phone and computer.

Allie: What’s on your bucket list for this year or goals you have?

Lilly: I don’t really like to set goals. I just want to be happy and keep it simple.

Allie: Who is your Jewish role model?

Lilly: My mother. She’s just great. She enjoys life and makes sure to uphold her Jewish identity. She’s a first generation American and her father was a Holocaust survivor. As I’ve grown older, I’ve gained a deeper understanding about how life wasn’t so easy for her. She had a very different upbringing than normal American children. When I was growing up, my mom made an effort to create a Jewish household and I appreciate that. She’s my best friend.

lilly

Allie: What is your favorite Jewish holiday and why?

Lilly: Passover. The second night my parents always host Seder, and I love it because my dad leads us in “Pesach Jeopardy”. We start off with a shot of tequila. It’s just 30 adults having a really great time. He used to do it on notecards but now he does it on a PowerPoint. It’s really fun.

Allie: What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?

Lilly: My birth story is in the Library of Congress. My dad was in Desert Storm when my mom went into labor with me. And through a small coincidence, he was able to come home for my birth. My mom reached out to StoryCorps to tell this story, and everything they record is in the Library of Congress

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Lilly: They laugh.

 

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Meet Andrew: Jewish Home Chef of the Week

andrew

Allie: What brought you to DC?

Andrew: It’s been my dream to move to DC ever since I interned here during college for House Majority Leader Pelosi at the time. I fell in love with the city, it was easy to navigate and fit me so well personality-wise. I love politics, and DC is the political epicenter of the nation. Plus, there’s so much action here which is great because I’m someone who likes to be very involved. After graduating, I got a job working for HUD (Housing and Urban Development department). 

Allie: Have you always been interested in politics?

Andrew: Ever since high school I’ve known I wanted to work in the public sector so I could do something to improve people’s lives and give them better opportunities. I was very inspired by the 2008 election and got into politics after that. 

Allie: What was it like interning for Nancy Pelosi?

Andrew: I had the time of my life. It was a part of a Semester in Washington program that I did during college. I was on Capitol Hill and I learned so much, both in terms of policy and politics, as well as expectations and professional decorum. I gained more maturity and broader perspectives on things.

Allie: Walk me through your perfect DC day.

Andrew: I would check out one of the farmer’s markets and Trader Joe’s in the morning, and then play basketball with my friends. After that, I’ll have a nice light lunch and then go to a cultural event at an embassy or museum. I love doing things where I can learn and feel awe-inspired. Then, I might ride my bike to a new area of the city. Since I’m still relatively new, I’m amazed by all the different pockets of DC. 

Later, I’ll go out to dinner with friends at Zaytina. I started going there during the government shutdown because José Andrés had free sandwiches, and just kept going back. If it’s a Sunday, I would also prepare my dinner list for the week and do some cooking. 

andrew

Allie: Is cooking a big hobby of yours?

Andrew: Yes, I love cooking – it’s very rewarding. I have a whole spice and cutting board area set up in my apartment and love experimenting with different spices, seeds, and mustards. I love chopping produce, and making recipes that are healthy and fun. I’m always trying new things. 

Allie: What inspired your love of cooking?

Andrew: I grew up in a house where we were all foodies, and my mom was a very big advocate for cooking. She taught me a lot. I’m also someone who has struggled with weight and lost weight, and don’t want to regress and go back. To maintain my healthy lifestyle, I’ve learned to make dishes that are nutritious and enjoyable.

I also love cooking for others and hosting them for Shabbat or Havdalah. Hosting is such a nice way to welcome people into your how and show a different part of your personality. I think that how and why someone cooks says a lot about their values.

Allie: Do you have any cooking goals for yourself this year?

Andrew: I’d like to get into baking, which is much more scientific and you really have to follow instructions. Baking will be a new challenge for me, and I think will give me a big sense of accomplishment and joy.

Allie: What are your favorite ways to spend free time in the city?

Andrew: I love going to the embassies, or new exhibits at museums like the Freer Sackler Gallery. I really like to pursue things that get me out of my comfort zone, and DC has so many educational opportunities that help me see things from different angles. I also love the incredible diversity of speakers in DC. I went to see Hilary and Chelsea Clinton a few weeks ago and am going to see Nikki Haley this week. 

I’ve also been inspired by DC’s fitness culture. Biking seems like a religion down here, and I’ve been trying to pick up my biking pace on a daily basis. I love long extended bike rides.

Also, I enjoy relaxing at Compass Coffee. That is where I do some of my best decompressing, reading, and thinking. You can almost always find me there during a free weekend afternoon.

Allie: What are you looking forward to this coming year?

Andrew: Since I’m still pretty new, I really am excited about all of the young Jewish professional events around town. I like the more meaningful, intimate gatherings that create a sense of camaraderie. I’m hoping to get more involved with FIDF’s young professional arm.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Andrew: It brings out the best of us. We build a sense of community, camaraderie, and friendship – which is exactly what we need more of. 

andrew

 

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.