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Girl of the Week – Stacy #WayBackWednesday

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Stacy was a Jewish Girl of the Week 6 years ago when the feature first began. She even competed in the first-ever Jewish Girl of the Year competition. Stacy is still an integral part of the DC Jewish community, but now in a professional capacity.

Read our updates on Stacy and her original article (including a poem) below!

 

  • I am not in the field of education anymore (I sooo miss recess and the kiddos), but before I left teaching I started an after-school cooking program for kids called Snack Attack Cooking. My favorite session was when we had an Iron Chef competition and the judges tried one group’s creation that looked like a dessert pizza.  But, the kids had used garlic instead of sugar! The looks on the judges faces when they tasted it was priceless.
  • About a year after the original article was published, I founded an organization that hosts events for Jewish young professionals in Northern Virginia called NOVA Tribe Series. Since 2011, I have hosted over 150 programs, engaged thousands of peers in the community, and helped orchestrate countless numbers of friendships – and even 2 marriages!
  • Last fall I started working for the Edlavitch DCJCC as their manager of EntryPointDC, a program for 20s and 30s. I have helped revamp the Shabbat Clusters program, started the B’Shert 2.0 Modern Jewish Love Series and am looking forward to our next big event, Schmooze & Snooze Fest on Saturday, February 25th. The event will be an “all-night” type party with a 90’s cover band, Bar Mitzvah DJ dance party, moonbounce, Havdalah, drinks, carnival snacks, Ted Talks and more! Tickets go on sale today.
  • One signature program I created that I look forward to hosting every year is Lox Meets Bagel. It has become one of the largest speed dating & mixer events in the DC area for 20s and 30s. The 6th Lox Meets Bagel is next Tuesday, February 7th, and you can register here!
  • I am still a Virginia girl, but I now live in Arlington instead of Fairfax. My favorite things to do in the neighborhood are people watch at Northside Social, catch a comedy show or movie at Arlington Drafthouse, and take long walks to Georgetown.

Read her original article below!

Stacy on why she should be Jewish Girl of the Year:

There once was a girl from VA

Who taught her students to say

“I flip my latkes in the air”

She spent $157.23 on metro fare

To get to Jewish events last year

Her Hebrew name

is a video game

She works with Jnet

Your vote she needs to get

Editor’s note: Stacy raised the bar for Jewish Girl of the Week by submitting a Youtube video as part of the application process. If you think you or someone you know has what it takes to be a Person of the Week, shoot us an email and tell us why. We encourage creativity in nominations!

How long have you been teaching?

This is my sixth year teaching. I have taught students from grades K-7 over the years, but right now I teach 1st-3rd grade at a Montessori school. These kids are awesome. The Montessori philosophy emphasizes learning practical life skills, so my kids cook me lunch every Wednesday, do the dishes and laundry every day and take field trips out of the classroom at least once or twice every few weeks. I want to take them home with me to clean my house!

Stacy, so many people ask: “What do you do?” The GTJ staff likes look deeper into the Jewish soul, so we ask, “What is your passion?!”

My biggest passion is helping others. Besides teaching, I also work with autistic kids once a week leading social skill groups. My first day at social group went something like this (and I knew from then on I was in the right place) Me: Ben, we have something in common, we both like to celebrate Hanukkah  Ben: You are Jewish Ms. Stacy? I am so glad you joined group! (He runs around the room singing the dreidel song)  Nate: You must be Israeli then because you are Jewish  Me: Actually, I am not.  Nate: Aww man, I really like Israeli women, can’t you be Israeli for me?  Dan: I know someone that is Jewish, but I don’t like her very much.  Me: Why is that?  Dan: She is a very bossy Jewish girl.

Are there really Jews that live out in Virginia?

Yes, there are and we rock.  I am on the committee of Jnet. We plan happy hours, BBQ’s, and other great events; our next BIG gathering will be a philanthropic event for the JCC of NOVA special needs department. You can find us on facebook if you add JnetVA as a friend. I promise if you come find me at an event I will make sure you have a great time!

Can we share the video of your kids with all our readers?!

Of course you can share the video! I love being Jewish, and I want to share my love of my religion and culture with everyone; the video explains it all.  You can see the enthusiasm in my students’ faces as they sing this song (and my amazing dancing skills and “latke” flipping tools as well). I spent a whole day reading Hanukkah stories, playing dreidel, sharing latkes, and taught them all the words to Candlelight and I have never seen them more excited, or in other words, equally excited to sing about/celebrate Hanukkah as Christmas.  Since you and the Maccabeats are BFF’s, can you send the video to them as well?

What has been your most memorable Jewish moment?

Hmmm that’s a hard one. I think I have had many, but one that sticks out actually occurred this week. We had a Celebration of Light ceremony with our class in which all the families came together to share their winter month traditions that involve light. I have 23 students in my class and only 1 is Jewish. After the presentation, the one Jewish family came up to me and gave me a big hug. They thanked me for teaching the students the Candlelight song and told me their daughter finally feels included and everyone is now just as excited about Hanukkah as any other winter holiday. It really touched me because I have always made it my personal mission to bring Jews together from smaller communities, whether it’s making my one Jewish student in my class feel more comfortable talking about her religion to her classmates to planning events for my alma maters’ Hillel that included only about 400 Jewish students out of 15,000.

You can only eat one Jewish food for the rest of your life, what is it and why?

It would be my mom’s challah. She started making using this recipe when I was about 10, it’s a sweet version that I can’t get enough of. It totally satisfies my sweet tooth.

Is it Chanukah, Hanukkah, or Hannukah?

Is this a trick question? I have not seen the double N’s before or if I did it was way back in the day; spell check does not like it either. Actually prefer the double K’s, Hanukkah is where it’s at. My students know 3 ways to spell it and are very proud of that fact.

Where can we find you on a Friday night?

I usually check out the services at Adas Israel and Sixth & I and then go out in the city. I have gone to Shir Delight the past few months and always have a good time with my friends and meet a lot of new people. You never know who you are going to run into, last week I saw my babysitter whom I have not seen in 20 years!

What’s the next big Gathering you will be at?

I am on the committee of Jnet. We plan happy hours, BBQ’s, and other great events; our next BIG gathering will be a philanthropic event for the JCC of NOVA special needs department.  See facebook page here.

GTJ Satirist Brian F. – Meteorologists: DC Interns Are the Cause of DC Humidity

intInflux of Unpaid, Obnoxious Interns Found to Attract Sweltering Summer Weather 

WASHINGTON, DC – (@TheComedyNews) – Meteorologists at the National Weather Service have released a study finding that the sweltering summer humidity in Washington, DC is due to the influx of unpaid summer interns.

“We have analyzed data dating back to 1799, when the first summer interns were commissioned to help with the labor of governing the United States,” according to Dr. Roger Patrick, the lead meteorologist on the study.  “Interns were originally the children of only Congressmen,  clergymen, and bankers, and their parents wanted them to come to town to learn about running the government before any of the other general public did.”

The study notes that before 1799, the District of Columbia had very mild summers with average temperatures rarely exceeding 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and virtually no humidity at all.

Over the years, as the size of the federal government expanded, more and more interns came to DC to spend their summers working at unpaid jobs—and have thus caused the humidity that engulfs the nation’s capital from May until September.

Today’s interns attract more atmospheric moisture than ever.  Interns are seen in droves crowding the Metro train, dancing obnoxiously at the worst bars in town,  boasting about Fraternity and Sorority obligations, and are overheard in the hallways having the most arrogant conversations amongst each other.  When these unfortunate things happen, there is a hormone released when such human smugness reaches astronomic levels.  That hormone, called arrogantimone, is then released into the atmosphere and lingers in the form of humidity for six to eight weeks.

Even as this article is being composed, two interns exchanged in typical humidity-causing banter:

“Hey Lisa, we need to go to McFaddens tonight, I hear it’s a really fancy place so no wearing any of your polarbear Midwestern cardigans.”

“Oh you wish you were Midwestern, Brynn.  You don’t have college football on your campus.”

“Tufts University has football, but no one cares about it.  Also, Tufts is in Boston, that’s the same place where Harvard is.  Besides, you’re not Midwestern, you’re from Miami.” 

“I go to Michigan, and Michigan’s in the Midwest, so therefore I’m Midwestern.  Michigan also has the largest football stadium in America.”

“Well, you work at a non-profit, that’s gotta be lame.  My intern coordinator at the House of Representatives says that I get to take a picture with the Congressman at the end of the summer.”

“How many more stops until Foggy Bottom/GWU subway station?”

As this conversation went on, the windows of the Metro train began to slightly fog up.  An entire DC Summer interns blog has been set up to document such incidents.

Some estimates say that the 110,000 or so interns that will come to DC in the summer of 2013 will make this year one of the most humid on record.

One of the more intriguing findings during the National Weather Service’s research of the correlation between unpaid interns and DC summer humidity was the emergence of America’s first intern.

George Washington had who is now known as the first intern in the history of the United States.  His name was Jebbediah McMonica and he was a “Generals Apprentice”, a civilian servant tasked with drawing copies of maps, making lists, and preparing morning coffee for President Washington.

According to primary sources, many of these Generals Apprentices often complained of a wet, murky undergarment defect they would get in their clothing after working long unpaid hours.  In the late 1700s, this was known as “Foggy Bottom”.  Today, this aliment is now known as “swamp ass”.

DC Shavuot Events

tenOn Shavuot we celebrate receiving the Torah and it is traditional to study Torah through the night.  This year Shavuot begins on the evening of Tuesday, May 14th. We’ve compiled a few event options for Shavuot and will continue to update the list so check back.

Monday, May 13th:

Tuesday, May 14th:

Wednesday, May 15th:

GTJ’s Satirist Brian F. – Jewish Holiday Parties That Were Discontinued

getting lit - kosher ham - funny jewish tshirt website.jpgWASHINGTON, DC – (@The Comedy News) – We have all been invited to our fair share of holiday parties- with our coworkers, with our friends, with our neighbor who hoards cats and trash in the front yard.

And for the 165,000 Jews in the DC metro area, there is no shortage of Jewish-themed winter gatherings.

Various Jewish organizations have facilitated dozens of successful parties for the DC Jewish community, some even running annually for over twenty years.  Just like good Jewish humor, the names of the parties have been alliterated and cheesy.

However, there are some Jewish winter holiday events that were discontinued over the years:

Challah Back Y’all Karaoke Kabbalah (2005-2006)
A short-lived karaoke tournament inspired by the Gwen Stefani song, Hollaback Girl.  A schmorgesborg of challah bread kept the bashful non-singers enthused.  Discontinued after too many renditions of Sweet Caroline, Don’t Stop Believing, and Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu.

Bagel Bash (2000-2008)
A $5 fee got revelers admission to a wild and crazy dance party at McFaddens in Foggy Bottom, as well as all-you-can-eat bagels and schmear. Discontinued after Michelle Obama smote excess carbohydrate ingestion.

Pork Protest (1993-1994)
A dance party primarily attended by reform Jews who advocated for a change in kashrut laws forbidding pork products.  Popular with American Jews from Midwestern states.  Discontinued after no one would admit to each other that they loved the taste of pork.

Shrimp Strike (1993-1994)
Same as pork protest.  Just more popular amongst New England seafood snobs.

Brisket Bris-off (1946-1964)
During the post World War II baby boom, DC Jews used to gather at RFK stadium on Christmas Eve for an outdoor mass-celebration of brit milah, or “bris”.  Local chefs provided complimentary brisket samplings to the new parents.  Discontinued for too many reasons to list.

Mistletoe Mitzvah (1989-1999)
Billed as “The Easiest Jewish Singles Event to Get To First Base!”  Basically, it was an awkward happy hour with mistletoe hanging from the tavern’s ceiling.  Interest faltered after everyone in the Jewish community had made out with each other.

Jew-Jitzu Jam (1984)
Popularized by the film, Karate Kid, the Jew-Jitzu jam was a martial arts-themed dance party that encouraged Jewish revelers to dress up in either Cobra Kai attire, or Miyagi-do Karate attire.  Discontinued after too many fights broke out on the dance floor.

None of the aforementioned parties are real.  Instead you should subscribe to GTJ’s events calendar for your holiday cheer.

Jewish Girl of the Week – Rachel

rachelWant to recommend an outstanding leader to be featured on GTJ? Nominate him/her at info@gatherdc.org.

Aaron: What brought you to DC?
Rachel: I was actually born in DC!  I grew up in the DC suburbs- in Potomac, Maryland and attended the Jewish Day School in Rockville.  I went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Go Badgers!) and graduated with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication.  After graduation, I moved back to DC and landed my dream job as an Online Strategist for a global PR agency.  I am now living in the Dupont area!

Aaron: What’s your favorite thing about the DC Jewish community?
Rachel: My favorite thing about the DC Jewish community is that there are always so many different events to choose from and new people to meet.  Just last week I went to Hanukkah Happy Hour on the Hill, the Lone Soldier Happy Hour, and the Matisyahu concert.  No matter what your interests are, there are 100+ ways to meet other young Jews in DC.

Aaron: Any Jewish events you recommend?
Rachel: I am on the Communications Membership Committee for 2239.  2239 sponsors events year round for DC-area Jews ages 22-39.  Whether rebuilding a house in Birmingham, Alabama after a massive tornado, sharing Shabbat dinners along pic 3the Metro line, outings to the National’s games, or enjoying Happy Hours- there are plenty of events to choose from!  Everyone should check out the Facebook page and join us anytime.  Next? I’m looking forward to the annual Christmas Eve festivities for young Jews in DC!

Aaron: When was the last time you were in Israel?
Rachel: I’ve been to Israel 4 times in the last 7 years and I can’t wait to go back.  My last visit was in March to celebrate my best friend’s wedding.  She met her husband when he tried to sell her a hair straightener at Tysons Corner- he was living in DC after his IDF service.  You never know when or where you might meet someone!

Aaron: Who is the coolest Jew?
Rachel: This is a tough one.  Coolest Jew of the moment is definitely Carly Rose Sonenclar.  Crossing my fingers she wins ‘The X Factor’ this week!

 

Check Out the DC Hanukkah Events!

Celebrate the Festival of Lights with the DC Jewish Young Professionals!  This page will be updated regularly so check back.

First to get you in the mood:

Wednesday, December 5th

Saturday, December 8th

Sunday, December 9th

Monday, December 10th

Tuesday, December 11th

Wednesday, December 12th

Thursday, December 13th

Friday, December 14th

Saturday, December 15th

Sunday, December 16th

Krav Maga

Krav Maga is offered at Rockville’s Krav Maga Center in the Hebrew Academy.  Learn more about classes here.

Krav Maga means “contact combat.”  It is the official self-defense and fighting style of the Israeli Defense Forces, and it is used by U.S. law enforcement and federal agencies.  Similar to kickboxing, Krav Maga is also a great workout.

In addition, Krav Maga teaches people practical skills to protect themselves in a variety of street situations.  You may learn a simple movement that could save your life, like an arm raise to stop a knife or a kick to stop an attempted rape.

Twice a week, at the Hebrew Academy in Rockville, about 10 people- Jew and gentile, black and white, male and female- meet to… Beat each other up.  Fortunately, they are all well-upholstered: The students aren’t here to learn any flashy moves (Krav Maga is anything but stylish) or to practice for a contest.  They are learning how to survive an assault on the street using no-frills methods that include punching, gouging, kicking- anything that works.

This is serious business, and if you don’t believe it, talk to Tomer, 38, a former Israeli secret service agent.  “It’s become a way of life; almost every thing you are doing during the day is analyzing the possible threat to you or the dignitaries you protect.”  Tomer, who now teaches at the center in Rockville, hopes to give his students what he got from the martial art: self-confidence and security- not to mention a kick that could knock the — out of anybody.

Classes are sweaty, noisy affairs, with students pairing off to exchange blows with grunts right out of a Springsteen song.

Krav Maga is for everyone,” says Tomer, who especially enjoys teaching women and teens.  “I love showing them that they can do it, can give punches and kicks.  They walk out feeling so good, they become more aggressive.”

The key to using Krav Maga as exercise, says Tomer, is continuous motion.  “In class, after we get the moves down properly, we’ll do 30 to 50 punches in one set.  And since we focus on leg work as well as upper body, all major muscle groups are used.”  Another advantage to the program, he adds, is that “you can scale it to whatever level you feel fits.  Not everyone can kick somebody in the head.”

Perhaps Krav Maga’s greatest advantage over other martial arts is that instead of requiring many months of training, often years, it can be effectively learned quickly.

While popular films have immortalized the beauty of a taekwondo flying sidekick and the intense concentration required by martial artists who break bricks, these skills are not especially practical if a rapist, carjacker, or gang member jumps you from behind.  Forget about a proper karate sparring stance- you simply won’t have time.

“Traditional martial arts are much more complex and diversified then simple fighting techniques,” says Tomer.

“Our offering is very unique and far from the ordinary Krav Maga classes.  Kicks, punches, blocks, and grabs are the basics.  We focus on street fighting against multiple attackers, knives, baseball bats, hand guns, and more.  You don’t need any special talent or experience to participate.  Some of my students didn’t have any and some have a few years in all kinds of martial arts such as Karate, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, and etc. My students find the class very challenging and feel confident in facing real life situations in a better and more effective way.  We focus on the students’ progress, we don’t just charge you for a monthly payment to come and punch a bag or accidental ran-dory.  Working with a small group, up to 10 students in a class, gives you the personal attention you need to advance and improve yourself.”