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Meet Eric: Jewish Internationalist of the Week

Since he wakes up before sunrise each day without an alarm clock, jet lag is no match for this fitness-loving, world traveler. Also, he’s a social media rebel who prefers podcasts to television.

Meet Eric Krasnow in our 1:1 interview!

eric

Allie: What brought you to DC?

Eric: I’m from Boston originally, but spent two years living and working in Buenos Aires, Argentina after graduating from college in 2015. I wanted to stay involved in that region but be closer to home (and my mom’s cooking!), and found the perfect solution – a position covering Latin American investments at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of The World Bank.

Allie: What do you do at IFC?

Eric: The mission of the IFC is to develop a sustainable private sector in emerging markets. The best part of the job is travelling to the countries we are investing in and building relationships with our local partners. I have worked on projects in Latin America and countries around the globe, including Morocco, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and the Philippines.

Allie: You seem like someone who truly embodies wellness. Can you run through an average day in your life to motivate me and our readers?

Eric: I am in bed every night before 9 pm, which lets me wake up without an alarm the next day before 6. Once up, I go for a 5 mile run around Meridian Hill Park, followed by weight training at the gym near my apartment. After a quick shower and breakfast – Israeli style: vegetables, eggs and salmon – I go to work.

In the evening, if I can get out of work early, I will go to a hot yoga class at CorePower; if not, I will walk home listening to podcasts. I don’t have social media or a TV, and rarely go online when home. That makes it easier to go to bed early, and start the routine over the next day.

Allie: How do you stay so disciplined?

Eric: It’s a virtuous cycle. My favorite part of the day is when the sun has not yet risen and I have already hit a new personal record. That is a psychological win. It gives me confidence that I can not only overcome being tired or sore, but also overcome whatever challenges come up during the day. I’ve found that the more disciplined I am with my fitness, the more disciplined I am with work and my emotions.

Allie: Do you have any fitness goals?

Eric: I’m going to run a half marathon in June – the Warrior in Georgetown. I’m training for that now.

Allie: What is your favorite Jewish holiday?

Eric: Sukkot! I just planted a garden on my balcony and am diligently caring for it each day. My goal is to host a Sukkot dinner this fall, with a balcony-to-table salad for the first course.

Allie: I hear you’re co-chairing this year’s AJC Young Diplomats Reception. Tell me about that.

Eric: It’s the signature diplomacy event of AJC ACCESS DC, which is the part of AJC that focuses on developing young Jewish leaders in their communities. The reception brings together Jewish young professionals, Capitol Hill staff, and policy partners with 100 members of DC’s diplomatic community. This year, the cocktail reception will take place on the LINE DC rooftop, with a keynote speech given by AJC CEO David Harris. I encourage all who read this to attend!

Allie: Why did you decide to get involved with AJC?

Eric: Being Jewish is core to my identity, and supporting Israel is core to my Judaism. I’ve always felt deeply tied to Israel and feel like it’s my duty as a Jew to defend Israel in some capacity. Shortly after moving to DC, I attended the AJC Global Forum.

I was immediately drawn to the organization’s comprehensive efforts to combat anti-Semitism, defend Israel’s place in the world, and safeguard democracy and pluralism for all. I became an AJC ACCESS member and am now very excited to co-chair the Young Diplomats Reception.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather….

Eric: My first experience with Gather was with a fantastic group of young Jewish professionals during a camping trip in Shenandoah: when Jews of DC gather, they do so outdoors!

eric

 

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 David: Jewish Gym Owner of the Week!

[WARNING: The following interview may induce feelings of inadequacy.]

Okay GatherDC-ers, this week, we have the utmost pleasure of introducing you to the one-and-only David Magida. If you’re in the fitness scene, you may have seen his name before as the author of the book “The Essentials of Obstacle Race Training”, or on Facebook Live as NBC Sports’ Spartan Race host, or as a founding member of the Reebok Spartan Race Pro Team, or at one of the two locations of Elevate Interval Fitness – which he owns, runs, and coaches at. If you’re not in the fitness scene, maybe this interview will inspire you. If not, well, you can always work out your taste buds at Shake Shack.

david

Allie: What triggered your passion for fitness?

David: I’ve always loved fitness. Being active is me in my most natural state. Competing and testing my limits is a big thing for me. Whenever I’m down or in a funk, I just sign up for a race. It’s like therapy for me. It clears my mind, and mentally resets me. I try to make working out one of the first things that I do each day, and it sets me on a very positive track. Days when I don’t exercise I’m kind of a hot mess.

Allie: Were you this passionate about fitness when you were growing up?

David: I was really small as a kid, but was always athletic and loved sports. I was a soccer player, swimmer, and wrestler. In middle school I discovered running. By sixth grade, I was already training with the varsity cross country team. I would run with them after my middle school soccer practice and travel to meets with them, even though I had to be marked as ineligible until 9th grade. I loved workout out so much that my wrestling coach made me team captain as a freshman so I could lead team conditioning. It wasn’t over until I said it was over. I wasn’t super popular with the guys.

Allie: Wow! What sport did you like the best?

David: Running. [In high school], I made the choice to commit to running. My junior year I had to give up wrestling for a year so I could focus on my running career. I went to run collegiately, but only briefly. I did one season and was so fed up with the way the team was coached and so I fell out of love with running. I didn’t run for several years.

Allie: What did you do to replace running?

David: I got really into strength training and even joined the football team for a season. I ended up getting certified as a personal trainer at 19, and took a break from school to do that. But, I didn’t think there was long-term career viability in fitness so I went back to school to get my undergraduate degree. Then, I went to grad school at University of Miami and got my master’s degree in public relations. While I was in Miami I started running Spartan races.

david spartan

Allie: What’s a Spartan race?

David: It’s a running race with a series of military style obstacles, anywhere from 3 miles to marathon distances. In 2012, I did the Spartan Ultra Beast which is 31 miles of ski slopes, obstacles, and overall just pure torture. I also completed the Death Race, which is well over 100 miles in the wilderness over several days of no sleep.

Allie: The Death Race?! That sounds insane. Tell me more.

David: It’s appropriately named. It’s backpacking through the woods with a map and compass, and there’s no set course. It changes each year and sometimes mid-race, at the whims of the directors. You don’t know what it’s going to be and they do crazy things to mix it up. The race is full of time cutoffs, crazy physical tasks, and mental challenges. One year, they took our shoes from us for 20 hours and we were in the Vermont wilderness running barefoot on a trail known as Bloodroot. It’s crazy. All the while you’re filtering water out of rivers and chopping wood and basically running around in survival mode.

Allie: After you survived the Death Race, how did you wind up in DC?

David: I got a job working at a public affairs firm. Around that time, I was also offered a professional contract to race in 2013 for the Reebok Spartan Race Pro Team, so I was doing 25 or 30 Spartan races a year.

Allie: How did you manage to keep up with your job while also racing professionally?

David: I was run-commuting to and from work every day, about 3.5 miles each way, and skipping happy hours with my co-workers to go to the gym. I had very little semblance of a social life. But the run-commuting barely took longer than riding on the metro. It was about efficiency. I still often run-commute to this day.

Allie: Tell me how Elevate came to be.

David: I basically hated my job and wasn’t happy. But my success racing garnered some interest. People started asking me if I would coach them. I eventually started leading some outdoor classes. I was having more fun with this than anything I had done before. It’s really fulfilling work. So, I found this spot on 14th street, left my job, and just went for it. Elevate (a studio with high intensity circuit and interval workouts) opened in October 2014. We opened a second studio in Southwest this past August.

Allie: What’s the best part of running Elevate?

David: Getting to do the stuff that I love and connect with people on a deep level. And actually having an impact on people’s lives in a positive way. I like to help people change the way they look at fitness. People look at fitness as this thing they dread or do for body image issues, which is completely backwards. My goal is to teach people to embrace the process and find the joy in the workout and their own personal improvement. Community is also such a huge part of it. It’s difficult to meet other people in a big city. You go to work and go home, but you need a third place. For some people, that’s a bar. But going into a gym and sweating together can bring people closer and builds really dynamic communities.

Allie: What’s been the biggest challenge?

David: Time and stress. When you’re a business owner, you’re working 24/7. You’re never really off.  Fitness in particular, because the days start early and end late. The first year I felt like I was at work from 5am to 10pm every single day, and it can wear you down.

david

Allie: What advice would you give to someone hoping to kick-start a fitness routine?

David: Don’t try to do it on your own. Consult an expert and go to a class or get a trainer. You need direction. Don’t worry about what other people think about you in the gym. If you’re working hard, people will respect that. If you focus on frequency (how often you go), intensity (how hard you go), and duration (how long you go for) you will be successful. And then get your eating in line. Try to meal prep if you can.

Allie: Not sure if it ever happens, but if you had a free day in DC. How would you spend it?

David: First thing, coffee. I make a double or triple shot Americano and then go for a run. Then I wouldn’t mind going out on the river and go boating. If I could do some wake-boarding or wake-surfing that would be ideal. As weird as it sounds, I’d probably do an hour or two of work so I could feel productive. I’d want to go out to the rec center and play pickup basketball with some friends. Then, go out to a meal or happy hour with some friends at Grady’s. And then, play some board games.

Allie: Do you have anything still on your life bucket list?

David: I want to climb some of the world’s biggest peaks, like Matterhorn. I’d love to go running through Mont Blanc. I’d like to do some SkyRunning series, or a century which is a hundred miles. There’s a lot of the world I want to see. I’m going to Japan at the end of February with the B’nai B’rith Young Leadership Network. Maybe one day I’ll live in another country or on the West Coast just to do something different. I don’t see myself being limited to just working in fitness. I’d like Elevate to be a self-sufficient thing so I can go on to explore other client-facing business ventures.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

David: They have great conversation.

david and dog

David and his dog Oscar

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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 Emily: Jewish Go-Getter of the Week

Emily Rasowsky runs the Women in Technology Campaign, just opened a brand new boutique DC gym, teaches yoga, and goes running across the city. This is all OUTSIDE of her full time career as a digital customer experience strategist. Safe to say, this Jewish Person of the Week is inspiring everyone around her to seize the day and become go-getters of life. Read on.

Emily

Allie: How did you wind up living in DC?

Emily: I grew up living in New York and Las Vegas, and had a lot of family on the East Coast. I came here for college, and got a job at a digital agency right out of school and stayed here ever since. 

Allie: What was it like growing up in Las Vegas?

Emily: Vegas has a huge school district and tons of people live there. The strip itself is one large, concentrated part of town, every other place feels like a normal suburb. The major differences are: 1) You get exposed to things way earlier. Our biggest multiplexes were in casinos. The grocery store has a section to gamble. To go to Nordstrom’s, you have to drive by the World’s Largest Sex Shop. 2) Service industry jobs are huge so their career ambitions are different than in DC. It’s a warped world. but can also feel pretty normal. I do prefer the East Cost. It feeds me more. People are very driven here. Everyone has a purpose. People are interesting and doing interesting stuff for the world. 

Allie: What’s your dream DC day?

Emily: I really like fitness. I’m a yoga teacher. So some of the best days for me are when I have time to do something active. I’d like to wake up and go for a long run throughout the city and stop by the Georgetown waterfront, and run “The Exorcist” steps

Then, I’d grab brunch with my friends and go to an art gallery. I used to love going to the National Gallery of Art when I worked near there. If you sit in the Impressionist Painting Exhibit and find a docent and just listen to the docent’s stories, you’ll hear some crazy stories about wild times [of the artists]. It’s hilarious. The paintings are also so inspiring.

At night, I’d go to a nice dinner at Kyirisan in Shaw. It’s so good. It’s French-Asian fusion. They have some of the best pastries of the entire city. It’s such a a hidden gem.

Allie: Tell me about your side hustle as a yoga teacher.

Emily: In high school I hurt my knee running. So, I got into yoga as a form of physical therapy for that. I got a job at a yoga studio in high school, and then while in college at GW I became a certified yoga teacher. I started teaching at college and have been teaching at Yoga District ever since. I find it really stress relieving and therapeutic.

Allie: I hear you’re adding ANOTHER side hustle to the mix. What’s this one about?

Emily: I do a lot of really random stuff. Right now, I’m helping open up a fitness studio called Pulse. It’s kind of like Soul Cycle with a Versa-climber. You do it to music and you’re climbing at a 70-degree angle. You’re almost crawling at a vertical. It’s the most efficient workout for your body. It’s only a 30-minute workout and you burn the same amount of calories that you do in a 45-minute spin class. (*NOTE: GatherDC readers can get a FREE Pulse class with code EMILY at sign up.*)

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Emily striking a pose for Pulse *Use code EMILY for a free class*

Allie: What is the Women in Technology Campaign and what’s your role in it?

Emily: Outside of work (as a digital marketing strategist), I run the Women in Tech CampaignWe identity and connect women in tech and tech adjacent roles across the globe. We provide them with a networking community and do strengths-based assessments to help people optimize themselves. We also work directly with organizations to help them identity people within their teams, and figure out how to to group and pair the right people with the right projects. If you’re only looking at people’s strengths and not their age, race, or gender, you’ll be able to see more impact and build inclusivity. 

Allie: How can someone get involved with Women in Tech?

Emily: Come to one of our quarterly strengths-based workshop, and then just get involved like you would with any other community. There are no strings attached. The goal is to be able to speak to each other in the words of strengths and community. Check it out on our website or on Facebook or Twitter.

Allie: How do you have the time and energy for all of this?

Emily: I’m really hyperactive. I have a lot of high-functioning anxiety and I get very energized by people and by community. I’m least happy when I’m just chilling at home and watching Netflix. That’s why yoga is such a blessing. It allows me to turn my brain off and have that space to relax.

Allie: What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?

Emily: Yom Kippur. It brings my family together in a way that they normally don’t, and is a moment to stop and reflect. Before the New Year, I do a lot of self-exploration and vision-boarding. To me, that’s so important. How beautiful is it that in the Jewish tradition, the most important time of the year is about self-reflection and growth?

Allie: When Jews of DC gather…

Emily: It’s welcoming and fun!

emily

 

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 Steph: Jewish Fitness Buff of the Week!

steph

Allie: How did you wind up living in DC?

Steph: I’m from Montgomery County – born and raised. I went to New Orleans for college, then lived in San Francisco for a job, and then decided it was time to come back to my roots. I’ve been in DC for three years now.

Allie: I hear you just started a cool new job – tell me about it!

Steph: I’m the U.S. Marketing and Communications Manager for Leon, which is a mediterranean-inspired place that serves naturally fast food.

Allie: Hmm..why have I never heard of this place?

Steph: It’s not open yet! Leon is opening in early September.

Allie: Once it opens, how do I get there and what should I order?

Steph: It’s on 1724 L Street in Farragut North, and any of our sandwiches are delicious – they’re served on challah buns. We also have really good falafel and lamb kofta. (NOTE: Follow Leon on Facebook and Instagram for updates)

Allie: Can you offer a deal to GatherDC-ers?

Steph: On September 5th and 6th, you can come in for free food if you give us feedback on it. RSVP to usa@leon.co. Also, if you sign up for our Leon club you can get 40% off after 5:00pm once it opens.

Allie: At the end of a long work day, what’s your favorite way to relax?

Steph: Yoga. But definitely not hot yoga. I really like The Yoga Shala in Shaw.

Allie: Besides The Yoga Shala, what are your top 3 favorite workout classes or studios in DC?

Steph: Oh there’s too many to pick just three! I’d say Off Road for boxing, FlyBarre for barre, and Reformation Fitness for HIIT/TRX.

Allie: What’s your resolution for this coming year?

Steph: Keeping a good work-life balance. I want to find time to work out as much as I’d like while crushing my new job.

Allie: How do you motivate yourself to workout so often?

Steph: The prospect of one day obtaining a 6-pack keeps me going.

Allie: When and/or where are you the happiest?

Steph: When I’m snuggling my Australian lab Sophie, while outside of course.steph and dog

Allie: Who is your Jewish role model?

Steph: My grandpa. He’s a Holocaust Survivor. He lost half his family and came here when he was 16 knowing no English. He had to make a life for himself and his family. Today, he volunteers for The United States Holocaust Museum once a week.

Allie: If you could have 3 celebs in your entourage, who would you choose and why?

Steph: Anna Kendrick, everyone tells me I look like her and she is awesome. Gal Gadot, because woman power. Channing Tatum, because he’s always been my man crush.

Allie: What is your favorite Jewish food?

Steph: My grandpa’s potato kugel and my mom’s noodle kugel – really all types of kugel.

Allie: What’s your favorite way to celebrate the Jewish New Year?

Steph: Being with my family. Eating lots of apples and honey.

Allie: Complete the sentence: When Jews of DC Gather…

Steph: They make and eat good food while kvelling or kvetching.

steph g

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.

GTJ Health Series: Six Tips for Stress Relief

The contents of this article are for informational purposes only.  The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

For many of us, the holidays can be a stressful time filled with deadlines at work, travel (and delays), and extended time with family.  To help manage your stress this holiday season, GTJ offers six tips for stress relief.

1- Eat, Sleep, and Exercise: A Dose of Prevention

Dr. Adam Goldstein of yourhealthradio.org, and an expert on and advocate for quality of life, gave me three pieces of advice when I started medical school (arguably the most stressful 4 years of my life).  His advice was to:

  1. Eat
  2. Sleep, and
  3. Exercise

These three activities are things that all of us, as busy professionals and students, struggle to prioritize. Let me convince you why you should.

  1. Eat well: A poor diet, such as those high in sugar, caffeine, and fat, has been shown to decrease mood and increase stress and anxiety symptoms.  Lessen your risk by eating three well balanced meals a day with plenty of vegetables, lean protein, and fiber and by limiting your sugar, caffeine, and alcohol consumption.
  2. Sleep: Sleep deprivation causes an increase in Corticotropin Releasing Hormone (CRH) which leads to the production of stress hormones like adrenaline.   A 2010 study in the Journal of Sleep in which 30,000 adults participated found that those that get at least 7 hour a day of sleep are half as likely to have stress related illnesses like heart attack, stroke, and chest pain compared to those who slept less than five hours a day.  Other studies support this research and have also shown that those who were sleep deprived were more likely to be rated as less attractive, have poorer skin tone, be overweight, and die prematurely.  So do your body and attractiveness a favor: get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.
  3. Exercise: Exercise prevents stress by increasing production of mood boosting endorphins, lowering the production of stress hormones such as cortisol, increasing self-confidence, and even improving mild symptoms of anxiety and depression.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends getting 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week.  So whether you enjoy jogging, Pilates, or basketball, make sure to get your 150 minutes a week.
2 – Breathe

We all take breathing for granted, but it is a valuable tool for relieving stress.  When you are in a stressful situation, your body releases hormones that create a “flight or flight response.”  Your breathing rate increases and your heart beats faster and faster.  While beneficial in the short term to help us catch the metro or fight off overzealous shoppers on Black Friday, if this response continues it can create physical and emotional damage.  The opposite response, known as the “rest and digest” response, serves to lessen stress and the potential damage of the “fight or flight” response.  To promote this “rest and digest” phase over the “fight or flight” phase, practice this simple deep breathing relaxation technique when you’re stressed:

Close your eyes and picture a relaxing scene (my current favorite is the beaches of Costa Rica) and, while counting to five, take a deep slow breath in through your nose.  Then, while counting down from 5, breathe slowly out through your mouth.  Repeat as necessary to encourage relaxation and relieve stress.

3 – Avoid Making a Mole Hill into a Mountain

We’ve all done it- treated a small inconvenience as if it was the end of the world.  Catastrophizing is, when a challenging event occurs, foreseeing the worst possible outcome, however unlikely.  Most likely just because you missed your bus, your significant other is in a bad mood, or your mother isn’t talking to you, the world isn’t ending.  When you feel yourself drawing broader conclusions from a relatively minor hiccup, take a moment to put the issue in context and consider asking a trusted friend for their opinion.

4 – Be Grateful

“The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas.  The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising.  Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude.  If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow.  Today I am blessed.”  — Maya Angelou

Much of what we face on a daily basis are minor challenges compared to the much greater totality of things we are grateful for.  During this holiday season, take a moment each day to reflect on the things you are grateful for and approach each day with an attitude of gratitude.

5 – Help/Treat Yourself

As Donna and Tom Haverford from Parks and Rec always say you don’t need an excuse to treat yourself.

To relieve stress, do (at least) one nice thing for yourself every day.  Start each day with a relaxing ritual such as yoga, take a walk at lunch to clear your mind, or watch a hilarious video on YouTube after a long day.  By taking time out of your day for yourself, you combat the buildup of stress.

6 – Let Someone Else Treat/Help You

If you find you are stressed, seek support from relatives, significant others, friends, and, at any point, physicians or therapists.  Mental illnesses- whether panic attacks, depression, or anxiety- are serious and often treatable issues that need to be brought to the attention of a professional.  We can all benefit from a little help from our friends (or our doctors).

Liked this article? Stay tuned for Alex’s next article on New Year’s Resolutions!

Alex Berger, a new GTJ contributing columnist, is a native of the Washington DC Metropolitan Area.  He graduated in 2008 from the University of North Carolina and is currently in his last year of a combined MD/MPH program. He is excited to be back in the DC area and to share tips on nutrition, health, and fitness. He can be reached at Alexander_Berger@med.unc.edu.