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Alyssa Silva is a woman of many talents. She can plan a 300 person Jewish event, sell kosher meats to farmer’s market samplers, and dominate on the softball field. This is why we’re pretty bummed she’s leaving us this summer 🙁 Before she goes, we wanted to make sure all of our readers have the chance to get to know her, and both meet and say goodbye in person at her going away party this coming Sunday. Alyssa – thanks for all you have done and continue to do to make Jewish DC so incredible! We will miss you.
Allie: What brought you to DC?
Alyssa: I was coming from Tucson, Arizona. When I decided I wanted to move to DC, I reached out to my friend Tiffany Harris – who I met at a Moishe House retreat in Arizona – to see if she knew of any housing or job opportunities. She told me there was a resident opening at Moishe House Columbia Heights. One thing led to another, and I moved into that house with Tiffany soon after!
When the Moishe House Columbia Heights accepted me, I drove cross-country to move into the house and figured I would find a job later.
Allie: What is it like living in a Moishe House?
Alyssa: It’s been a whirlwind. I’ve lived here for two years and have seen four different people move in and out as residents. I’ve seen our community change a lot in two years, everything from people who just want to party and meet Jewish singles, to people who want to pursue Jewish learning. I’ve hosted over 168 programs since being here! Overall, I’ve made some really good friends, and met hundreds of people who I’ve connected with in some way.
Allie: What Moishe House program stands out the most?
Alyssa: The Syrian Sweets Soiree. This event went viral. We released the event and overnight there were over 3,000 people said they were interested on Facebook. The event tickets were donation-based and would go to the Syrian American Council, and we had a speaker who was speaking about Syrian refugees and the crisis there. We had sold over 500 tickets and raised over $5,000 to help Syrian families trying to resettle in the U.S. Since we couldn’t fit 500 people in the Moishe House, we held it at Hawthorne, which gave us their rooftop space for free.
Allie: I hear that you’re soon going to be leaving us to live in Israel. Tell me about that!
Alyssa: I’ve decided that it’s time to continue my education and am going to be doing a Jewish Experiential Educators program at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem! I’ll be moving out of Moishe House at the end of May, and you’re all invited to my going away party this coming Sunday!
Allie: What’s your favorite way to spend Shabbat?
Alyssa: With people that I love, having a beautiful song-led Kabbalat Shabbat where everyone is singing followed by a delicious dinner with lots of wine and talking.
Allie: I hear you keep pretty busy in DC, tell me about that.
Alyssa: I have four jobs! My main job is at Maryland Hillel where i am the Programming and Operations Associate. I’m also a peer-led retreat mentor with Moishe House, and a Moishe House resident so I plan programs programs [as a part of this role]. I also work at the Bethesda Central Farm Market for a kosher meat distributor called CWS where I help him sell kosher sandwiches and ribs.
Allie: Wow! How did wind up working at the Bethesda Central Farm Market?
Alyssa: I was on JSwipe one day and swiped right on a guy named Hillel. He then messaged me and asked if I wanted to help him sell meat on Sundays. I didn’t totally get what he meant, but he explained that his brother owns a meat business and wanted someone to help with sales. This was before I found my job at Maryland Hillel, so I said “sure”! It was a way I could make some easy cash on Sundays. It’s super fun and the guys are awesome.
Allie: What’s your favorite way to de-stress?
Alyssa: I play softball every week with DC Fray (just like Alissa!). Finding this team was one of the first things I did when I moved to DC. I played softball in high school, it’s one of my favorite things to do. I didn’t know anyone on the team, and now I’ve been on the same team for two years! I also wind down by being a the farmer’s market on Sundays. It’s super calm and just fun. I’m your typical extrovert – so sitting in my room not talking to anyone would make me stressed out.
Allie: Who is your Jewish role model and why?
Alyssa: My mom. Growing up, it was really important to my mom that I learn about my Jewish heritage, because she didn’t grow up with that. My mom and I learned about Judaism together. When I was in middle school, my mom taught a class called Social Action Sunday at my Hebrew School. Instead of sitting in a classroom, she had us go to a men or women’s shelter or animal rescue and actually do tikkun olam together. My mom has always pushed me to be the ultimate kind person and be a Jewish role model to my peers.
Allie: What’s at the top of your bucket list?
Alyssa: Portugal. My last name is Portuguese, and there’s all of this history we don’t know about my father’s side of the family. I’d love to do some digging on that.
Allie: if you could eat only 3 foods for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?
Alyssa: Sushi, specifically salmon sashimi. Gefilte fish. And brisket.
Allie: Complete the sentence: When Jews of DC Gather…
Alyssa: We make noise.
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