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Meet Stephanie: Jewish Hip-Hop Dancer of the Week!

Move over Channing Tatum, this extroverted, Israeli chocolate loving hip-hop dancer is ready to take center stage. Get to know Stephanie Aseraph, because she’s one of the most vivacious, sweet, passionate women you’ll meet – and has a not-so-secret party trick of being able to kill it on the dance floor.

Allie: I hear you’re quite the dancer. Tell me about that!

Stephanie: I love hip-hop dancing. Dancing is a huge part of my life. I started dancing after seeing the movie “Honey” in second or third grade, and deciding that I wanted to be just like the star of the movie.

Allie: What do you love most about dancing?

Stephanie: When I dance and am on stage, I just forget about everything and all the troubles in the world go away – nothing else matters. Dancing has also given me so many amazing opportunities. In high school, I was a part of a dance troupe called Future Shock DC, and we went all around the country for showcases… and one year went to Barcelona!

In college, I had a lot of friends from Latin America and they helped me get into salsa and bachata and merengue. Hip-hop is my favorite though. Now, I’m not taking dance classes anymore, but I can go out dancing with friends– to places in the DC area like The Salsa Room, Cuba Libre, and El Centro.

Allie: Who are some dancers you admire?

Stephanie: Matt Steffanina is my favorite choreographer. Also, Channing Tatum is amazing. I love all the movies he’s in when he dances.

Allie: What motivated you to work for Masa Israel Journey?

Stephanie: Coming from an Israeli family, Israel is a really strong part of my identity. I went on a Masa program when I was a Junior in college at Tel Aviv University…and then, when I came back my senior year at Towson University, became a campus ambassador and did recruitment for Masa. After college, I did my Master’s in Leadership in Jewish Education and Communal Service, and knew I wanted to work in the Jewish professional world. When this job opened up at Masa, it was perfect because not only does it allow me to work with others with a passion for Judaism, but with a passion for Israel as well. Being able to support an organization that allows American Jews to connect to Israel and bring them on programs that can change their life, like Masa changed mine, is an amazing opportunity.

Allie: Who is your Jewish role model?

Stephanie: My mom. She’s a wholesome person that I’ve always admired and looked up to. She contributes very significantly to my love for Judaism and Israel, and she has always been my role model and my best friend.

Allie: What do you love most about Jewish DC?

Stephanie: There’s so much going on! I feel like I’m always learning about a new young Jewish professional group. It’s incredible to see so many people connected to the Jewish community, and that it’s such a broad network that there’s an event for everyone.

Allie: What’s your favorite Passover food?

Stephanie: Matzah with chocolate spread. But not just any chocolate spread…it has to be Hashachar spread – which is an Israeli chocolate spread. I love it because I can spread it on matzah and eat chocolate for breakfast…when else do I get to do that?!

Allie: What’s at the top of your travel bucket list?

Stephanie: Greece has been on the top of my travel bucket list since I saw “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”. After that, I really want go to South America and explore Colombia, Argentina, Guatemala, Panama, and Brazil.

Allie: Favorite show to binge watch?

Stephanie: “Friends.” I cannot get enough it. But, of new shows, I’d say “This Is Us.” Randall is hilarious, and Jack is just amazing.

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

Stephanie: They become connected!

 

 

 

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.

Jewish Mensch of the Week – Josh

1913734_1524321174533721_5696876135623580384_nJackie: What made you initially wary of being featured for Gather the Jews?
Josh: I think every person in our community should be featured by Gather the Jews. There are so many people doing amazing and impressive work our there that should be featured before me. I tend to like to be a behind the scenes guy and do what I do without any public recognition. However, since I got a Jewish Guy of the Week t-shirt before I was every featured on Gather the Jews, I felt compelled to earn the shirt. It would not have been right for me to wear it in public without being featured.

Jackie: What first brought you to DC?
Josh: I came to DC back in August of 2009 to start my year of service with AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps. I then left for a year to work at The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and then came back to DC once again to work for AVODAH starting in October of 2011.

Jackie: Do you have a favorite story from your work with Housing Unlimited, Inc?
Josh: Anytime I sign a lease with someone who has been on our wait list is a favorite story for me. We have a wait list of over 200 individuals in mental health recovery in need of affordable housing up in Montgomery County. So when I get to hand over the keys to someone who has been homeless or living in substandard housing and see that smile on their face, it reminds me how important and needed the work is that we do.

11704888_781452161855_3791433005746740942_nJackie: Anyone who runs into you knows you are a Bernie Sanders fan. Have you always been politically interested/active?
Josh: I have ever since my failed run for class president my senior year of high school and my political career came to a sudden and tragic end. But in all seriousness I have been politically active since high school. I was a delegate for Howard Dean at my state Democratic caucus where I was the youngest representative from my town. I have participated in environmental protests in front of the Israeli Supreme Court to being interviewed outside of an NRA press conference for holding a ‘Down With The NRA’ sign while trying to get Congress to act on sensible gun reform legislation. These days I focus my political energy on the Bernie Sanders campaign as he resonates with where I stand politically.

Jackie: I hear you have some interesting things in your backpack, what are they?
Josh: I always like to keep myself grounded and remind myself of where I came from. One thing I have is a little pocket blessing on a little fabric scroll that reads, “Seek Peace And Pursue It.” I got that after my year of services with AVODAH. I also have a Morgan Silver Dollar from 1884 that was a graduation gift from my high school shop teacher (yes, we had shop class up in Vermont). And lastly I have a tiny hand stone that is of the world made by Danforth Pewter which I got from the Environmental Studies Department at The University of Vermont. It always reminds me that I have the world in the palm of my hand.

Jackie: You’re involved with a lot of organizations around DC, do you have some recommendations for events that we should be attending this month (January)?
Josh: On January 28th at 7pm I’ll be going to the Masa Israel Journey will be hosting its Winter Shalom U’Lehitraot Party at Moishe House Columbia Heights where Masa Israel Alumni are invited to welcome back recent returnees and send off the next class of Masa Israel participants. Just RSVP to Jenn at Jrheuban@shalomdc.org. And who can forget the Gather the Jews’ January Happy Hour on Tuesday, January 26th at Redline.

Jackie: What is your favorite part of the Open Doors Fellowship so far?
Josh: Meeting all of the people who make up this amazing and dynamic young professional community in Washington, DC. And also Rabbi Aaron Potek’s improv skills and getting to know other amazing people in my cohort. If they have reached out to you for coffee you should definitely take them up on the offer!

IMG_2515Jackie: Who is your favorite Jew?
Josh: I’m changing the questions to Jews because I can, right? I would go with my Bubbie who I talk with almost daily. She reminds me of where my family came from and the importance of connecting to Judaism in whatever way is most important to you. I would also be amiss if I did not mention my parents who always taught me that the best things in life aren’t things and to always stand up for what is right.

Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather, there will be…
at least one of seven reasons that Jews might be there: National Identity, Spirituality, Jewish Values, Community, Shared Memory, Religious Practice, and Ancestry.

Masa Israel Featured Internship: Teaching Internship, College for All

As an intern at College for All you will have the opportunity to teach kids and teenagers (ranging from the 3rd grade until graduation) from impoverished neighborhoods, to assist them in reaching their goals and providing the extra help necessary to fulfill their potential.

College for All will guide interns in the special educational methods they use in helping the youths of their organization.

College for All was established so as to provide equal educational opportunities for all children, while narrowing social gaps within Israeli society. The founders of College for All realized that motivated and talented children from economically distressed neighborhoods rarely receive appropriate support and encouragement and often fail to complete their education. A large percentage of pupils from impoverished neighborhoods identified as high achievers in elementary school have to deal with economic adversity, family hardships and social difficulties and do not receive appropriate support and encouragement. Many end up without a high school diploma and do not continue towards a higher education.

http://www.interninisrael.org/teaching-internship-college/

Masa Israel Featured Internship: Financial Assistant, The Digital House

The Digital House is looking for someone who can help with the financial side of the business by helping process invoices for the applications that have shops, manage the company budgets, as well provide over all support to the financial director.

The Digital House is a start-up that designs, creates, markets and distributes smart apps for iPhone and Android. The company tests the success of the application in Israel before going on to launch it in the UK, Canada and the US. http://www.interninisrael.org/financial-assistant-digital-house/

Masa Israel Featured Internship: News and New Media Fellow, Government Press Office

The Government Press Office is looking for an intern who has a solid understanding of Israel’s history, political process, public diplomacy, and challenges faced in the media. The intern’s responsibilities will include assisting with the maintenance of the office’s foreign media survey relating to Israel and keeping the foreign press informed of upcoming events and conferences. Fellows will be encouraged to participate in media tours, conferences, and other events relating to the office’s activities.

The Government Press Office is assigned with the responsibility of coordinating channels of communication between the Israeli government and the press. The division issues press accreditation and is responsible for facilitating press coverage of key state functions and visits of foreign dignitaries. http://www.interninisrael.org/news-media-fellow-government-press-office/

Masa Israel Featured Internship: Research Internship and Legal Internship, Kan-Tor & Acco

As the Research Intern you will be responsible for identifying regulations and policies affecting U.S. Immigration Law today using databases and web searches. In addition you will research current laws and regulations on a per client basis. The Legal Writing intern’s responsibilities will include researching and writing articles for publication, and preparing thorough, well-written research reports on a series of issues, including (but not limited to): relocation matters, international regulations, etc.

Kan-Tor & Acco is a global relocation law firm comprised of three inter-related practice areas: Israel-bound relocation, U.S.-bound relocation & global relocation. The firm strives to contribute added value to the practice of immigration law through publications on a wide variety of international regulations and relocation matters. The attorneys have authored books on relocation-related issues, published in English, German and Hebrew, as well as a series of Client Guides on specific visa types. http://www.interninisrael.org/kan-tor-acco/

Masa Israel Featured Internship: Coexistence Educator, American Corner Arab-Jewish Community Center

Interns will gain experience in English tutoring as well as participate in the Big Brother/Sister program. In addition, interns will assist with program coordination/public relations by helping the director set up, run, and promote the programs that the center undertakes. Daily tasks will include brainstorming, research, data entry, updating the social media sites, as well as other routine tasks.

This is an organization funded partially by the American Embassy and the Municipality of Tel Aviv Jaffa. American Corner AJCC runs a number of different programs, all with the aim of promoting American values, such as tolerance, co-existence, and democracy. http://www.interninisrael.org/coexistence-educator-american-corner-arab-jewish-community-center/

Masa Israel Featured Internship: Social Work Internship, AMICHAI NPO

The intern at AMICHAI will run youth activities, help adults manage life within the community, and assist people with disabilities obtain employment.

AMICHAI is a non-profit organization, established in 1994, by a group of families of severely disabled children, with a primary objective to provide mentally disabled individuals opportunities to integrate into the larger society through creative housing, recreation and employment opportunities. AMICHAI believes and advocates that all individuals with cognitive, intellectual and developmental disabilities have the right to live in dignity, as equal members, within the greater community.

http://www.interninisrael.org/social-work-internship-amichai-npo/

Program Coordinator, Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) – Provided by Tikkun Olam Tel Aviv-Jaffa

As the Program Coordinator at SACH, you will be given the opportunity to work directly with children and parents seeking medical care in Israel.  In addition, you will work with the administrative staff in the areas of fund-raising and public relations.

Save a Child’s Heart is an Israeli-based international humanitarian project, whose mission is to improve the quality of pediatric care for children from developing countries. SACH achieves this work by bringing children with life-threatening heart diseases from the developing world to undergo heart surgery in Israel, while also training doctors from those countries to perform such surgeries. http://www.interninisrael.org/program-coordinator-save-childs-heart-sach/

Masa Israel Featured Internship: Marketing Coordinator, Tzunami

Marketing Coordinator, Tzunami – Provided by Career Israel

Tzunami Inc. is seeking a marketing coordinator with experience in online and social media marketing.

 

As an intern, you will be responsible for performing market research and providing insight on new market entry. You’ll execute and analyze the success of marketing campaigns and advertisements. The Marketing Coordinator will also be responsible for online and social media marketing – updating our blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. You’ll have the chance to work with the marketing manager to develop case studies, direct marketing templates, customer appreciation letters and interpret customer purchasing statistics.

Tzunami Inc. is a leading provider of Microsoft SharePoint Migration solutions. Tzunami Deployer, the company’s flagship migration tool, saves up to 90% of traditional migration time, lowering labor costs and providing quick access to more accurate content. Offering a user-friendly solution to real-world business challenges, Tzunami Deployer effortlessly transfers data from older Enterprise Content Management Systems (ECM). http://www.interninisrael.org/marketing-coordinator-tzunami/