At the risk of sounding incredibly basic and maybe even a little creepy, I have a major friend crush on Naomi LeVine (pronounced Lah-vIne). *Hi Naomi!* I met her on the Jewish Spirituality Camping Trip this past fall (planned by GatherDC’s Jewish Outdoorsman of the Week – Daniel, Jewish Camper of the Week – Mark, and the phenomenal Natalie Birnbaum who has not yet been featured, but not to fret – her day will soon come).
I was immediately drawn to her positive spirit, laid-back energy, and heavenly singing voice. After guiding us through hours of ukulele filled jam sessions around the campfire, I knew she had to become the Jewish Person of the Week. Lucky for me – and now YOU – we have an exclusive 1:1 interview with Naomi right here.
Allie: How did you wind up living in DC?
Naomi: I moved here in 2016 to start my master’s in Couple and Family Therapy at University of Maryland.
Allie: Why did you decide to become a couple and family therapist?
Naomi: I had been doing a lot of work with kids, and realized that while that work was really incredible, those kids would then go home and see things that would reinforce negative patterns. So, that shifted my interest into working with families and couples. I feel like that’s where I can make the most lasting change.
Allie: What inspired you to become a therapist in the first place?
Naomi: The passion to make changes at the root of the cause coupled with the importance of individualized work and being able to talk about issues in a personal way.
Allie: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Naomi: When I see or hear about a positive interaction that somebody had that feels different than an interaction that they’ve had before. I get to see that something is different and that the work we’ve been doing is worth it.
Allie: What is one quick tip you would give to help couples who might be reading this interview?
Naomi: Don’t lose sight of why you like each other. You have to be friends first. You’re going to have moments of conflict and moments when you disagree, but try to keep that base level of respect for the other person and understand their perspective – even if you don’t agree with it.
Allie: Outside of work, I hear that you’re currently a part of GatherDC’s Open Doors Fellowship. Tell me about that!
Naomi: It’s a fellowship where DC Jewish young adults come together to learn how to form intentional, one-on-one relationships with Jewish 20s and 30s across the DC-area. I believe in personal relationship-building being the key way we can make our Jewish community feel smaller and more welcoming. So if anyone wants to grab coffee, let me know! It’s on Gather.
Allie: What would be your dream free day in DC?
Naomi: I would wander around Eastern Market for a bit, and then head over to the American Art Museum. If it’s nice out I would spend time reading outside on the Mall. Then, I’d grab some dairy-free ice cream at Jeni’s on my way home!
Allie: What are your go-to ways to relax?
Naomi: I love playing music. If I have a long day, I pick up a guitar and play or write something. I also love reading, and doing yoga or going to spin class at Zengo. And a good, long shower.
Allie: Tell me more about your guitar playing/songwriting!
Naomi: I come from a very musical family, both of my parents play a wide variety of instruments. They had me in piano lessons when I was little, but after a few years I quit because I hated it. In eighth grade, I picked up my dad’s guitar and he showed me how to play. That rekindled my interest in playing instruments. So, now I play guitar, ukulele, and tried to pick piano back up. I love to sing.
Allie: What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?
Naomi: Tu B’shvat. My family went all out for Tu B’shvat. We had a huge seder with all different kinds of fruit and vegetarian food. There’s singing, reading, it’s so much fun, and everything is very intentional about it.
Allie: With Purim coming up, do you have a favorite hamantaschen flavor?
Naomi: The only time I ever bake is for Purim. I love baking hamantaschen! Last year I made a cookies & cream hamantaschen and a matcha white chocolate hamantaschen. I also made a samoa one that had the coconut caramel filling and then dipped in chocolate. This year, I’m going to do a fruity pebbles hamantaschen. I love experimenting with different fillings.
Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…
Naomi: We play a wild game of Jewish geography!
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