Jewish Guy – Marcelo

Jewish Guy - Marcelo

I heard you’re from Puerto Rico, what do you miss (or not miss) most about it? And what’s the Jewish community like there?
There are certainly little things I miss about Puerto Rico, such as the old San Juan area, the FOOD, and the colors.  More importantly, I miss my family and friends!

I’m glad you are asking that question because a lot of people here in the States have no idea there’s a Jewish community in Puerto Rico.  And why would they?!  Here in the US, the Jewish community is certainly two things we are not in Puerto Rico: BIG and public.  There are around 3 synagogues in Puerto Rico and a Chabad Center. And although we have Ashkenazim, Sephardim (just like me!), and Mizrachim, the community consists of only approximately 2,000 families.  Acts of anti-semitism are rare in Puerto Rico, but they do happen, so the community certainly feels the need to keep its Jewish identity and traditions to itself.  I wish we were open about it though because I think at the end it just fuels feelings of ignorance and misunderstanding.

If you were on death row, what would your last meal be?
Without a doubt: mofongo!  Lots of meals in PR are plantain-based for the obvious reasons.  Mofongo is a oval-shaped meal made exclusively out of plantain, and then it’s filled with whatever you want, be it vegetables, chicken, etc.  Otherwise, I would settle for some bourekas.
 
Imagine you could hit up Adams Morgan with any biblical Jew, who would it be and why?
I think my Adams Morgan buddy would have to be Ruth, without a doubt! I would love to take her to a nice coffee place or even for falafels and ask her what’s her take on the conversion law in Israel.

If you had to describe your day as a traffic sign, what would it be and why?
I’m probably a “No stopping anytime” sign. I’m constantly thinking of alternative ways of doing something, and I love having different plans for anything, even when I go out with friends. That being said, the same goes for partying: “no stopping anytime”.

Did you watch the World Cup? If so, any thoughts you’d like to share?
I’m completely obsessed with anything between two countries. So to answer your question: of course I watched the World Cup.  I was very excited to see lots of Latin American teams make it to the group of 16, although we all know by now what happened at the end.  I hope to see Israel qualify for 2014, and I hope the US and lots of Latin American countries will do well.
 
I also have to say I just loved the way this World Cup served to portray South Africa. I actually lived in the Cape Town area for an internship program in 2002, and I just felt in love with the country.  It’s not the Rainbow Nation for nothing.
 
Where can you be found on a Friday night?
I love Shabbat services on Friday night and the DC area certainly has a significant amount of options.  I regularly attend the following: Sixth and I (because it’s extremely welcoming!), TLS (because it’s the Dupont area), Beit Mishpacha (a great minyan with a LGBT perspective), Adas Israel (because it’s near my place and my boyfriend’s 😉 and finally but certainly one of my favorites Magen David in White Flint (It makes me feel closer to home).