Yelena on why she should be Jewish Girl of the Year:
I try to be the person the Jewish community helped me become; accepting of all for who they are, welcoming and social, selfless in the support of others, and grateful for life’s gifts. My time volunteering and being a part of the Jewish community is unbelievably meaningful to me.
You recently transitioned from being a fairly passive Jew to being a super active one. When and how did this happen?
Many people say their Birthright trip was life changing, but in my case, it really was! Two years ago, I went from having no concept of Jewish philanthropic work nor being a part of a Jewish community my entire life, to attending and helping create programs and events that bring the young DC Jewish community together.
If you had to add 5 Commandments to the original ten, what would they be?
Thou shall laugh every day.
Thou shall use all your vacation days, remember work can’t bring you chicken soup when you’re sick; friends and family do.
Thou shall help the community unselfishly, one day you’ll need it too.
Thou shall learn to drive and walk with the speed of traffic (get out of the left lane).
Thou shall dance in public without being embarrassed.
Favorite D.C. monument? Why?
The Lincoln Memorial because as cliché as it sounds, honesty really is one of the most important virtues. I think there is something very powerful about being there and the reminder of what greatness in the face of adversity makes possible.
You have 1,902 facebook friends… That’s a lot… How do you “Win Friends and Influence People?”
Haha, I hadn’t realized until you said something! I don’t think I do anything to “win” or “influence”, I definitely have a “more-the-merrier” mind set. I love meeting new people, bringing friends together, and think no matter what you are doing, anything is fun with great company. I’ve said it before, and for me it’s true, I’m happy when my friends are happy!