Jewish Guy – Shai

Jewish Guy - Shai

Which famous living Jew would you want to spend Shabbat with?
Leonard Cohen.  He’s my cousin.  Long ago he split with the family, and I wouldn’t mind talking things out with him up in Montreal over wine, cholent, and singing a little Halleluyah.

Where can we find you on a Friday night?
Usually at Savta’s in Kemp Mill (Silver Spring), but I’m tending to stay downtown more these days, and you can also find me at the gracious Moishe House or having dinner at another locale with friends.

Jews have been known to wander, where is the most exotic place you traveled?
Hands down, Suriname.  I was in the Peace Corps in the little known former Dutch colony north of Brazil.  The mixture of cultures (African, Indian, Indonesian, Chinese, Jewish, Dutch, Amerindian, and more) isolated by rain forest, ocean, and neighboring countries speaking different languages is exotic at the least.  In the span of a few moments you can fly over the Amazon, eat at an Indonesian warung, walk over the sand floor of a nearly 200 year old synagogue, travel by a bus adorned by the painted faces of Bollywood actors, and end up in a village that feels like Africa.  Are you sold?  Here’s an article in B’nai B’rith Magazine that I wrote about the Surinamese Jewish community (page 22) http://mydigimag.rrd.com/publication/?i=44101.

Would you ever make your own Sukkah?
For sure.  We used to build one growing up and though I haven’t done it on my own, I would.  However, and this is very important, it would not be one of those pre-fab Sukkot.  If IKEA starts selling sukkot, we know we’ve gone awry.