Mitzvah Maker – John

John- GTJ Director of Menschery

John- GTJ Director of Menschery

Tell us about the program you are doing.
This Sunday we are gathering the young professional Jews to volunteer at the largest Jewish nursing and rehabilitation center on the East Coast. We will be volunteering in their rehabilitation center, which services not only elderly residents but also locals who are recovering from surgeries and sports injuries…even people our age! We will meet at 1:15 at the Wasserman residence. I can pick up folks from the metro at 12:45.

What is so great about it?
Who doesn’t love elderly Jews? Their bitingly witty humor, unfiltered shpeals, and “Did I mention I have a grandchild who would be poyfect for you?” GTJ has been doing a great job gathering us for social and religious events, but I believe it’s time we used our large following to do some good old Tikkun Olam.

We heard you salsa, which jew would you most like to dance with?
Any kosher lady who is brave enough to enter the dance floor is fair game! I make it a point to dance with every single Jewish girl who attends my GesherCity Salsa Cluster events.

We also heard you drop beats as a DJ. Who’s on your turntable?
Depends on the crowd. For large events Top 40, but my real passion is Latin music, so I’ll throw in some Ozomatli or Santana for a bit of azucar (“sugar,” a catch phrase of the late Celia Cruz).

What does it mean to be a part of GTJ?
It means being part not only of an organization that connects the young Jewish community but joining a fellowship of civic minded Jewish entrepreneurs who want to use their passion for Judaism and their creativity to strengthen our community. I have already learned so much just from attending staff meetings (hey folks, don’t complain about them. Tila always makes great food!)

What’s the next big project you are going to do?

Honor Jewish Veterans Day, May 30th this year. It is going to be a big undertaking, but I found out that the famous Daily Forward newspaper is doing a series on Jewish KIA (killed in action) in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. I thought to myself, why only honor the deceased? So, I want to organize a nationwide volunteer effort on May 30th to reach out and touch the lives of the families of deceased Jewish soldiers AND connect with living Jewish veterans of all wars. I want to do this in as many major cities as possible. If you are interested in getting involved in the first such event of this scale, email me.

Where can we find you on a Friday night?
I love me some Sixth and I or Adas….can’t beat either. That being said, I had a wonderful home cooked meal (I made a ridicuawesome salad) last Shabbos with a few friends and loved it. Whole Foods has great Challah!