Jewish Guy of the Week – Niv

So what makes you a special DC Jew? I wouldn’t say I’m any more special than other DC Jews; I actually have a lot in common with them. Many of my Jewish friends in the city are politically involved, have strong feelings about Israel (one way or another), have traveled and spent time abroad, and have some involvement with Jewish life. So I think I fit right in to that community.

Can you tell us about this “involvement with Jewish life?”
You know, occasional Moishe House dinners, meeting with my former colleagues from AIPAC, watching Kol Nidre on YouTube…  I guess working for a Jewish Magazine helps (Moment Magazine).

What’s the best piece you’ve ever written?  Link us to it.
Oh that’s tough. I think it might be a tie between a Washington Post “On Faith” piece about religious groups lobbying for progressive policies based on their faith, and an op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor about the use of mockery and humor in politics (it was right around the Jon Stewart rally).

I should also say that I’m really excited for my story on human rights coming up in the November issue of Moment.

Writing for a Jewish magazine — plumbing the depths of Judaism — has made you like Jews less or more?
Funny question!  Well, the truth is both. It’s reminded me how much depth there is to Judaism, and how interesting and thoughtful it can be. That said, the same themes keep coming up (as my lovely colleagues can attest), and at a certain point you sort of get over the excitement of discovering that some celebrity is Jewish or hearing the latest finding about the Holocaust. But I’m moving to Israel, so the Jewish thing is clearly not out of my system yet!

There are celebrities that are Jewish?!?!  Kidding.  I think the Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) Jewish revelation is still my favorite.  Speaking of your Moment colleagues… why don’t you tell us a bit about Moment and some of its quirks.
Moment is a very special place. On the one hand, you could wear pajamas to work, but on the other hand you might be up all night at the office before a deadline. That makes for a lot of office bonding. Then you have random Jewish celebrities show up to say hi or get interviewed.  It’s pretty entertaining.

Which authors/columnists/poets have most inspired/formed your style of writing?
To be honest, I don’t think of myself as a writer. Writing is just the medium for exploring hidden truths or expounding discussions or revealing knowledge, which are the aspects of journalism that turn me on. Claiming inspiration from a writer would require me to acknowledge some set personal style, which I think I’m still developing.

Can you share any of the hidden truths you’ve found?
If I did they wouldn’t be hidden!  In my upcoming story, for example, I think that people’s politics very much color how they perceive current events and important trends, which reinforces their political views. It’s this interesting circular behavior.

What’s next?
I’m off to Tel Aviv!  I’ll be a breaking news editor for the Jerusalem Post, which I’m really excited about, and relishing the fact that I’ll be living in a city on the beach. I also have dear friends and relatives there, including my grandparents. (There’s one fun “interesting Jew” fact actually; my grandfather blew up the King David Hotel when it was a British military headquarters in mandatory Palestine.  How many people can claim that?)

Woah.  Amazing.  Is that why you’re in the States now?  Because your grandfather had to hightail it out of Israel following the incident?  What distinguishes this act from the acts of violence we see in Israel today?
On the contrary, he’s considered a hero, and still lives there with my grandmother. I think an important difference is that it was a military target, and they tried to avoid civilian casualty, but in many ways it is characteristic of the violence that has plagues the region for a century.

***Bemoan the departure of Niv at the next Moment Magazine happy hour on Tuesday, October 11 at Iron Horse.