Jewish Girl of the Week – Alanna

What brought you to DC?
I studied government in graduate school and when we graduated, my entire class migrated to DC to find jobs. I joined the crew and started working for the government in 2009. DC is obviously a great place to work in public service, but I have also been impressed by its creative scene and the Jewish scene. But I am not impressed with the fresh juice scene, for all you entrepreneurs…

Where will we find you on a typical Shabbat?
I like to mix it up on Friday nights, so you can find me at Sixth & I, Adas Israel, Tikkun Leil Shabbat, or once in a blue moon hosting a Shabbat dinner featuring loaves of my dad’s homemade challah imported from Kansas.

You’ve considered writing a book. Tell us about that.
My grandmother is originally from Greece and I grew up around a lot of Sephardic traditions and delicious food. There is something about the Sephardic affection, treats, superstitions, and sayings that is such a unique and beautiful part of Jewish culture. Last year, I spent several months in Greece, and I was impressed by the history of the Jews there and how vibrant the community once was. I want to tell a story of this place and about the Sephardic culture that thrives there. Plus my grandma and her sisters were businesswomen – one owned a beauty shop, one was a hat maker and another was a dressmaker – and I love the fact that these women were doing awesome things and were probably completely oblivious to the feminist movement going on across the pond. So now I just need to learn how to write…

You were the center for your high school basketball team-a great feat for someone who is 5’3″! What was that like? 
Let’s just say we did not win a lot of games. But we had a lot of fun.

You work in citizenship and immigration services. What do most people not understand about the immigration process?
Most people still think that that the agency is called the INS, which
hasn’t been its name since 2003 (its US Citizenship and Immigration
Services). For more info on the process, check out our website!