Jewish Girl of the Week – Courtney

Why do you love DC Jewish life?
Growing up in Potomac, Maryland, I had always been surrounded by Jews, via my synagogue, BBYO, and summer camp.  Being Jewish was the norm.  Going to college in the South was a wake-up call that not everyone is familiar with Jewish culture.  I recall one of my roommates telling me that she “knew a Jew, once.”   Now back in DC, I have found that as an adult I truly appreciate the Jewish community I once took for granted.  I love attending all of the fun social events, enjoy spending a song-filled Shabbat with Rick Recht or Sheldon Low at Sixth & I, and look forward to meeting the interesting people who attend these events.   Also, I love how inclusive the Jewish community is in DC.

Where were  you for Hannukah?
Naples, Florida with my family.  Tanning, reading, and relaxing by the pool.

If you could light the menorah in any city around the world, where would you want to light it?
I love to travel and have not yet been to Asia.  I have heard Hong Kong is an incredible city to visit and since it is home to the “Symphony of Lights,” it seems like it would be an appropriate venue.

You’re into volunteering.  What type of volunteering do you do around DC?
Education is really important to me so I like to focus my volunteer efforts on organizations that promote education and empower students.  I volunteer weekly with Learning Ally, which provides educational materials on tape for the blind and those with learning disabilities, recording textbooks for students.  I love to read so it is a great opportunity to read and learn, while helping the community (I know, I know… super dorky).  Additionally, I work with The Future Project, which is a new and innovative organization whose goal is to inspire students across the nation.   We aim to do this by working with high school students, encouraging them to take on weekly challenges to push themselves in school, work, relationships, and life, and ultimately supporting them in a project informed by their passions that has significant community impact.  I am currently coaching a high school freshman in building her Future Project and am excited to see what inspiring things we will accomplish together.

We heard you are a dancer.  What type(s) of dance do you like to do?
Currently I am really into Zumba (which if you have never done, I highly suggest you check it out!).  I recently took an Egyptian Cabaret belly dance class and growing up I primarily danced jazz.  However, I have always loved trying new things so have dabbled in tap, hip hop, African, Latin, ballet, modern, and Turkish belly dance.  In fact, I was so fascinated with belly dance I wrote my high school thesis on it.

Who is the coolest DC Jew?
Besides myself (kidding…), I would say one of my roommates, Dina Manevich, is the coolest DC Jew I know.  She is super outgoing and loves meeting new Jews.  I credit her with getting me involved in the DC Jew scene.  I would venture to say that you probably all have met her at some point, but if you have not, you should get to know her!