Aaron: What brought you to DC?
Shoshana: A spaceship. I would have said an aeroplane (that’s the correct spelling, by the way), but spaceship is actually, almost, true. I got a job at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, working on a NASA mission called MESSENGER, which is the first satellite to go into orbit around Mercury — it’s been there since March last year and is still going strong.
Aaron: We heard you love rocks. Tell us more.
Shoshana: Yeah! Geology rocks! Rocks are pretty amazing, sometimes even pretty. You can use them as book ends, paper weights, weapons, romantic aids when trying to wake your beau/belle by gently tapping at their window… but seriously, us geologists can learn all kinds of things about both Earth and the solar system by studying them. As a planetary geologist (meaning I study the geology of planets other than Earth, namely Mercury and the Moon) I don’t get to play with the rocks themselves so often, but I do get to be one of the first people to work with the data from some cool space missions. So that makes me a rock star and a space geek. (Attached is a picture of my freakishly small hand holding a particularly large bit of Moon rock; small hands make it look even bigger.)
Aaron: What is it like being Jewish in America?
Shoshana: To be honest, I don’t think it’s much different from being Jewish anywhere else. Jewish life is always centred (again, correct spelling) around family and the community. It just so happens that there are quite a few of both in America. I will say, however, that being part of a Jewish community makes a move across the Atlantic, to a country where I have no family, and to a city where I knew no-one at the beginning of 2011, much easier and less lonely.
Aaron: Do you have an accent?
Shoshana: Well, I don’t think so. However, one of the most common questions I get here is “where are you from?,” so perhaps I do. I’m often mistaken for an Australian, but I am, in fact, a very proud Londoner. Between last week’s Jewish Girl of the Week and me, the Brits seem to be taking over, which is kind of apt seeing as though the 4th of July is coming up…
Aaron: What does the American accent sound like?
Shoshana: Which American accent would that be? Well, I suppose they’re all full of funny ‘r’s and ‘t’s pronounced as ‘d’s, as well as the short ‘a’s instead of long ones. You all sound like movie stars to me!
Aaron: Who is the coolest Jew in DC?
Shoshana: I refrain from answering this one; it’s not nice to have favourites. However, in an emergency, I would definitely pick someone who has a good selection of hats.
Aaron: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Shoshana: A country singer. Or a baker. Or maybe a country-singing baker.
Aaron: Where can we find you on a Friday night?
Shoshana: When I’m not being paid to travel the world, you’ll find me somewhere in NW DC: Chabad/ Kesher/ Sixth & I/ DC Minyan/ having a Friday night meal somewhere with friends.