Aaron: We heard you moved to DC for the summer. Why?
Yoni: I moved to DC for the summer firstly to spend time with my fiancee, Jen, and also to get some experience working in the international Jewish world. I have had an amazing time interning here, and I would like to thank to Alex, Samara and RJ, who helped make this experience meaningful.
Aaron: Someone said you love to throw big Israeli parties, tell us more.
Yoni: I grew up really connected to music, with music all around me, and my way to combine this with my love of Israeli culture is to throw some big Israeli parties. In college, I was head of the Department of New Immigrants and Foreign Students in the student government, and my role was to help the students adapt to their new lives in Israel. I discovered that music has a magical way of achieving this goal. In addition, I’ve been my “family DJ” for a while (my family also loves big Israeli parties) — under the supervision of my Dad, who is also involved in the Israeli music world … and I must say that a party without Israeli music isn’t a real party.
Aaron: What is your favorite part about being Jewish?
Yoni: My favorite part about being Jewish is always discovering new wisdom within Judaism, and the fact that Judaism gives me a foundation for a healthy life on all levels. Moreover, I always find it so fascinating to get to know the rich variety of Jewish communities around the world and their different traditions, and the fact that no matter who you are or where you come from, you can always feel at home within a Jewish community. Overall, it feels like an honor to be a link in the chain of the Jewish people, with all of its history.
Aaron: What is the biggest difference between Israel and DC?
Yoni: First of all, and the most importantly, in my hometown of Tel Aviv, the beach is always accessible! Having no beach makes summer in DC a little challenging physically and mentally. Also, in Tel Aviv, people are very chilled out and more direct in how they speak to each other. But, when I will be back in Israel, I will miss the way the DC Jewish community is vibrant and connected – which doesn’t happen so often there. Also, I will miss the fact that I can purchase Ziploc bags in a drugstore…
Aaron: Where will you be for the big holidays?
Yoni: I will spend the holidays in Tel Aviv with my family, praying in our local Yemenite shul, and most importantly, with Jen who will be in Israel during the big holidays for the first time.
Aaron: Who is your favorite DC Jew?
Yoni: Without a doubt, my favorite DC Jew is Jennifer, who is the reason for me being here. But also, during my time in DC, I have gotten to know many other people who I really appreciate and Rabbi Freundel is one of them. But don’t worry, Hillary and Aaron you are on the list as well…
Aaron: We heard you are getting married…how/where did you meet this amazing woman?
Yoni: So, I met my awesome fiancee Jen over 2 years ago while she was an intern in Israel through the MASA Program. We were both participants in a weekend Dialogue Seminar for Diaspora Jews and Israelis. During a year and a half, we showed our commitment to the airline companies by flying back and forth… As you can see, two years later we are still in our own dialogue together…
Aaron: We heard you speak many languages, or at least try. What is your favorite language to speak?
Yoni: My favorite language is absolutely Italian. This is actually the first one I learned (after Hebrew) when my Mom gave me an Italian-Hebrew dictionary for my birthday. Since I remember myself, I have always loved Italy for its culture, language, art and more. Therefore, learning the language was the best way to get to know this country on a deep level. My favorite languages to try to speak are “angry Russian Israeli going to the doctor” and “Moroccan Jewish grandfather talking about his experiences in Morocco.”
Aaron: How many baseball caps do you own?
Yoni: Actually, I have three and two of them are of the NY Yankees. Recently, my family in Boston tried to convert me and thought that a lovely gift of a new Red Sox hat would change my mind. But no worries, I’m loyal to my NY hat. By the way, the Red Sox hat is for sale for the one who offers the highest price…
Aaron: Would you ever wear one that says “USA” on it?
Yoni: Of course, in order to justify and to maintain my tourist identity, this is one of the requirements.
Aaron: Where can we find you on a Friday night?
Yoni: Usually, as a good Jew, I can be found at the closest grocery store, doing last minute shopping just before Shabbat starts. But afterwards, probably I will be at Kesher or sometimes Sixth and I, followed by a Kiddush dinner at home or with our awesome friends.