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Aaron: What brought you to DC?
Max: My amazing mother, she gets the credit. I was born at Columbia Hospital for Women at 2425 L Street, and haven’t left since. I grew up near Rock Creek Park and now I live in Logan Circle. I’m a 3rd generation Washingtonian as well, so lots of love for The District.
Aaron: How did you get involved in the Jewish community?
Max: I was very uninvolved in the Jewish community growing up, outside of Jewish summer camp that is. I had friends telling me left and right how amazing Birthright is, but I always figured I wasn’t religious enough or wouldn’t have anything in common with people on the trip. Finally around thanksgiving 2011, I begrudgingly signed up for a Shorashim DC Community trip. I figured I would just cancel the trip a week before once I figured out something better to do with those ten days. I ended up going on the trip and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. There’s not enough room here for me to gush about how much I loved that trip. Anyways, about 6 or 7 minutes after I landed, I got a call from the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington (JFGW),asking if I would be interested in getting involved in the Young Leadership Community. Well, almost a year later I’m Jewish Guy of the Week, so I guess I’m doing something right.
Aaron: What types of organizations are you involved with?
Max: As I said, when I returned from Birthright, I sat down with some folks from the Young Leadership at JFGW to get involved. A quick side note on how amazing everyone at the JFGW is, especially Sarah, Sara, and Avital, and how grateful I am to have gotten involved with them. So, from there the first thing I really got involved with was the planning for the Reverse Mifgash. From there, I’ve worked on several committees with the JFGW, and a couple of others. However, what I have spent most of my time on is The Survivor Initiative…
Aaron: Survivor Initiative? Didn’t you guys just have a happy hour? How did that go?
Max: So, The Survivor Initiative was born when Rachel Gerrol came to me way back in the beginning of the year and told me she found out that there are over 200 Holocaust survivors in the DC metro area alone that are living under the federal poverty line and some of whom cant even afford to eat every meal. Well needless to say, we decided we had a responsibility to do something about it. A little while down the road, we had a fantastic committee of folks, who I cant say enough good things about, and a plan to raise awareness and some shekels. Our inaugural event at the beginning of the summer brought together close to 200 people to hear from a survivor as well as some of our amazing partners at JSSA. We raised $15,000 for local survivors and picked up a new slew of people to get involved with us. From there, we helped organize training sessions for survivor volunteering and then recently put together a happy hour at Local 16 where over 180 people came out to show their support. I heard from several people that they thought it was best happy hour of the year, so I think it went pretty darn well. We are planning several big things in the near future and are super excited for whats to come!
Aaron: Who is the coolest Jew?
Max: According to you guys, this week, its me. Seriously though, I would say my dad and grandfathers.
Aaron: What are you most excited for during Chanukah?
Max: Mom, if your reading this, I’m most excited for my eight presents.
Aaron: Where can we find you on a Friday night?
Max: Why, at a Gather the Jews event, of course.