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Aaron: What brought you to DC?
Rachel: I moved to DC 5 1/2 years ago after I graduated from Brandeis University. Many of my friends from college had moved to DC after they graduated, and their post-college lives seemed like a lot of fun, so I decided to make the move as well. I moved to DC for a year-long fellowship at PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values. After that year ended, I accepted a job working for BBYO in the area, and I have stayed ever since!
Aaron: What has it been like to work for BBYO?
Rachel: BBYO is the world’s largest Jewish youth movement. I was not a member of BBYO when I was growing up in California, but everything about the mission and vision of the organization fit perfectly with what I wanted to do for a living. For three years, I worked in the regional office in Maryland working directly with the teens who are part of the organization- I loved being a mentor to high school students and watching them grow from little eighth graders to confident seniors and leaders. For the past year and a half, I have worked at BBYO’s International Office in downtown DC focusing on operations and strategic planning. It has been great taking my experience from the field and using it from a bird’s eye view to help grow the organization.
Aaron: What’s your favorite thing about the DC Jewish community?
Rachel: I have two favorite things about the DC Jewish community. First, I love that every night of the week there is something going on- from authors speaking to Jewish film festivals to Shabbat services, there is always something Jewish going on in DC. Second, I love that I can go to an event or Shabbat service and see people I already know, without planning to attend with them. As a friend of mine said recently, DC has all the benefits of a big city while still feeling like a small, intimate community.
Aaron: Who is the coolest Jew?
Rachel: This is such a hard question! I think Joan Rivers is very cool. I saw her at Sixth and I this past year and she was hilarious – she is honest, brutal, sarcastic, and she always looks amazing. It is hard to be a female in comedy, and she does it with confidence and a great energy.
Aaron: Where can we find you a Friday night?
Rachel: On a Friday night I am either at a Shabbat service or having dinner with friends. I’ve recently celebrated Shabbat at Sixth and I, Metro Minyan, and Adas Israel. I love having options all over the city!
Aaron: Finish the sentence: when the Jews gather…
Rachel: …There is a lot of eating, drinking, and laughing…And maybe some arguing for the sake of arguing. Jews know how to have a good time, especially Jews in the District.