Jewish Guy of the Week – Jesse

386905_384760731640152_412021129_nWant to recommend an outstanding leader to be featured on GTJ? Nominate him/her at info@gatherthejews.com.

Rachel: What brought you to DC?
Jesse: I recently graduated from the University of Maryland College Park and have had the DC bug for as long as I can remember.  The culture, political activism, and history all combined to pull me to DC.

Rachel: You interned with the American Jewish World Service and got to participate in some of their trips.  Where did you go?
Jesse: I was fortunate enough to have traveled with AJWS to Guatemala and Nicaragua, where I spent a week immersed in community life in each country.  Working with local change makers, doing manual labor, brushing up on my Spanish, and confronting my privilege as a white, Jewish male made these trips life changing.  As an intern, I was given the beyond amazing experience to attend the International AIDS Conference and join 35,000 AIDS activists from the around world to share best practices, treatment plans, and to march on the White House demanding increased funding and focus on HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Rachel: What other organizations are you involved with?62803_4799016053075_619586935_n
Jesse: I am always looking for organizations that combine my passions for Judaism and social justice.  I am very involved with J Street and Jews United for Justice.  I am currently working on a social justice curriculum for UMD Hillel and can be frequently found doing homeless outreach with the National Coalition for the Homeless.

Rachel: What is your favorite Jewish holiday?
Jesse: My favorite Jewish holiday is Shabbat.  This weekly time of rest, friends, prayer, silence, and contemplation allows me to unplug and relax from the hustle and stress of the week.  I am an avid cook and Shabbat gives me the opportunity to try out new recipes and meet new people over home-cooked meals.

Rachel: Who is the coolest Jew?
Jesse: Ruth Bader Ginsberg, hands down.  She may be small, she may be old, but she is a powerhouse and a mainstay in American political life AND she does 20 pushups twice a week.

Rachel: Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather…
Jesse: …where the need is greatest.  DC has over 6,500 homeless individuals but only 3,000 shelter beds.  Join me on the night of August 28th for the kick off GTJs homeless outreach event modeled off of New York’s “Midnight Run.”  Want to help plan and/or participate?  Let me know!