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Rachel: What brought you to DC?
Kevin: I’m a native Washingtonian. I studied mechanical engineering in college, and since then I’ve been working near Dulles Airport for an air traffic management research and engineering company. I research air traffic control and engineer new ways to handle air traffic more efficiently and safely.
Rachel: What’s your favorite thing about DC?
Kevin: I enjoy exploring DC’s history and being part of its Jewish community. The summer between high school and college, I worked as a tour guide for Tourmobile. The company gave tours of the monuments and Arlington National Cemetery for the National Park Service. I sat backwards on a bus and told stories and facts as we drove tourists to the sites. As a young professional, I spend my weekends exploring museums, going to free concerts downtown, walking around the mall, and hiking at area parks.
Rachel: What’s your favorite Smithsonian museum?
Kevin: My favorite museum is the National Portrait Gallery. It’s like an American Hall of Fame, and the focus is on the people featured in the portraits rather than the artists themselves. I like how the museum highlights the contributions of different individuals who shaped their fields, whether it was aviation, dance, or politics. The Smithsonian American Art Museum, which shares the building, has a converted cigarette machine on the third floor that sells original pieces of art for five bucks. Every so often I will get something and keep it on my desk at work.
Rachel: What’s your favorite way to spend Shabbat?
Kevin: I spend my Shabbats at Sixth and I, the Montgomery County Moishe House, and having people over for Shabbat dinner. A few weeks ago, I had friends over for Shabbat and I made my kindergarden teacher’s challah recipe. It brought back memories.
Rachel: Who is the coolest Jew?
Kevin: My sister got me listening to country music three years ago, and I still listen to WMZQ as I drive between my apartment and work. They frequently play songs by the country singer Jake Owen, except for the longest time, I thought the DJs on the station were introducing him as “Jay Cohen.” I guess they said his name really fast and slurred the two words together. With a last name of Cohen, I figured he had to be Jewish. I would have told you that I thought he was the coolest Jew. I don’t think that is still valid.
Rachel: Thanksgivikkah ideas?
Kevin: The tur-latke. It’s a spinoff on the classic Thanksgiving turducken, except the idea is that you deep fry your latkes inside the turkey… that you’re already deep frying. Just make sure the chanukah candles don’t get too close to the fryer’s oil.