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Rachel: What brought you to DC?
Sayyad: I’m getting my Master’s in Biomedical Science in a program between Georgetown and George Mason while applying to medical school — I hope to end up here afterwards!
Rachel: How did you end up with the name ‘Sayyad’?
Sayyad: My mom thought it was prudent to make sure that I blended in when I was born in Azerbaijan. It worked for three years. Then we ended up in the US and now I stick out in a shul like the sign language translator at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.
Rachel: What’s your favorite thing about DC?
Sayyad: The monuments at night. Hands down. Also, I still think it’s so awesome that we live in the nation’s capital. Other than that, the fact that it’s a big city in a small geographic area! There’s so much to do, so many awesome food choices, and a plethora of fantastic bars (not to mention the happy hours), and yet the city is small and completely devoid of skyscrapers! Oh and the Bikeshare and the parks are pretty cool too.
Did you know that, allegedly (I only heard this via word of mouth, so it may be entirely false), the color of liquor dominantly consumed in DC varies based on who’s in office? (Dark liquors — whiskey, spiced rum, etc. — with republicans and clear liquors — vodka, gin, etc. — with democrats)
Rachel: Have you been to Israel? What’s a favorite memory?
Sayyad: Yes. Favorite memory? Hmm…I’m torn between spending my first Shabbat in Israel in the old city of Jerusalem (that was unforgettable, truly) and stargazing with friends when I hiked from the Kineret to the Mediterranean on Yam le Yam. Though schwarmma and falafel make me happier than a camel on hump day, and the enormous bungee-cable ball that launches you way higher than anything in Eilat was pretty fun too.
Rachel: What is your favorite Jewish food?
Sayyad: My mom makes better brisket than your mom (an intrinsic debate between all Jewish guys), my grandma’s matzah ball soup cures at least three different ailments, and cholent is pretty remarkable. In short, those three.
Rachel: Who is the coolest Jew?
Sayyad: Mordechai Anielewicz. All day, every day. And if you don’t know, now you know…
Rachel: Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather…
Sayyad: …you only get one guy in the room named Sayyad!