Q: Welcome to Detroit, Matt! What brought you here?
MW: Thank you! I’m excited to be here! The Well brought me here. Rabbi Dan has been subtly (at first) and not-so-subtly been trying to get me to move to Detroit for the last three years or so. When this opportunity came up, it just seemed like the right time to jump in with both feet!
Q: Have you always been involved in Jewish life and work?
MW: For the most part, yes. I kind of fell into it after college. I was living in L.A. trying to make it in the comedy scene and was given the opportunity to staff a Birthright trip. Afterwards, a full-time position became available and the lure of consistent travel to Israel (and health insurance) was something I just couldn’t turn down! The rest is history!
Q: What are you excited to bring to The Well?
MW: Wow, what a great question. I love what The Well is doing and building in Metro Detroit, and I really see it as being on the cutting edge of Jewish communal life. I hope that I can come in and help build it up even more. I love community building, connecting with people and helping folks along their own Jewish journeys. I hope to bring even more of a sense of community to an already thriving one and especially focus my efforts on the city of Detroit, where I will be living.
Q: On your first day of living in Detroit, what did you explore?
MW: There is a Shake Shack here, so that? Honestly, my first day here was unpacking my apartment and painting and such, but my first exploring day I want to find my go-to coffee shop (I’m a closet hipster, so the funkier/more local/organic it is, the better!). I will be spending a lot of time in coffee shops this year, so it’s important that I get a good vibe from it.
Q: What’s your favorite book and what about it moves you?
MW: My favorite book is The Alchemist. It was one of those situations where the first time I read it was exactly at the right time and in the right place. I was living on a kibbutz in Israel and had just kind of a mind-expanding experience reading it. It really made me think about where I am going in life and what is important to me. I get something different from it every time I read it — and I’ve read it many times. I buy a copy every time I go on a big trip, then I write something inside the cover about what the book impressed on me this time around. Then, I leave it for someone else to find, hoping it inspires something within them as well. I am all about the pay it forward mentality.
Q: How do you relax and treat yourself?
MW: I am a sucker for a good record. For me, relaxing is sitting on the couch with a good friend listening to a great record and sharing a good meal. Or anything that allows me to exercise my creative outlets: writing, painting, playing music, cooking. It’s all great!
Q: Where would you most like to travel to that you haven’t visited?
MW: I have been dreaming of Thailand for what seems like forever. I have many friends who have been, and I am tired of looking at all these amazing pictures and not having the experiences for myself. Hopefully, soon, I’ll get there.
Q: What’s your favorite Jewish holiday and why?
MW: Passover (minus the matzah). When I was living with my best friend in L.A., we threw a seder at our apartment for 30 people. It was supposed to only be eight of us, but we had so many people without a place to go that we just kept adding more. In the end, we had people sitting on the floor eating together. It was the first time I really felt like I was taking control of my own Jewish identity in a proactive “adult” way. It was a really powerful experience. That and I found out that I make a mean brisket ;).
Q: Fav Jewish food?
MW: Oy, that’s such a difficult choice! I guess I would have to say latkes, since you can’t go wrong when you fry a potato!
Q: Who is the coolest Jew?
MW: Mel Brooks. That’s a tough question — there are a lot of cool Jews!
Q: Best movie ever made, hands down?
MW: Oh, jeez, you can’t ask me that. I don’t even know where to start. My favorite movie (which is by far NOT the best movie ever made) is Bio-Dome. I know it’s horrible, but I love it so much!
Q: Finish the sentence: When I go to The Well …
MW: I get a drink of water? You know what? I don’t think I have ever actually seen a functioning well before! That’s weird. Excited to see how this Well has so impressively built awesome Jewish community in Metro Detroit and to drink deeply from it!
Avery Drongowski Special to the Jewish News
NJP (Nice Jewish Person) Matt Weiner
Each month, The Well highlights an amazing (and eligible!) individual. The Well has agreed to share its Q & As with these amazing singles with the JN. This month, the conversation is with its newest team member, Matt Weiner, who began as the assistant director on Aug. 1.
Read more at meetyouatthewell.org. Want to meet Matt? Email Rabbi Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org for an introduction.