Meet Lauren: Jewish volunteer of the week Judaism

Lauren Goldstein makes you switch off [insert your favorite streaming platform here] and go out into the world to change something. In her free time, she helps provide COVID-19 tests, supports the Medical Reserve Corps, and volunteers with the Israeli EMS organization.

Meet this swing dance-loving Michigander!

lauren jpotw

Allie: What brought you to the DC area?

Lauren: I’m originally from Michigan and attended college in Michigan State, but I felt like I needed a change. I have a family in the area who moved here last November.

Allie: What did you notice are the biggest differences between Michigan and DC?

Lauren: It was a big cultural shock to live in DC [compared to Michigan], I learn a lot. I moved from a very conservative city with a small Jewish population and now I am in a much larger Jewish community. I noticed a big difference in the settings. DC is more work-oriented and people seem constantly stressed about work. I moved without a job and it was a difficult transition because the first question people ask is “what are you doing?”.

Allie: If you could change this question, what would you change it into?

Lauren: What are you passionate about? or “what do you care?”

Allie: I like it. So what are you interested in?

Lauren: I love to dance! I learned swing dance in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I also love nature – hiking, camping and kayaking.

Allie: What made you swing dance?

Lauren: I had just moved to Grand Rapids and I didn’t know anyone but a friend. He invited me to a swing dance event. I have met many friends through [that swing dancing community]. I only danced once in DC Swing New Columbia Swing. I really liked it, the people were so nice and kind.

Allie: Where in the city do you live?

Lauren:: I live alone in Mount Vernon Triangle. I started living alone in elementary school and once you live alone it is difficult to return to roommates. Although it would be nice to have someone during the corona virus. I visit my brother and sister-in-law in Capitol Hill, which is very nice. Between that and volunteering I get my extrovert solution.

Allie: Where did you volunteer?

Lauren: I sign up voluntarily United Medical Center (UMC) Carry out COVID-19 tests – Test sites for Bertie Backus (UDC), Anacostia and Judiciary Square COVID-19. I am currently working in Judiciary Square Place.


Allie: Is volunteering a passion of yours outside of this pandemic?

Lauren: Yes, I have volunteered since childhood. I’ve always wanted to help and never liked sitting at home and did nothing. I volunteered for first aid in Israel and really enjoyed that. I found it recently Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). If anyone is interested in volunteering at the MRC, you can contact me.

Allie: Tell me more about your time as a volunteer in Israel.

Lauren: It was incredible that I volunteered for it Magen David Adom (Israel’s national EMS organization). I was stationed in Tel Aviv and trained there for my first summer there. The second summer I was in Jerusalem and helped with the intensive care ambulances so that I could help with the CPR. Insert IVs and perform EKGs. It was an incredible experience.

Allie: Did you stay connected to that experience in DC?

Lauren: I tried. MesorahDC was really helpful, it’s a young Jewish professional organization that helps people learn more about Judaism. Jewish is a little more conservative, but people all have different backgrounds. They have classes and services. I also participated in one Stop the bleeding Event as well as a AJC Event.

lauren ems

Allie: I heard that you were regularly at Zoom Shabbat dinner by Alex Fosco (GatherDC Community Coordinator) throughout the pandemic. Tell me about it.

Lauren: As a newcomer to DC, it was a particularly good experience for me. I liked their small, virtual Shabbats more than the big, typical Shabbat dinners for young adults. I think that although you meet so many people at these big personal dinners, it can actually be difficult to meet people. I saw Alex write about this Shabbat in a Facebook group I belong to, and I was familiar with it A table Platform, so I joined. She does it every week and I feel like I’m getting to know people better. It gave me the opportunity to add a Shabbat practice to my life.

Allie: Is there anything else you want to share?

Lauren: Get tested on COVID and stay safe!

Allie: When Jews from DC gather …

Lauren: You have a matzo ball!


* Editor’s Note: Since this interview, Lauren has been promoted to volunteering at the United Medical Center! She is now employed as an incident commander. So keep an eye out for her when you get a COVID-19 test in Judiciary Square!

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