Andrew Becker, Chair of the Executive Committee on Young Adult Grants & Organization Support Working Group, spills about traveling menorahs, a near-miss with Natalie Portman, and one very eventful CJP hike.
How long have you been involved with CJP – and how did you first get involved?
In the late 1990s, I got involved in the leadership of a CJP-supported young adult group called Jewish Interaction, where I met many of the people that are my closest friends today. But my most memorable moment may have been the time I ended up in the ER getting stitches after a hike, where I failed to cleanly hurdle a rock while trying (very badly) to look cool to impress a girl.
What was your first CJP event? And your favorite CJP event/program/moment?
The moments that I’ve most enjoyed, and found to be the most impactful for me, are the times I can see the difference that we’re helping make in people’s lives. These range from Yom Sport competitions for adult with disabilities, to providing small grants to help launch new organizations in the community.
What’s your favorite Jewish childhood memory?
Passover seders have always the one time in the year that my extended family gather at my parents’ house for evenings of stories, singing, good food, spilled wine, repeated jokes and barely-controlled chaos. Over the years, grandparents have passed on and children have been born and even though I’ve moved thousands of miles away, I still return every year with my family to maintain the tradition and repeat the same jokes
Tell us three fun Jewish facts about yourself.
1. I circumcised my son myself
2. I have a nephew called Menachem-Nochem
3. I have a travel menorah which has racked up many frequent flyer miles over the years, lighting candles in 4 continents – from Delhi to Quito.
If you could have dinner with one Jewish person (living or dead) who would it be and why?
Natalie Portman. In an event that I still regret, I just failed to make to a Harvard dorm-room toga party with her in 1998… though I’m sure we’d have a better conversation over dinner than we could have at a dorm party.