They have sung the national anthem at a Washington Nationals game, written a book, played on a state championship ice hockey team, won the Jeopardy! Teen Tournament, marched in the Rose Bowl parade, played the harp, co-founded an a cappella group and lived all over the country. They are 13 eligible Jewish bachelors and bachelorettes living in our area, and each recently sat down with WJW to discuss their Jewish journeys, their careers and what they hope to find out of life and love.
Evan Hoffman, 26 Senior manager of state government affairs
The New Jersey native double-majored in government and politics and criminal justice at the University of Maryland. Hoffman now works at the Organization for International Investment, a trade association that works to make the United States more competitive in attracting global business investment. He says he has always been active in Jewish organizations, from USY during high school, to AEPi during his time at Maryland. Now he is co-chair of JNFuture DC, an organization for young professionals in support of the Jewish National Fund. Hoffman says he is looking for someone who is “serious in her aspirations and has a cute flare about her. I am a bit corny, so she must be able to laugh at my attempts to be funny!” And a fun fact about Hoffman: He was a part of a national championship-winning debate team for the “We the People” competition during his senior year of high school. “This experience really ignited my interest in politics and policy, leading me to where I am today in Washington, D.C.”
Rachel Feinstein, 25 Manager of government affairs
One summer she volunteered for the Academy of Natural Sciences in the paleo lab where she cleaned and assembled dinosaur fossils. “I used to want to be a paleontologist, but soon realized it wasn’t like Jurassic Park.” A New Jersey native, this University of Pittsburgh grad is now a part-time graduate student at George Mason University, working on a master’s degree in public policy. She is a lobbyist for fireplace manufacturers and does a lot of the grassroots organizing for the hearth, patio and barbecue industry. Growing up, celebrating Shabbat through services and dinner was very important to her, along with going to a Jewish summer camp. For fun, Feinstein cycles, snowboards and recently learned how to wake-surf (surfing the wake formed by a boat) and wakeboard. She has been playing the harp since she was 10 and plays a small folk harp occasionally. “I’m looking for a genuine guy who cares about family, and whose idea of a perfect weekend is doing something active/sporty, trying some new wine, then watching Netflix,” she says. “I’m also looking for someone who is not afraid of their own and others’ flaws, because flaws and hiccups make life more interesting.”
Jon Halperin, 35 Job information security engineer
The McLean native earned his undergraduate degree in management at Syracuse University, and later picked up a master’s in information security closer to home at George Mason University. The information security engineer helped run the precursor of Nova Tribe, a young professional Jewish group. He’s now involved in Team Six, a young professionals group at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, and the Ben-Gurion Society, a YP group that supports the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. He spends weekends playing sports and trying out new restaurants, but also enjoys cooking some of his favorite dishes at home. Halperin says for dating, “a big red flag is people who are always on their phone instead of enjoying wherever they are. I want someone that I enjoy the downtime with as much as the special events. It’s easy to enjoy a fancy dinner out or a concert, but the regular moments are actually how people spend most of their time.” What he looks for is “someone that realizes jobs are not the only important thing in life.”
Pam Kasenetz, 32 Attending physician in internal medicine at Falls Church Medical Center
Growing up in Northern Virginia and now a District resident, she has gotten back into her acting hobby, both in theater and television. Kasenetz studied biology and behavior at University of Pennsylvania before moving on to medical school and residency at George Washington University. She currently practices outpatient internal medicine at a medical center in Northern Virginia and lives in D.C. She recently performed in productions with the Capital Fringe Festival and the Chevy Chase Players. As if those credits weren’t enough, Kasenetz recently appeared on the Discovery ID Channel, and will be starring in an upcoming episode of a new series for the Weather Channel. In her free time, she enjoys watching The Bachelor/Bachelorette and serves as a member on the Next Generation Board of the Holocaust Museum.
Matt Solomon, 34 Senior account executive Legal Intelligence
A Logan Circle denizen, the Rockville native completed his undergraduate work at Towson University in business administration and recently completed a master’s degree in the same field at University of Maryland-University College. He sells competitive intelligence to law firms and, after work, volunteers as the co-president of PULSE, a young professionals group affiliated with the American Heart Association. Solomon said that it was not until he moved back to D.C., after spending six years in Brooklyn, that he wanted to start a new Jewish chapter of his life. With 2239, Washington Hebrew Congregation’s young professionals’ group, he has completed three service trips, including one in Birmingham, Ala. His three favorite travel destinations are Yellowstone National Park, Edinburgh, and Buenos Aires. When the subject of dating comes up, he smiles and says, “I feel like I been through it all in the dating world, you name it, I’ve experienced it.” He adds, “I strongly believe in chivalry and continue to try and make myself a better person.”
Aaron Bregman, 29 History teacher at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
Bregman showed political chops early. He was elected president of his local USY chapter before becoming the president of his college’s Hillel. “I’m a secular Jew but very involved in Jewish life in my community. I have a great affection for Israel and Israeli society – traveling there multiple times in my life as a Birthright staff member and youth group adviser.” He says that, at a certain point in everyone’s life, you know what you’re looking for beyond the general “smart, funny, attractive, honest” person. “To me, it’s all about just having the spark and knowing that you can pretty much say or do anything around them and feel confident doing it.” The Massachusetts native came to American University for a bachelor’s degree in history, staying on for a master’s degree in secondary education. Now living in the Bethesda area, he works at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School as a history teacher, where he is starting his third year in the classroom. Fun fact about Bregman: He played the drums in the high school band and has marched in the Rose Bowl parade.
David Ochs, 30 Founder and president of Ha Lev Israel
Ochs is the founder and president of Ha Lev Israel (“the heart of Israel”), an organization that raises money to send young charismatic leaders to AIPAC’s annual Policy Conference. “This event is pivotal and large in scale, and with that understandably comes an expensive price tag which many young leaders simply cannot afford (tickets alone are $600).” Besides Ha Lev, Ochs has aspirations to have his own start-up company one day but for the time being, he says he is always looking for a new venture to invest in. The Bethesda native studied finance at George Washington University as an undergrad and later completed a J.D. at New York Law School. He specializes in condominium and housing law for more than 20 condominiums and homeowners associations in Maryland. In terms of what he is looking for in a person, Ochs wants someone who is passionate about Israel, has a good head on her shoulders and motivated to pursue her passions. He wants someone who is mature but also has “a kid inside because there’s a part of me that never wants to grow up.” He jokes and says, “I am definitely one of the top 500 Wizards fans on this earth!”
Erika Ettin, 33 Founder and CEO of A Little Nudge, an online dating service
The online dating company she runs is, she says, a labor of love. “I started the business 3 1/2 years ago when I realized that I needed to get out of my former job in finance (aka boring job) and do something else. I had been helping friends with online dating, in addition to doing it myself, so I knew I had something going for me.” Her biggest success story was with a couple in Iowa that she had never met. Not only that, she was planning dates for them in places she had never visited. Now that couple is married with children. The Cherry Hill, N.J., native studied economics at Cornell University and later headed to Georgetown University for an MBA. Now living in Mt. Vernon Square, she is involved in the D.C. young professional Jewish scene. Beyond playing matchmaker, Ettin is also a writer for Gather the Jews and JDate. Fun facts about Ettin: She sang the national anthem solo at a Nationals game in 2008 and has a book coming out in September called Love at First Site: Tips and Tales for Online Dating Success from a Modern-Day Matchmaker. Dating red flags for her include “shirtless selfies, being generic in your profile and not wanting to meet quickly.”
Isaac Snyder, 27 Political/legislative adviser
From Rockville, Snyder went to Hofstra University and majored in political science, with a minor in history and geography. Snyder, who just finished working as a legislative assistant on the Hill for a Michigan congressman, is now looking for a new opportunity. The avid Capitals fan was on the state championship ice hockey team in the 2004-05 season at Walter Johnson High School. He continued his passion of playing hockey through college. He received numerous county and state awards and recognition. On his college campus, he was involved in campus activity regarding Israel both socially and politically. Besides D.C., he has lived and worked in New York, Ohio, Chicago and New Hampshire. Growing up in a strong Jewish household and attending Charles E Smith Jewish Day School for elementary and middle school, he says his Jewish life is more important to him now than ever. “I make sure to include it in my social calendar.” In terms of what he looks for in a person, he says, “someone who is not high strung, intelligent, adaptable and ambitious in her own right. Someone who doesn’t cause unnecessary drama and is not into playing games. In short, someone who is well rounded and can keep me on my toes.”
Daniela Murch, 27 Attorney for the Department of Homeland Security
The University of Maryland, College Park, alumna studied history there, law at George Washington University and now works as an attorney for the Department of Homeland Security. She says she loves hosting Shabbat meals, going to Shabbat services in the area and attending young professional Jewish social events. She grew up in the U.K. and used to sprort a British accent. Murch is looking for someone “for whom Judaism is important, who makes me laugh and who is curious about the world.”
Todd Carney, 24 Director of online advertising
Carney loves Broadway musicals and has seen five in the last year; he is looking for someone else who is passionate about live theater. “I’m looking for someone who appreciates chivalry, such as letting me hold the door for them or taking their coat; someone who is very independent and has their own set of beliefs; someone who is ambitious and is chasing their dreams; and someone who enjoys experiencing different aspects of culture, such as seeing a foreign film or seeing a new art exhibit.” Originally from Illinois, Carney studied communications and political science at American University. In his senior year there, he received a fellowship with Google, which enabled him to become director of online advertising at a digital consulting firm that works with political and corporate clients. This year, he has become more involved with the Jewish community as a result of traveling on Birthright, volunteering with Friendship Circle, attending regular worship services and taking a Talmud class. “My experiences with Judaism have taught me the importance of finding a path that works for you.” Besides work and involvement in the community, Carney likes to travel, having visited 45 states and seven countries.
Shoshana Weissman, 21 Digital associate at America Rising PAC
From Long Island, N.Y., Weissman was just graduated from George Washington, majoring in political science. She now is a digital associate at America Rising PAC, a Republican opposition research firm, and calls herself a “full-time nerd.” In 2012, she made the D.C. GOP’s 35 Under 35 List and, in 2013, she made the Red Alert Politics 30 Under 30 List. She taught herself how to sew at the age of 8 and likes to learn about quantum physics, philosophy and psychology in her free time. She identifies as a Karaite Jew and practices by following Torah strictly. “In my personal life, when I analyze my behavior and that of others, I often look to Torah for insight.” The political activist says she wants to meet someone who is genuine, interesting and who will expand her worldview.