Andrew Friedman, 33, was raised a Miami Heat fan in Boca Raton, Fla. He still follows the team from his home in Cleveland Park with his wife, Allison, communications director of GatherDC, an organization for Jews in their 20s and 30s. The two are expecting to add a baby to the family in August.
“We might have a name picked out, but it’s a surprise for now,” says the excited soon-to-be dad, who is an estate planner by day.
Estate planning sounds interesting. So how, for example, do you help same-sex couples?
A decade ago, only a few states had legalized gay marriage. Even though it’s legal now, some same-sex couples may be unmarried. If a couple — whether same-sex or not — is unmarried, estate planning is extremely important. You need to make sure your trusted loved ones are named as decision-maker in your documents.
Also, estate planning involves discussing sensitive issues, and I pride myself on being approachable and thoughtful about them.
Another example of your duties is drafting wills. What do most people misunderstand about that?
One misunderstanding is that you don’t need to do it until you’re older. The truth is, if you are in a committed relationship, have a child or dependents or have significant assets, there’s no better time to put your estate plan in order than right now. And it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Why do you run a vegan Instagram and blog (avocadbro.com)?
I love animals and I like to eat consciously and ethically without sacrificing delicious food. Essentially I’ve been vegan for over 10 years. I felt like being vegan is a good thing to consider and I wanted to share those reasons. It’s hard to break down the stereotypes that make being vegan something that is against being a man or being masculine. I just don’t want to hurt animals, so why not?
There’s so many good [reasons] I wish to share with people. If I didn’t have a thick skin, I could see getting offended by others’ opinions. I am given a hard time by friends, family and complete strangers. I myself — it extends from who I am as a person, be it in estate planning or a blogging — I am empathetic to where people are coming from. I can see why a lot of people would be offended that I’m implying there’s something they’re doing wrong, even though they’re animal lovers who don’t want to hurt living things. It can be tough to hear.
I’d say the main thing is ultimately, I am happier being able to live consistent to my values and leading by example.
Congrats on the coming baby!
Yes, yes. I am a mixture of excited and feeling like this is all very surreal. Also super nervous. I would be nervous anyways, but now, becoming a father during these times, I have nothing to compare it to.
I feel like, oh my gosh, I’m about to be a father! And also, oh my gosh, can people visit the baby, will [the baby] be safe, what’s the safest way to do this? I am up for the challenge.
What kinds of challenges and happy moments are you imagining?
I can’t say I’ve totally wrapped my head around it. I imagine fatherhood will be a big challenge just in general. But, I help people in my work, I navigate family relationships and important decisions to prepare others. The advice I’ve been giving to couples and families for years, all the things I’ve been telling them, the decisions I help them make, I will be doing.
I’ve been dreaming about it in a subconscious way. Mostly I’m thinking about my priorities: things to do, what is best. I want to do my best and make the best opportunities possible and most support I can give [the baby]. My main priority when it comes to being a father — I do visualize all the fun exciting things in terms of exploring the world and discovering whatever [the child’s] interests may be — but my main priority is to support [the baby].
What does being Jewish mean to you?
Being Jewish means being compassionate and trying to make the world a better place. One of the ways I do that is with my vegan blogging. I’ve written for Jewish Veg and what I discovered while writing for different things is the connection between core values of Judaism like tikkun olam and repairing the world, being kind to your neighbor. It’s something I want to embody.
One silver lining through this pandemic is I can continue to help people in need. We can do almost the entire process of estate planning remotely.
Carolyn Conte is a reporter for the Baltimore Jewish Times, an affiliated publication of Washington Jewish Week.