Dan Rosenfield, 24, recently moved to Washington to take a job as a political risk consultant. He arrived from South Dakota, where he was a member of the Air Force for two years. He was also a board member for the Synagogue of the Hills in the small Rapid City Jewish community. Rosenfield grew up in Dallas, where he said he was engaged in a vibrant Jewish community.
So what brought you to Washington?
I got a job working for a political consulting firm here. It was amazing opportunity to learn new skills and expand on a fields that I had started to build the foundation of it in the Air Force.
Is politics something that really interests you?
I think I’m more fascinated in problem solving. And looking at challenges companies face through a different viewpoint than most would. And ultimately, politics is a huge decider on that, and a huge influencer on how companies operate and interact, engage with each other. But I’ve always been interested in how organizations interact with one another.
And what brought you into the Air Force?
I guess being an ambitious, young Jewish guy I wanted a challenge. And I wanted an opportunity that not many college graduates could have. What’s unique about being an Air Force officer is, you graduate college and are given this a large amount of financial responsibility, resource responsibility and leadership opportunity. And you get put in these situations where you have to really think about things from a different perspective. And work with and lead people from the cross section America. And [are] put it in places that are uncomfortable, like South Dakota.
What was it like living in South Dakota?
It’s one of the most beautiful parts of the country. It has very friendly people. It’s really this hidden gem in the Midwest. It has this small but mighty Jewish community.
Do you think that your time or the skills that you learned in the Air Force, help you in your job now or your other parts of your life now?
You’re always going to be placed in situations where you didn’t know everything, and where you didn’t have the answer right in front of you. And you had to take an educated guess or think about it from this very strategic standpoint. And that’s a lot of what I’m doing for the firm I work at.
Growing up, how involved were you with your Jewish community or with Judaism?
I was very active in BBYO. I went to Hebrew school, was a camp counselor at the JCC. I taught Sunday school.
It was just like the go-to place for my social life and leadership experience. I think that’s what was really cool about being in a big Jewish community is, all of those are within our community. Because you can get, you can go to a Jewish leadership class, or if you want, more like the religious experience, you can do that.
Do you think it is limiting to be known just as a Jewish person in a small community?
I think when you live in a small Jewish community, being Jewish is a greater part of your outside identity. So outside of the Jewish community, I was involved on the Air Force Base, and I did improv comedy. I volunteered for a couple organizations. And just the fact that I was the Jewish guy made me more of a spokesperson for “the People.”
Do you like the city life?
I do. I like the flexibility. There’s a festival and event happening every day, and the diversity of people. But there was also something calming about Rapid City and how, just like in these small bubbles around D.C., you’ll get to know people. But in Rapid City, you knew everyone. You would go to a restaurant, you go to the park, and you knew people, and they were part of this very close community.
I’m passionate about growing communities. It takes more effort [in a big Jewish community] for that personal connection to be built.
And that’s me. That’s Dan Rosenfield, you should know.
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