When Jason Langsner, 33, isn’t showing off his aptly named dog, Shekels, around his Washington neighborhood of Eastern Market, the New Jersey native is busy engaging young Jewish professionals to invest in the Israeli economy as the area’s volunteer chairman of Israel Bonds New Leadership Division.
Langsner’s journey to Israel Bonds began with a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip in 2006 that, he said, strengthened his Jewish identity. He got involved with the Jewish community upon his return from Israel, sitting on the Young Leadership Board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, serving as vice chair for communication for the Federation’s The Network program, heading digital strategy for B’nai B’rith International, staffing Taglit-Birthright Israel trips and blogging for the Times of Israel.
Langsner holds a B.A. in digital arts and multimedia design from La Salle University and an M.A. in communication, culture and technology from Georgetown University. He is vice president of the Business-Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC), where he oversees the organization’s communications and innovation strategy.
In the midst of planning the fifth annual Israel Bonds Young Investors Society Day at the Ballpark, at Nationals Park, Langsner caught up with us to discuss why he believes in Israel Bonds, the allure of blogging and what life is like in Eastern Market.
What is one thing people should know about Israel Bonds?
I think the most important thing is that it’s not a donation. You’re actually making an investment in Israel that is an investment both into Israel as well as into your own personal portfolio. You get the money back with interest and it’s what we call a double mitzvah — you’re helping Israel while either building your own personal portfolio or donating the bonds to a charity or nonprofit of interest. Last year, I started all of my Jewish giving, my tzedekah, [by] giving Israel bonds, and I’m happy to support many Jewish organizations and support them through donating Israel bonds.
What do you blog about at Times of Israel?
When I think of Israel, I think of more than just what some people think of Israel. I first think of innovation, of the strong democracy, of the rights that every Israeli citizen has no matter their religion. I don’t just think of Israel through the lens of the conflict, and I wanted to share that message with anybody that was willing to listen. And I’ve gotten a great response. Sometimes I get people throwing word grenades at me but you know what, it’s part of a conversation and I’m not opposed to sharing my views.
What is your favorite thing about living in Eastern Market?
I just love living up on the Hill. It is incredible being in a city like Washington, D.C., being in a community and having rowhouses as the tallest buildings in the area and not having skyscrapers like New York where my family is from. [Eastern Market has] a great community feel. I can walk the dog and see 15, 20 different people walking their dogs any part of the day, but I’m still close enough into the city to get all the benefits of being close to downtown.
Tell us more about your beloved pooch?
Shekels is the unofficial mascot of Israel Bonds. Every staff member loves my dog and my dog’s name. I adopted him about four years ago from Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. He’s a great little man, and he’s been a wonderful addition to my family. He’s a Jack Russell and beagle mix, and as I like to say, he’s a handsome Jewish dog.