Who the Folk?! Robyn & Josh Awend

Welcome to “Who the Folk?!” Every week on Monday we feature a new member of the community as our “Person of the Week.” Last week we got to know Ilan Sinelnikov. This week This week we have another “Couples Edition” with Robyn & Josh Awend! Know someone we should feature? Nominate them by sending an email to [email protected].

TC Jewfolk: Are you both from the Twin Cities? 

Robyn: I was born and raised in the Mpls burbs. I moved to Arizona and Texas for art school, and studied abroad in Australia.

Josh: Moved around the Minneapolis suburbs a lot as a young kid but eventually graduated from Hopkins and the University of Minnesota. Did a study abroad trip called Semester at Sea and saw the world.

TCJ: How did you two meet? What was your first date like?

Josh: We met at a mutual friends house party. Robyn showed up and I had never met her before. Turns out we have the same friends growing up but never crossed paths. Our first date, I convinced Robyn to grab a slice at Pizza Luce… during Passover. We have been together ever since!

TCJ: Robyn, you’re the Visual Arts director for the Sabes JCC. Have you always been interested in art?

Robyn: I have always been interested in the arts since I was little. Being involved in the heart of the Jewish arts community at the Sabes JCC for the past 8 years has been such a meaningful experience, both personally and professionally. As an artist and an arts appreciator, I am passionate about exploring ways that art and Judaism intersect and impact community. 

TCJ: Josh, you run American Drapery Systems. Have you always been interested in draperies?

Josh: American Drapery Systems, Inc. is my family business. Some kids grew up going on spring break to Mexico, my brother and I got to hang draperies at hospitals. It is a great business, one that can take you from a CEO’s office to a homeless shelter to an Emergency Room all in one day. We have also been very lucky to work with a lot of our friends in the Jewish community and value them as customers. We are also having a sale!

TCJ: Are you involved in any other TC organizations?

Josh: I helped start GESHER: Metro Jewish Business Connection. It is a group for young Jewish professionals to meet and network.

Robyn: I coordinate the Jewish Artists’ Laboratory, a regional initiative, and I sit on the board of the amazing organization, Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council.

TCJ: We’re taking an informal survey. Which of the many Jewish summer camps gets you all ferklempt?

Josh: Olami, Chi in the Wisconsin Dells and Ramah Wisconsin

Robyn: Herzl, I can still remember the feeling of Shabbat at camp

awend familyTCJ: What’s your favorite way to celebrate Shabbat?

Robyn & Josh: With friends and family at our table.

TCJ: What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?

Josh: Shabbat. I like the idea that no matter what is going on you stop and take time to relax and refocus.

Robyn: I agree, Shabbat is my favorite Jewish holiday. It’s something (spiritual) to look forward to each week with a conscious beginning and end.

TCJ: What’s your favorite Jewish food?

Josh: HAMENTASHEN FROM CECILS. No joke….Robyn forces me to get one of each whenever we eat there.

Robyn: Too difficult to choose just one favorite. Some of the top pics include, homemade matzo balls soup, sweet kugel, charoset and hamentashen (from Cecils).

TCJ: Who is the coolest Jew?

Josh: Mel Brooks.

Robyn: Elijah.

TCJ: Have you been to Israel? What is your favorite memory?

Josh: Yes. For my Bar Mitzvah and again with Ramah. I enjoyed working on an archeology site, randomly being at the Dead Sea with the Georgetown Hoyas basketball team and eating my weight in Shawarma.

Robyn: I was in Israel for the USY Israel/Italy Pilgrimage and again with Volunteers for Israel. I will never forget working along side the soldiers, having coffee together at breakfast and then spending the day building barracks for the Lebanese boarder. That was 17 years ago…

TCJ: What’s your favorite thing to do in the Cities?

Josh: Eat.

Robyn: To soak up the layers of culture.

TCJ: What else do you do for fun?

Josh: I perform Improv around town at various venues. 

Robyn: Creating art and exhibiting, when time permits. I am also runner and a yogi for personal sanity.

TCJ: Give us one more reason you’re folking awesome!

Josh: I have size 14 shoes…

Robyn: I love what I do.

Click here to nominate your favorite TC Jew to be featured on our weekly Who the Folk?! series!