Who the Folk?! Sam Gordon

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 week we got to know Rabbi Jill Crimmings. This week meet Sam Gordon! Know someone we should feature? Nominate them by sending an email to [email protected]

TC Jewfolk: Are you from the Twin Cities?

Sam: I was born and raised in the Twin Cities. I did a 4 ½ year stint in Madison, WI for college, but I’ve been here the rest of my life.

TCJ: You’re the Associate Director of the Aleph Preschool at Beth El. What do you like best about your job?

Sam: I love having the opportunity to play a special role in the early education and lives of all of the children and families in our Jewish community. I love to see and hear the things the children are learning each day and how proud they are to share their new knowledge. I love encouraging children to TRY anything!

TCJ: Are you involved in any other TC organizations?

Sam: I worked at the Sabes JCC for ten years prior to joining the Beth El community just over a year ago and feel very connected to the J. I am also active with JFCS’s Mental Health Education Project.

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

Sam: What made me ferklempt was my former camper sending me an interview, I’m REALLY old now! Here’s to dear old Herzl, we’re so proud of you!

TCJ: What’s your favorite way to celebrate Shabbat?

Sam: My favorite way to celebrate Shabbat is with family dinner at my mom and dad’s house. The “immediate family” consists of my mom and dad, two older sisters, two brother-in-laws, five nieces and nephews, my sister’s father-in-law, my grandma, and me!

TCJ: What’s your favorite Jewish food?

Sam: I’m torn about whether my favorite is my mom’s matzo balls (firm, not fluffy) and my cousin’s chopped liver. Both of these foods bring back fond memories of family

TCJ: Who is the coolest Jew [I know in our community]?

Sam: Rabbi Olitzky. He makes Judaism cooler and more interesting than any teacher I’ve ever had. (I wouldn’t stroke his ego if I didn’t mean it. 🙂 )

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

Sam: I went to Israel in 1998 on Alexander Muss High School in Israel. My fondest memory of that trip was leading a Kabbalat Shabbat service for all of the girls in my group. Since the program was secular, we chose to pray at that time, and I will never forget the feeling of being compelled to pray, rather than doing it because it was expected.

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

Sam: I love to eat sushi at Wakame any day, any time!

TCJ: What else do you do for fun?

Sam: Well now you’re really going to find out how folking awesome I am…I love doing 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles, live music, being outdoors, swimming and going to Fit Body Boot Camp.

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

Sam: I am a product of our Jewish community who has dedicated my life to creating the next generation of leaders in our community! I am a local celebrity to many children–they know me as “Auntie Sammy” whether we are actually related or because I treat all of the children in this community like my own family. I’ve also had more broken arms than most people you know and can do almost anything one handed…just don’t ask me to use a can opener.

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