Welcome to a BONUS “Who the Folk?!” Every week on Monday we feature a new member of the community as our “Person of the Week.” This Monday it was Yitzy Kasowitz. Today it’s Libby Parker! Why is there a bonus this week? Read on to find out. (Know someone we should feature? Nominate them by sending an email to [email protected].)
TC Jewfolk: Are you from the Twin Cities?
Libby: No. I’m a proud transplant who obviously had never experienced winter in my lifetime! I was born in Israel, raised in southern California and Las Vegas, educated at UC Berkeley (Go Bears?!), and spent another 6ish years in Vegas before making the Twin Cities my family’s adopted home in 2007.
TCJ: Oh yeah, YOU’RE THE NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF TC JEWFOLK!!!!! Are you excited?
Libby: Ummmm…YES! I am beyond excited to embark on this fantastic voyage with you all – I can’t wait to see what we can do together.
TCJ: What are you most looking forward to?
Libby: Since I have been working in the Twin Cities’ Jewish community, I have had the pleasure of working with countless volunteers and donors and community leaders. I am looking forward to continuing my relationships with all of those individuals, and I’m most looking forward to getting to meet those I have not yet met! I think together we can do some pretty powerful stuff in this community and I am excited about the possibilities. Oh – and I can’t wait to work with the very talented staff and board of TCJ!
TCJ: Now that you’re (almost) in charge, what can we expect to see from TC Jewfolk that we haven’t seen before?
Libby: I think I share the same vision with the Jewfolk Media, Inc. Board of Directors in that we really want to “dig in” in the Twin Cities and show how an independent, online-based hub for young Jews can really bring all the various groups and programs together and serve as a resource and hopefully, an entry-point for non-affiliated Jews. Then, we’ll look at taking the show on the road! That’s not really different from the path TC Jewfolk has been on thus far but I think what’s different is that the Board’s wisdom in hiring an Executive Director now gives TCJ someone (that’s me!) to focus on the organization, its development, funding, and planning, in a full time capacity.
TCJ: We’re taking an informal survey. Which of the many Jewish summer camps gets you most ferklempt?
Libby: While I’m so glad that my children have the opportunity to attend Camp TEKO and Herzl Camp (and as a family we also made the schlep up to Camp Ramah Wisconsin for a lovely Family Camp weekend), my heart will always belong to Camp Alonim in beautiful Brandeis, CA.
TCJ: What’s your favorite way to celebrate Shabbat?
Libby: I really love our Shabbat group (some might call it a chavurah) that we are lucky to have, so that is definitely up there in Shabbat celebrations each month. However, I don’t think ANYTHING can beat Shabbat dinner at home, listening to my three children sing the melodies at our dining room table and giggle when we bless them.
TCJ: What’s your favorite Jewish food?
Libby: Two words for you: Israeli pickles. If you don’t know, find out.
TCJ: What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?
Libby: I mean, who doesn’t LOVE Sukkot?! I love the yearly reminder to connect more with the land and ponder the impermanence and fragility of life. I also like using paper plates for the week! Seriously, we built our first “real” sukkah this year (past versions made of PVC piping did not hold up to Minnesota’s unpredictable fall weather), and I loved everything about it. It was a family affair getting it built and “decorated” and a good lesson for the kids when we had to take it all down after such a short time. I will say that I remember Sukkot as a child being WARMER.
TCJ: Have you been to Israel? What’s your favorite memory?
Libby: I was born there, I visited a few times as a child, I studied in Jerusalem at Hebrew University for a semester, and I was just there in September 2013 for a family wedding. I am not sure I can pick a FAVORITE memory because every memory I have from each one of those times is special in its own right…but if I have to pick just one, I would say that it was on this last trip, seeing Israel through my kids’ eyes and watching their relationships grow so strongly with my family in a few short weeks. We cannot wait to go back!
TCJ: What’s your top strategy for surviving winter?
Libby: Send the kids outside to play in the snow!
TCJ: What else do you do for fun?
Libby: I’ve started to get into barre lately…kind of loving that. On the rare occasion that we do get out, we like to try new restaurants. Or just eat sushi…either or both. Now that the kids are getting old enough to not have to be carried, I’m hoping the spring/summer brings some more opportunities for hiking and other outdoor adventures!
TCJ: Give us one more reason why you’re folking awesome!
Libby: I started an Israeli folk-dancing class at Berkeley (yes, for actual credit!).Click here to nominate your favorite TC Jew to be featured on our weekly Who the Folk?! series!