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 Robyn Frank. This week meet Ariel Biel! Know someone we should feature? Nominate them by sending an email to [email protected].
TC Jewfolk: Are you from the Twin Cities?
Ariel: Yes, I grew up in Plymouth and St. Louis Park.
TCJ: You’re an Israel Programs Specialist at the Minneapolis Federation. What appeals to you about that job?
Ariel: On a Birthright Israel trip during winter break of my sophomore year, I found a piece of myself that I never knew existed. I could not wait to get back to Israel, so when I graduated I decided to do a Masa Israel Journey volunteer program. Spending ten months there, I realized that Israel is not just a piece of who I am, but rather the core of who I am, intertwined with my Judaism. Being the Israel Programs Specialist in the Israel Center at the Minneapolis Jewish Federation allows me to help other young Jewish adults form, and deepen, their connection with Israel through programs in Israel, both short-term or long-term programs.
TCJ: Are you involved in any other TC organizations?
Ariel: I enjoy attending different synagogues’ 20s/30s events, JFCS NextGen events, and I work with the Twin Cities Masa Israel Alumni group to create a welcoming community for TC young adults who have returned from Israel, would like to go to Israel, and would like to learn about Israel. Among other things, the TC Masa Israel Alumni group hosts a monthly Cafe Ivrit–a great place to learn and practice Hebrew.
TCJ: We’re taking an informal survey. Which of the many Jewish summer camps gets you most ferklempt?
Ariel: I attended Herzl Camp in Webster, WI, for 5 years and loved it! Ultimate, swimming, shaving cream fights… such a blast!
TCJ: What’s your favorite Jewish food?
Ariel: There are so many, but to name a few, I love my mom’s brisket, chicken soup and matza balls, and my dad’s raisin roast, because they are comfort foods and are delicious!
TCJ: What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?
Ariel: Pesach is my favorite holiday because going through the Haggadah I feel most connected with my ancestors. My mom’s food is delicious year-round, and on Passover she makes an abundance, which keeps me going through all 8 days.
TCJ: Who’s the coolest Jew?
Ariel: Former Israeli president Shimon Peres, or Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel.
TCJ: Have you been to Israel? What’s your favorite memory?
Ariel: I have been to Israel three times, totaling almost a full year, and have so many favorite memories. I loved getting to know my family in Israel. They are wonderful people and it was wonderful spending time with them. While on my Masa Israel program, I also attended many seminars and shabbatonim, where young Jews from all over the world were brought together to discuss Jewish Identity and Peoplehood. It was very special meeting young Jews from so many different backgrounds and discussing challenges and triumphs in the Jewish world.
TCJ: What’s your top strategy for surviving winter?
Ariel: Layers. Lots and lots of layers.
TCJ: What’s your favorite thing to do in the Cities?
Ariel: I love being outside–hiking, swimming, biking,…anything active.
TCJ: Give us one more reason why you’re folking awesome!
Ariel: I began to play the flute in middle school, and had the honor of being first flute, first chair senior year in high school.Click here to nominate your favorite TC Jew to be featured on our weekly Who the Folk?! series!