Who the Folk?! Justin Held

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 Ariel Biel. This week meet Justin Held! Know someone we should feature? Nominate them by sending an email to [email protected]

TC Jewfolk: Are you from the Twin Cities?

Justin: Yes I am from the Twin Cities, I graduated from Armstrong High School and went to the University of Kansas where I majored in Religious Studies.

TCJ: You work at Hillel at the U. What all do you do there?

Justin: My official title at Minnesota Hillel is “engagement associate” though that only describes half of my job. I oversee our Engagement Interns, as well as do one-on-one engagement with students. The other part of my job is overseeing our student activities and programing. I work with our executive board and leadership team to offer a myriad of opportunities for students to engage with Judaism. Wether it be Shabbat and religious observances, to fun cultural programs, to working with Eliav Perez our Israel Fellow to offer Israel programming.

TCJ: Do you enjoy working with college students?

Justin: What I enjoy most in working with college students is their willingness to try new things. During my year and a half at Minnesota Hillel we have been in a large transition period. The students have been so open to the transition and willing to partake. They are incredibly passionate about the Jewish community on campus and are very committed to help us grow our organizations.

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

Justin: Herzl Camp holds an incredibly large place in my heart. I have spent the past 14 summers there, and this will be the first summer since I began going that I will not be there.

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

Justin: While I love spending Shabbat at Minnesota Hillel, my true favorite is attending a Carlbach style Kabbalat Shabbat service and then eating with my immediate family and grandparents over my Mother’s brisket.

TCJ: What’s your favorite Jewish food?

Justin: I am embarrassed to admit I am not crazy about Jewish foods, so in the spirit of the recent holiday I’ll say Chinese food.

justin-held-2TCJ: Have you been to Israel? What’s your favorite memory?

Justin: I have been to Israel seven times. My favorite memory is when I was studying abroad at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and two of my college roommates came to visit. Not only did we have a great time touring around, but they came for Purim which if you have experienced in Israel you know is quite a great time.

TCJ: What’s your top strategy for surviving winter?

Justin: Visit your grandfather in Florida.

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

Justin: If you follow me on Facebook you will know Monday nights at Sushi X is by far my favorite activity.

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

Justin: I would say I’m folking awesome because I truly do care about the Twin Cities Jewish community. Growing up in the community I realize how fortunate I was, and am so glad I have been able to give back and help build and grow such an important institution in Minnesota Hillel.

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