NJP (Nice Jewish Person) Jacob Smith

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Each month, The Well highlights an amazing (and eligible!) individual.
This month, we have a conversation with NJP Jacob Smith!

TW: What's it like living in downtown Detroit?

JS: Living downtown is incredible. There's a sense of camaraderie and community that I've never felt anywhere else in the world, except for in Israel. Seemingly everyone you meet is equally as excited about all of the current development and future potential of the city, and the energy is palpable. The result is a vibrant, supportive community that's hungry for collaboration and entrepreneurship. I often say "small town, big city," joking about how frequently I cross paths with friendly faces. Also, few cities can rival the arts and culture of The D, from art shows to live music to food pop-ups, etc. -- the scene is funky, fresh, and beautifully unique. It's just... Detroit. 

TW: Rumor has it you had a killer Movember mustache! What motivated you to participate and to align your facial hair with your heart? 

I rocked my first Movember 'stache back in 2008 as an undergrad at UofM. I must have seen other students doing it, and I quickly fell in love with the genius idea of growing silly facial hair to raise funds and awareness for men's health issues. After participating, I was blown away by how much attention I was able to draw simply by growing some lip fuzz, and I was hooked. My whisker designs have gotten crazier and crazier over the years because... well, why not! Shout out to my father who's had a mustache since his late teens, and my cousin Corey who used to come to every family gathering with a new facial hair arrangement. 

TW: You have a reputation as a bit of a rhyme-master. What's the rap lyric you've composed that you're the most proud of?

JS: Here are a few bars that I'm particularly proud of:

Where I lack in empathy, I sympathize,
Play my heart strings like a symphony,
Can't synthesize compassion.

Nobody's choosing to be loosing,
With excuses doom is looming,
If the fires in your iris, all you need is the matchstick.

TW: What is the Jewish community missing?

JS: The Jewish community is missing an honest, open dialogue about materialism and how it affects both our happiness and perceptions of our community from the outside. Hold up, too real for a dating profile?

TW: You're on the board of NEXTGen - what do they do?

JS: NEXTGen is the hub for all things related to being a young Jewish adult in Detroit. That includes community service, advocacy, networking, social events, job placement, and so much more. Check out the upcoming events list at http://jewishdetroit.org/programs/nextgen and come check out an event that speaks to you!

TW: If you could add an 11th commandment what would it be?

JS: Thou shalt acknowledge that religion is intended to be peaceful, and if you're using it to justify violence then you're doing it wrong.

TW: Who is the coolest Jew?

JS: My first thought was Albert Einstein-- I mean, the guy was hilarious and single-handedly invented modern physics-- but I'm going to have to give the nod to Bernie Sanders. He's tearing up the campaign trail right now, forcing real, crucially important issues to the forefront of the national conversation. Feel the Bern!

TW: How about a fun fact?

JS: I'm really good at juggling!

TW: Finish the sentence: When I go to The Well...

JS: ... I reflect on what Judaism means to me as a proud secular Jew in Detroit.

Daniel Horwitz2015Comment