NJP (Nice Jewish Person) Matt Weiner
Each month, The Well highlights an amazing (and eligible!) individual.
This month, we have a conversation with a Nice Jewish Person and our newest team member, Matt Weiner! We're so excited to have Matt begin as our Assistant Director on August 1!
TW: Welcome to Detroit, Matt! What brought you here?
MW: Thank you! I'm excited to be here! The Well brought me here. Rabbi Dan has been subtly (at first) and not-so-subtly been trying to get me to move to Detroit for the last 3 years or so. When this opportunity came up, it just seemed like the right time to jump in with both feet!
TW: Have you always been involved in Jewish life and work?
MW: For the most part, yes. I kind of fell into it after college. I was living in LA trying to make it in the comedy scene, and was given the opportunity to staff a Birthright trip. Afterwards a full-time position became available and the lure of consistent travel to Israel (and health insurance) was something I just couldn't turn down! The rest is history!
TW: What are you excited to bring to The Well?
MW: Wow what a great question. I love what The Well is doing and building in Metro Detroit and I really see it as being on the cutting edge of Jewish communal life. I hope that I can come in and help build it up even more. I love community building, connecting with people and helping folks along their own Jewish journeys. I hope to bring even more of a sense of community to an already thriving one, and especially focus my efforts on the city of Detroit, where I will be living!
TW: On your first day of living in Detroit, what are you going to explore??
MW: There is a Shake Shack here, so that??? Honestly I think my first day here will consist of unpacking my apartment and painting and such, but my first exploring day I want to find my go-to coffee shop (I'm a closet hipster, so the funkier/more local/organic it is, the better!). I will be spending a lot of time in coffee shops this year, so it's important that I get a good vibe from it.
TW: What's your favorite book and what about it moves you?
MW: My favorite book is The Alchemist. It was one of those situations where the first time I read it was exactly at the right time and in the right place. I was living on a kibbutz in Israel and had just kind of a mind expanding experience reading it. It really made me think about where I am going in life and what is important to me. I get something different from it every time I read it -- and I've read it many times. I buy a copy every time I go on a big trip, then I write something inside the cover about what the book impressed on me this time around. Then, I leave it for someone else to find, hoping it inspires something within them as well. I am all about the pay it forward mentality.
TW: How do you relax and treat yo self?
MW: I am a sucker for a good record. For me, relaxing is sitting on the couch with a good friend listening to a great record and sharing a good meal. Or anything that allows me to exercise my creative outlets: writing, painting, playing music, cooking. It's all great!
TW: Where would you most like to travel to that you haven't visited?
MW: I have been dreaming of Thailand for what seems like forever. I have many friends who have been and I am tired of looking at all of these amazing pictures and not having the experiences for myself! Hopefully soon I'll get there!
TW: What's your favorite Jewish holiday and why?
MW: Passover (minus the matzah). When I was living with my best friend in LA we threw a seder at our apartment for 30 people. It was supposed to only be 8 of us, but we had so many people without a place to go that we just kept adding more. In the end we had people sitting on the floor eating together. It was the first time I really felt like I was taking control of my own Jewish identity in a proactive "adult" way. It was a really powerful experience. That and I found out that I make a mean brisket ;)
TW: Fav Jewish food?
MW: Oy, that's such a difficult choice! I guess I would have to say latkes, since you can't go wrong when you fry a potato!
TW: Who is the coolest Jew?
MW: Mel Brooks. That's a tough question -- there are a lot of cool Jews!
TW: Best movie ever made, hands down?
MW: Oh jeez, you can't ask me that. I don't even know where to start. MY favorite movie (which is by far NOT the best movie ever made) is Bio-Dome. I know it's horrible, but I love it so much!!
TW: Finish the sentence: When I go to The Well...
MW: I get a drink of water? You know what? I don't think I have ever actually seen a functioning well before! That's weird. Excited to see how this Well has so impressively built awesome Jewish community in Metro Detroit and to drink deeply from it!