WELLcome Home, Dana Isenstein!

We're excited to bring you our monthly feature highlighting someone awesome who has recently moved back to Metro Detroit after adventures away!

This month, we'd like to (re)introduce you to Dana Isenstein!

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TW: You recently returned to Metro Detroit after spending some time away. What brought you back?

DI: I always used to say I would never move back, not because Metro Detroit isn’t a great place, but because I just have an extreme dislike toward winter.  As fate would have it though, my boyfriend, who is not from here, matched into a residency program here, so the return felt serendipitous.  As they say, we plan and G-d laughs.

TW: Where did life take you before you returned home?

DI: After college at the University of Michigan, I attended law school at the University of Miami in Florida (I really meant what I said about winter).  After graduating, I practiced in southeast Florida for a year, then moved to Atlanta for four fantastic years.  I still work for a law firm in Atlanta, so it feels like my second home.  But it’s great to be back in my original home.

TW: What fictional place would you most like to travel to (and why?)

DI: The Land of Oz - I loved The Wizard of Oz as a kid and would love to have the chance to follow the yellow brick road.

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TW: What is your ideal Saturday?

DI: That depends on the season!  Winter:  Brunch and a movie.  Spring:  A hike or a bike ride.  Summer:  Up north on the lake.  Fall:  A Michigan football game.  All with family or friends!

TW: What's your favorite game? 

DI: I’m not much of a game player, but I do love Heads Up…partially because it’s Ellen DeGeneres’ game.

TW: As a kid, what did you want to be when you "grew up?”

DI: I've wanted to be a lawyer since middle school when I started watching The Practice on ABC. My particular legal interests and beliefs have certainly changed, but the career path stuck.

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TW: What is your most frequently used emoji?

DI: That’s a toss up - either the laughing/crying face, which to me says LOL…but really...I’m laughing out loud, or the face with all the teeth for any awkward moment.

TW: What do you look for in your Jewish community?

DI: A sense of welcoming and togetherness.  I’ve had different experiences in each of the many different Jewish communities in which I’ve lived, but no matter where I was, it felt comforting to have a sense of belonging to use as a foundation to meet new people and find new opportunities.

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

DI: I feel proud to be from Jewish Detroit.  It makes me happy to see and be a part of The Well bringing people together and doing great things for our Jewish community and Metro Detroit.  Keep up the good work!

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WELLcome Home, Danny Rosenberg!

We're excited to continue our monthly feature highlighting someone awesome who has recently moved back to Metro Detroit after adventures away!

This month, we'd like to (re)introduce you to Danny Rosenberg!

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TW: You recently returned to Metro Detroit after spending some time away. What brought you back?

DR: I had lived nearly 10 years outside of the Metro Detroit area. My wife, kids and even my dog never lived in the Metro Detroit area, but have always loved visiting my family and friends here. Once the company I work for, LinkedIn, opened an office in Detroit, we made it a priority to focus on family and be part of the emerging tech scene in Detroit.

TW: Where did life take you before you returned home?

DR: After graduating from MSU I moved to Israel for a year and then came close to the Metro Detroit area, living and working in Ann Arbor. I got an amazing opportunity to build out a brand new business development team at LinkedIn in its Silicon Valley HQ. I moved to Palo Alto, California and subsequently to San Francisco. I met my wife in San Francisco where we got our dog and spent about 3 years until deciding to move to Chicago. We were in Chicago for about 4 years and loved every bit of it. After having our second child, we knew that we were ready to live a lot closer to one of our families.

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TW: Tell us about your family!

DR: My lovely wife, Amanda, lived her whole life in California until meeting me. She grew up in Los Angeles and went to undergrad in San Diego and law school in San Francisco. My most effective sales pitch to date is getting her to move to the Midwest from sunny California. Our eldest son, Nathan, is 2 and is super sweet with bundles of energy like his dad. Our younger son, Noah, is 2 months old and already loves being close to family in Michigan. Our dog, Lulav, is a bichon-poodle rescue, 8 years old and absolutely loves that he traded the concrete jungle of city life for green pastures in the suburbs.

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TW: What fictional place would you most like to travel to (and why?)

DR: The places in the stories from “Big Fish.” Seems so fantastical!

TW: What is your ideal Saturday?

DR: Being outside, spending time with my family and exploring new things.

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TW: What's your favorite game? 

DR: Baseball. I have been playing since I was 2.

TW: What's one food you could never bring yourself to eat (and why)?

DR: It may sound weird, but I am actually willing to try any food once as long as it’s edible.

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TW: As a kid, what did you want to be when you "grew up?"

DR: A secret police agent. I always loved secret gadgets and spy things (and I still do). I would always bug my parents to get me “Spy Tech” toys when I was little.

TW: What is your most frequently used emoji?

DR: Smiley with tongue sticking out. I don’t like to take things too seriously =P  

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TW: What do you look for in your Jewish community?

DR: A diverse community that supports the full life cycle of its people and embraces the most important tenants across the history of the Jewish people. That is what creates the continuity of the community.  I have lived and traveled to several Jewish communities and whenever I mention that I am from the Detroit area there is immediately a positive connection that surfaces. It’s a great feeling to come back and be a part of that!

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

DR: I like to meet new people and hear their stories. Everyone has a good story to tell. The Well creates a forum to share those stories with one another and help the community continue to thrive.

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WELLcome Home, Zack Slabotsky!

We're excited to continue our monthly feature highlighting someone awesome who has recently moved back to Metro Detroit after adventures away!

This month, we'd like to (re)introduce you to Zack Slabotsky!

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TW: You recently returned to Metro Detroit after spending some time away. What brought you back?

ZS: First and foremost, I have the chance to do what I love and work with my dad as a financial advisor. It's awesome to have helping friends become my job. Secondly, it's been really exciting watching Detroit's revival from afar, and I wanted to contribute and be closer to the action. Lastly, it's been really nice living closer to my family and the friends I grew up with.

TW: Where did life take you before you returned home?

ZS: I spent seven years in NY, first upstate for undergrad at Cornell, then in Manhattan for three years. After New York, I came most of the way home, spending two years in Ann Arbor for grad school. Most recently, I lived in Austin, Texas for a couple years. Both NYC and Austin were incredibly fun and exciting places to live. Austin in particular felt like a two-year vacation; it's definitely worth a visit for anyone who hasn't been. I'm happy to share restaurant and tourist recommendations with anyone going.

TW: What fictional place would you most like to travel to (and why?)

ZS: I'm a huge Game of Thrones nerd, so I'd have to see Westeros. My sister Annie and I actually visited the location in Seville where they film Dorne (check out the picture). It wasn't the same without the Martells and the Sand Sisters though.

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TW: What is your ideal Saturday?

ZS: A boxing workout at Jab's Gym, a tailgate in Ann Arbor, a Michigan football stomping of some poor Big Ten foe, and a Middle-Eastern dinner back in Birmingham would make for an awesome Saturday. If I had any energy left, I'd end the day at a bar downtown. I want to spend more time in Detroit once the weather warms up.

TW: What's your favorite game? 

ZS: Since I was old enough to walk, basketball has been my answer. I'm a huge fan of the Pistons and Wolverines, and I play in Monday and Wednesday night leagues. Playing twice a week for the first time since college has been a serious treat since moving back.

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TW: As a kid, what did you want to be when you "grew up?"

ZS: I still remember this assignment from kindergarten; we had to draw pictures of who we wanted to be when we were older, and I essentially drew my future self as Michael Jordan wearing a Detroit Pistons jersey. That dream... hasn't quite worked out. At least not yet.

TW: What was your AIM screen name and how did you choose it?

ZS: ILuvLA8. Before I had any sechel, I was a big fan of Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. Ben Wallace and Chauncey Billups came to the rescue and changed that in a big way, but I never updated my screen name. Ironically, I ended up despising Kobe as much as just about any athlete ever.

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TW: What do you look for in your Jewish community?

ZS: The instant connections, support network, and social circle a strong Jewish community can offer are incredible. I literally did not know a soul when I moved to Austin, but the Jewish community there welcomed me and quickly helped me make friends create an awesome life for myself. I'm excited to participate in and contribute to a similar environment at home in Michigan.

TW: When I go to The Well...

I'm excited to meet new people, learn new things, and participate in unique events. It's incredible to see what The Well is building, and I feel fortunate that I've been able to participate. 

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WELLcome Home, Brittany Lutren!

We're excited to continue our monthly feature highlighting someone awesome who has recently moved back to Metro Detroit after adventures away!

This month, we'd like to (re)introduce you to Brittany Lutren!

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TW: You recently returned to Metro Detroit after spending some time away. What brought you back? 

BL: After living in Chicago for 2.5 years, I was ready to come home! I landed an amazing position at DMC Sinai Grace Hospital as a psychiatric social worker. I'm so glad to be home, reunite with old friends and watch Detroit grow.

TW: Where did life take you before you returned home? 

BL: After graduating from Michigan State University, I decided to venture out to Chicago to attend graduate school. I obtained my Masters in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago - it was the perfect opportunity to live in a big city!

TW: Where would you most like to travel to? 

BL: Japan! I used to nanny for a Japanese family in college and I fell in love with the culture, the food and how beautiful it is there. I have always wanted to explore Thailand as well!

TW: What is your ideal Saturday? 

BL: After a long week of work, I always want to start my weekend off by sleeping in. I recently started eating vegan, so I'm always down to discover a new vegan restaurant or cook. In the summer, I enjoy spending the weekends at my lake house!

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TW: What's your favorite game? 

BL: I have always been in a big fan of UNO and Gin Rummy. 

TW: Would you rather be a participant on Ninja Warrior or The Great British Bake Off? 

BL: Definitely the Great British Bake off!

TW: What is your most frequently used emoji?

BL: I love the dog emoji because it looks exactly like my dog, Benji. 

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TW: As a kid, what did you want to be when you "grew up?"

BL: Definitely a dermatologist. I have always been fascinated by medicine and the skin.

TW: What was your AIM screen name and how did you choose it?

BL: Shortayy92. I chose it because I've always been short, born in 1992 and it fit perfectly with who I am!

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

BL: I'm always excited to learn something new, meet new people, and be included in an amazing Jewish community. 

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WELLcome Home, Ariella Yedwab!

We're excited to continue our new monthly feature, highlighting someone awesome who has recently moved back to Metro Detroit after adventures away!

This month, we're excited to (re)introduce you to Ariella Yedwab!

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TW: You recently returned to Metro Detroit after spending some time away. What brought you back?

AY: After living in the East Coast for four years, I got a great opportunity to return to Ann Arbor and work as the Manager of Leadership and Programming at Michigan Hillel. It has been amazing to combine my passion for Jewish experiential learning, social justice and Zingerman's.

TW: Where did life take you before you returned home?

AY: After graduating from UofM, I moved to Brooklyn and worked as the Enrichment Coordinator at a Title I high school where I helped students get scholarships and enrichment opportunities. After spending a fantastic year in New York, I moved to D.C. and started working at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism putting on major social justice conferences and events for teens and adults. I loved living in both Brooklyn and D.C., but I definitely do not miss taking the metro (subway) everyday! 

TW: What's your favorite book and what about it moves you?

AY: The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama. It is an amazing book that explores the power of finding beauty and strength even in tragedy.

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TW: What fictional place would you most like to travel to?

AY: Central Perk

TW: What's your favorite Jewish holiday and why? 

AY: I have always loved Passover. When I was growing up my grandmother would tell the Passover story by having all of her grandchildren dress up and act out a play. As the oldest (and maybe bossiest) granddaughter, I got to be Miriam which was the best! 

TW: What is your ideal Saturday?

AY: On the weekend I want to be outside as much as possible--hiking, exploring a park or being on the lake. I like tryingnew restaurants and I am always down for a good show.

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TW: : What could you give a 40 minute presentation on without any preparation? 

AY: The perks of being under 5 feet tall

TW: Best movie ever made, hands down?

AY: 10 Things I Hate About You

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

AY: I like connecting with new people! 

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WELLcome Home, Lauren Zeid!

We're excited to launch our new monthly feature, highlighting someone awesome who has recently moved back to Metro Detroit after adventures away!

This month, we're excited to (re)introduce you to traveler, outdoorswoman, and veterinarian Lauren Zeid!

TW: WELLcome home! You recently returned to Metro Detroit after spending some years away. What brought you back?

LZ: I have lived away from Detroit for about 14 years now for both school and work. While I have had some awesome adventures and lived many places, there was always a part of me that missed being "home."  After spending the last five (wonderful) years in Colorado, I knew it was that time in my life to move back to Michigan and be closer to my family. It has been incredible to reconnect with old friends, to make new friends, and to see how much metro Detroit has changed over the last 15 years!

TW: Where did life take you before you returned to the area?

LZ: I went to U of M for undergrad, then lived in Chicago for a year as a nanny before going to veterinary school at Michigan State. I matched for my rotating internship in Colorado in 2012, which was the start of my latest adventure. After falling in love with the mountains and the sunshine, I practiced as an associate veterinarian for 4 years in Denver after my year-long internship. I've always had a huge travel bug, so once I decided to move home I took a few months off of work to travel between jobs. I spent some time in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Costa Rica before beginning to build my career here in Michigan.

TW: Where would you most like to travel to that you haven't visited?

LZ: I recently checked Africa off my bucket list, although there is still so much left of that continent I want to explore! I think my next big trip will be to Mediterranean Europe -- Spain, southern France, Greece, and Croatia are very high on my list!

TW: How do you like to give back to the community / others?

LZ: I have always found that giving back to the community is important. I try to volunteer both time and money when possible, such as volunteering at a halfway house for women and children, donating my time to animal shelters, and helping family and friends.

TW: What's your favorite Jewish holiday and why? 

LZ: I love Rosh Hashanah -- a chance for new beginnings and fresh starts, to spend time with family, and a sweet new year! And who can complain about apples and honey?

TW: Fav Jewish food?

LZ: My mom makes a mean brisket!

TW: What is your ideal Saturday?

LZ: I love to stay active whenever possible. I try to start my mornings with a work out, then spend some time outside. My activities have changed since moving back from Colorado from hiking and skiing to being out on the water!

TW: How about a fun fact?

LZ: I have been to 6 out of 7 continents. 

TW: Best movie ever made, hands down?

LZ: RENT is my favorite Broadway play, so naturally the RENT movie is on my most watched list.

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

I love meeting new people and being part of the Jewish community. There is something so special about building up Detroit, and it has been great forming relationships with other young professionals with similar interests and backgrounds in the area.