Kevin Lieberman and Susan Sloan are the newly-elected Gather the Jews Jewish Guy and Girl of the Year.
When the competition for the year’s winner was announced, the website’s previous Jewish guys and girls of the week were told to state each one’s case.
“We were supposed to make a video saying why we should be elected,” said Lieberman.
Lieberman’s video shows him dancing to Pharell Williams’ “Happy” in front of DC landmarks such as the Washington Monument and the carousel on the National Mall.
When making the video, Lieberman was not dancing to any music, however.
“Some people saw me and thought I was nuts,” he said. At one point, while dancing in Georgetown, a few kids ran out of a nearby restaurant and cheered him on, he said.
Lieberman also decided to include a reference to “Turkish Kiss,” whose unique dance moves many young Jews learn while at summer camp or youth group events.
“There’s three shots of me in front of a carousel on the Mall dancing the Israeli folk dance ‘Turkish Kiss,’” he said. “So far, only one person has mentioned to me that they recognized the choreography.”
Sloan started her campaign with a Facebook group, which she titled Susan4JewishGirlofTheYEAR!
For her video, she decided to channel Jenna Marbles, a popular YouTube personality known for her unflinching portrayal of twentysomething life, often through voice-overs depicting trains of thought.
“One of my favorite YouTube sensations is Jenna Marbles,” she said, “so with the help of a former GtJ Guy of the Week, Jason, we created a parody of that style with a stream of consciousness of me trying to figure out different ideas for the GtJ video.”
Gather the Jews is a website that, according to its description, “facilitates Jewish life in Washington, DC by providing up-to-date and accurate information about all of the city’s Jewish social, religious, and learning opportunities.”
Each week, the site posts a casual interview with their “Jewish Guy of the Week” and “Jewish Girl of the Week,” for which those profiled are asked questions such as “what is your favorite Jewish food” and “who is the coolest Jew?”
After the videos of the finalists were posted online, GtJ gathered at a local bar to hold a vote and announce the winners.
When the winners were announced, GtJ put crowns on their heads. “It really wasn’t all that dramatic,” Lieberman said.
“When people mention [Jewish Girl of the Year] or congratulate me, I end up covering my face with my hands,” said Sloan. “I feel truly humbled and slightly embarrassed.”
Lieberman is hoping to use the exposure this victory has afforded him to help change the local Jewish community for the better.
“I’m a ley-leader in this community,” he said. “What I’m looking to do us to use this as a platform to shape the community.”
“I am grateful that GtJ creates a place to be a part of such a vibrant young Jewish community,” Sloan said. “Furthermore, becoming “Jewish Girl of the Year” has made my parents quite proud. And we all know, if your Jewish parents are proud—you can do no wrong.”