Imanouel's journey into medicine has helped him develop a unique appreciation for treating every person with kindness and sensitivity. These characteristics and more are why Imanouel is the ultimate Nice Jewish (almost) Doctor AND Jewston's mensch of the month! Keep reading to learn more about this tahdig loving, guitar playing, HEB fanboy and his top three things you should do while in Houston.
Alyssa: What brought you to Houston?
Imanouel: I moved to Houston from Los Angeles in January of 2020 for medical school, but I actually spent my childhood summers here visiting family and tearing up the courts at the ERJCC tennis camp. Having lived here for almost two years now, Houston is as great as I remember it. I’m constantly blown away by new and unique restaurants and I’m a huge HEB fanboy. Adjusting to the weather is a different story.
Alyssa: What influenced your decision to go to medical school?
Imanouel: Medicine has been a passion I wanted to pursue for as long as I can remember. I was the kid that was always sick. 104 fevers were a mild illness for me. Naturally, my parents were always on high alert and the way my pediatrician reassured them with every visit is something that stuck with me. I pursued psychology in undergrad at UCLA and joined a lab studying fear to understand how to best mitigate health related anxiety. That’s been my passion in medical school and being able to exercise bringing calm to patients has been the most rewarding part of the experience.
Alyssa: What’s your most memorable medical school experience so far?
Imanouel: I could write a novel about the incredible things I’ve seen in my short time in medicine. The experience most fresh in my mind is flying to Dallas with the transplant surgery team to procure a lung for a young patient suffering from severe post-covid pulmonary (fancy latin word pertaining to the lungs) complications. I remember the moment of silence we took and the weight in the room before we began the procedure. Following that patient in the hospital, participating in family meetings and tackling the challenges of intensive care are all experiences I’ll carry with me to better inform my future career.
Alyssa: In the spirit of learning about our diverse Jewish family from around the world, share with us a little about growing up as a Persian Jew!
Imanouel: Being a Persian Jew is great! I’m from the Persian community of Los Angeles, aka “Tehrangeles”, and the culture is incredible. My favorite food has to be Tahdig – a crispy rice dish loaded with saffron and turmeric, cooked to perfection (see the video below for a mouth watering example). A Persian tradition that is different from other flavors of Judaism is the way we celebrate Dayeinu at Passover. We grab a bundle of green onions and whack as many people at the table as possible while singing Dayeinu. We recently stepped it up a notch by bringing leeks to the seder. It's NOT a Persian Passover if you walk away without some bruises!
Alyssa: What’s your favorite Jewish holiday and why?
Imanouel: Definitely Hannukah! I love the cold, counting the days with the candles, and making homemade Sufganyot (jelly doughnuts) and Latkes.
Alyssa: When you aren’t saving lives in the hospital or deep into a textbook, what are you doing for fun?
Imanouel: I usually like to unwind by learning a new recipe to meal prep or playing guitar. I also enjoy board game nights or going out!
Alyssa: What are the 3 things everyone must do when in Houston?
1. Come to a Jewston event!
2. Find an interesting hole in the wall restaurant or go to Dino’s and get their Shawarma. Easily the best food I’ve had since moving here.
3. Check out the museum district or take a tour at NASA.
Alyssa: Is there anything else you want the Jewston community to know?
Imanouel: The Covid & Med School combo could not have been successful without Jewston’s support. Reach out to Alyssa to get involved in a safe way and I promise you will be happier for it!
Alyssa: When Jewston comes together, we...?