A regular at Jewish events in our community, Lex has a passion for taking care of the earth, loves scuba diving among beautiful marine life, and always has a good Netflix recommendation. Read on to learn why Lex is our mensch of the month!
Alyssa: What brought you back to Houston after college?
Lex: I was born and raised here in Houston and my parents were born and raised here in Houston so I've lived here my whole life, but when looking for colleges to apply to I found this small little school called Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida and I really enjoyed it. After college I definitely had friends that stayed in St. Petersburg and not many people at my college were from Texas so coming back to Houston and not having those college friends was hard, but I love my family and I love Houston. Saving money and trying to find where I was going to land/what I was going to do with my life definitely played a role, so having that support system was important for me as well.
Alyssa: When you were in Florida, what did you miss most about Houston?
Lex: So many things, of course the food, BBQ, Whataburger, and all the delicious food here. I missed the big city feel, I like how in Houston it is a big city, but then there's small little cities in and around it as well. I missed my family and friends, it was hard not being close enough to see them when I was away. Those are most of the things I missed, but what I did not miss was the traffic! Houston traffic is the worst.
Alyssa: What was Jewish life like on campus for you?
Lex: I was part of the Hillel on campus, out of 2,000 students at my school there were 150 jewish students, so not many Jews, but it was actually a pretty big percentage for the size of the campus! We partnered with other local colleges as well like University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, University of Tampa...etc. We even shared a Rabbi, Rabbi Ed Rosenthal, and he would spend a couple days each week at each campus, helping us create a tight knit Jewish community. I was on the Hillel board for pretty much the whole time I was there and the best part about our Hillel was a program called Scubi Jew, where we got to learn how to scuba dive and get certified. Eckerd college is the only Hillel in the nation that owns a boat! We would take trips out into the gulf, rivers, and lakes in the area. One of the reasons why I wanted to host reverse Tashlich with Jewston this past year was because it was something that we started at my Hillel.
Alyssa: Do you feel like your Jewish upbringing in Houston encouraged you to seek out Jewish community in Florida?
Lex: I think growing up I definitely had a strong Jewish identity and felt very proud and very happy about my Judaism. I was always trying to seek it out and try to learn more, that’s what I love about Judaism is finding like minded individuals to learn together. There is still so much I don’t know about Judaism, so finding new traditions and rituals, trying them out and seeing what fits within my own practice is something I value. I grew up going to Congregation Emanu El and was a Greene Family Camp camper and counselor, so those experiences really formed my Jewish identity growing up.
Alyssa: Are you a licensed Scuba instructor now?
Lex: I am not an instructor, but I did get certified to go scuba diving. I even have my own gear! I got the lowest level of scuba diving, so I can only go to forty five feet underwater, which honestly is very deep. You can get certified to go a hundred feet and plus, but I don’t need to do that. I actually haven’t gone scuba diving since college, but I want to find a place here in Houston to do it soon!
Alyssa: Where is your favorite Scuba diving location?
Lex: Rainbow River in Kissimmee Florida, it’s this beautiful clear river in South Central Florida. The water is so clear and I got to see beautifully colored fish and other marine life.
Alyssa: What are your top 3 Netflix recommendations?
1. Schitt’s Creek
3. Ginny & Georgia
Alyssa: When Jewston comes together we…
Lex: Collaborate and Celebrate