We recently interviewed NuRoots community member Elaine Daneshrad about her involvement with the Jewish community, Los Angeles, and more! Elaine has volunteered with our NuRoots intergenerational work at the former Israel Levin Center and will be traveling with us on the JDC-Entwine trip to Morocco this year. Check out her interview below!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Growing up in Los Angeles, I was always fascinated by the world of entertainment. I started my career in public relations, working in every field from TV and event production to brand marketing for some of the biggest companies in the game including MTV, Samsung, T-Mobile, and Audi. Always having a passion for photography and fashion, I took my PR skills and transformed them into what is now Fashionlaine — a place where I cover everything from fashion to travel, beauty, and food. Creating unique campaigns and experiences with an array of brands from Cadillac, Reebok, SweetTarts, Stella Artois, Maybelline, Macy’s, and more — I hope to use my voice and blog to inspire others to do something that they love and are passionate about.
What defines Jewish culture or tradition for you?
Born and raised in Los Angeles, I’m so blessed because I got to grow up in a strong Jewish culture and community. Every Friday night, I get to set aside time to take in our Jewish traditions through the ritual Shabbat gatherings I have with my family. I also go to temple every Saturday morning and partake in some amazing Jewish events throughout the year. So, to me, the community I’ve grown up in and the network that has been built around our Jewish culture and traditions are what have helped define and shape my Jewish identity.
What song describes your mood right now?
I’m OBSESSED with reggaeton music at the moment. I have a 12-minute mashup mix I play on repeat by DJ Gian on Spotify. The overall fun reggaeton vibes give the boost of energy I need throughout the day.
You know you’re from / live in L.A. when…
Being 10 minutes late because of traffic is actually being on time.
What’s your favorite place in L.A., and why?
The Grove is one of my happy places! I love the atmosphere and all of the people who come from everywhere around the world to walk around, shop, and eat.
Did you have a bat mitzvah? What did it look like?
I had a B’NOT mitzvah (!!) with my sister who’s a year and three days older — I was 12 and she was 13 when we did it. We led the entire temple service from beginning to end in all of the prayers, Torah, Haftorah, and more! My party entrance song was “Barbie Girl,” and my sister and I did a duet of “Hava Nagila” on the piano during our candle lighting service.
A past trend that you wish would come back?
The fleece hoodie GAP sweaters! I still have mine from the 90s and wear it around at home because they’re so comfy and the best — but my friends think otherwise.
How did you get involved in NuRoots?
Through all of the AMAZING friends I know who are involved and work with NuRoots at the Federation.
If you could accomplish one big thing in 2018, what would it be?
To do a high school tour throughout the U.S. to talk to students, organizations, and classes about embracing who they are and how to find the best career paths for each of them, and inspire them to be their best selves!
Something you’re still working on?
Balancing time. There are so many things I always want to accomplish all at once, so finding a good way to take on everything in an efficient manner is something I’d like to master.
What would you tell a newcomer to L.A. about our Jewish community?
It’s the best and most welcoming community and that L.A. is one of the greatest places to really embrace your Jewish roots.
Favorite Jewish holiday
Chanukah! I love me some gelt and sufganiyot.
Jewish tradition/ritual you think is nice/meaningful that you want to be doing now/still doing 10 years from now?
For the past 10 months, I’ve taken on not using my phone during Shabbat (exceptions made if I really need to for something). While hard at first, it’s now become the thing throughout the week I look forward to because I get to spend a whole day really living in the moment with the people I love — without distractions.
NuRoots mobilizes people in their 20s and 30s to build meaningful communities across Los Angeles. In collaboration with community members and inspired by Jewish culture, heritage, wisdom, and values, NuRoots brings people together to reimagine Jewish life through creative experiences and gatherings of various sizes. To learn more, visit www.yaJewishLA.org or e-mail NuRoots@JewishLA.org.