By Brett Richman, MHWOW Program Manager

Hello, my name is Brett and I’m excited to join the MHWOW team! I came to Moishe House after spending the last seven years with BBYO in a variety of places around North America.  Moishe House’s DIY approach towards engaging young adults as they develop and define their relationship to Judaism speaks to my internal Punk teen. I’m excited to work with our International Hosts to support their MHWOW experience. I enjoy lots of nerdy things; comics (DC), niche music sub-genres, hyper-local food, and deep pop-culture references.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to chat about MHWOW, how I can best support you, or that new recipe you tried!

Hometown: Boca Raton, FL (born in Philadelphia, PA)

Current City: Arlington, VA

Email: brett.richman@moishehouse.org 

Favorite Superhero? 

Green Arrow aka Oliver Queen. The first time I read a Green Arrow comic was Kevin Smith’s ‘Quiver’ (yes, the guy who did Clerks!).  The book opens with a hero who has no memories but innately knows he is meant to help people and do good.  

Which three TV characters resonate with your personality?

  1. J.D. (Scrubs) – because I’m the sidekick in my own daydreams, sometimes Alfred.
  2. Fox Mulder (X-Files) – I want to believe! 
  3. The Doctor (Doctor Who) – my favorite quote, “Everything ends and it’s always sad, but everything begins again, too. And that’s always happy.”

Do you collect anything? 

Pilot G2 .7mm pens, it’s the only thing I can write with comfortably.  I have a gallon-sized bag overflowing with them, in case they ever stop making them.  I also love ceramic mugs, specifically the ones from Death Wish Coffee, I must have at least thirty, and it’s an ever-growing collection.  

Favorite Jewish holiday?

Shabbat! It’s a weekly reminder to put things in perspective, disconnect, and relax. 

Food plays a huge role in how we observe and celebrate. I like to riff on expectations of holiday-based food, discover old traditions and try new recipes.  With Purim coming at the end of the month, I’ll be exploring some traditional Persian-Jewish recipes to incorporate into my celebration!

This year I’m definitely making Fesenjan over jeweled rice.  Fesenjan is a traditional Iranian stewed chicken dish with lots of warm spices, pomegranate, and walnuts; I used this recipe a few years ago, with some alterations; I added a pinch of sumac for its citrus notes and aleppo for heat.  I made it on the stove, not an instant pot and it came out great! 

To go with the Fesenjan I’m making the Saffron rice with barberries, pistachio & mixed herbs from the Jerusalem cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. This recipe is their riff on a traditional Iranian Jewish dish called shirin polo.  This basmati rice dish uses saffron, lots of fresh herbs, pistachios, barberries (if you can’t find them, I’ve substituted goji berries in the past!), and I add pomegranate seeds to complement the Fesenjan.  You can find the recipe adapted here.

I hope you are able to find something new to incorporate into your Purim celebrations this year!