If you ask Jared Phusia where he’s from, he says he’s from “a little bit of all over.” Jared’s dad served as a urologist in the Air Force when he was growing up, so their family got around, spending time in Charlottesville, Virginia; the Mississippi Gulf Coast; Florida; and New Jersey.
Now in his fourth year in the DC area, Jared currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland. He just turned 30 and works as a sales and account manager at JCommerce Group, a local Jewish ecommerce company. Jared graduated from Rutgers University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in international relations (focused on the Middle East) and a minor in Italian.
What is the last book you read?
The last book I read was “On Prayer” by Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski. I read all kinds of books, but this happens to be the last one I actually read, and Rabbi Twerski is my favorite Jewish author. His ability to connect his background in psychiatry and being an Orthodox rabbi is really amazing. It’s nutritious food for thought, for the intellect and for the soul.
Tell us something even your friends might not know about you.
I practice Transcendental Meditation twice a day. For about 20 minutes I sit with my eyes closed and think a two-syllable sound mantra in my head.
I know you probably weren’t anticipating this question, but what is your favorite wine?
This is a hard one, since it depends on the time of week, the time of the year, and quality/ price ratio or best overall, I would have to say my company’s private label Novel Carrera, a blend of Cabernet and the very much underdone but wonderful Barbera grape, which is of Italian origin. I realize that may sound biased, but it fits my pallet (fruit-forward, tannic, and acidic) and pairs well with Mediterranean cuisine.
What do you like to do during your spare time?
I love to work out at the gym, cook Italian food and sing in Italian to it (I swear it actually makes the food taste better), shoot my Beretta and other firearms at the gun range, do yoga, drink craft beer, and go on hikes.
If you could meet anyone, who would it be?
I hope I don’t get flack for this, but I would love to meet Howard Stern (I actually called in to his show before when I was in high school). His racy radio shtick and antics aside, he is really the definition of success. He worked hard and over many years to make his way to the top, and changed the face of radio. He also is an awesome interviewer, and a great defender of the Jews and Israel (and one of his daughters became observant!).
Describe yourself in three words.
My entire being in three words? That’s a really hard one. Here goes: Adventurous. Passionate. Traveler. I came into this world at the will of a force beyond me, and I have a real love for exploring and taking in all of the world and all that The One Above made to inhabit it. I love meeting and making relationships with my fellow travelers as we experience this world, and wondering what lies in store for us in the future and in the World to Come.
Where would you like to travel to next?
I’d like to travel to Iran, as crazy as that sounds. I studied Farsi in college and am fascinated with the history of Persia, and the food is excellent.
If you could relive any memory, which would it be?
I’d love to relive being a two-year-old again with the comprehension of a grown-up person: Not a care or worry in the world except for sucking a pacifier, riding my Batman tricycle, holding my little blue blanket, and watching the Jungle Book every morning (as I did in fact do way back then).
What is the last picture you took on your phone?
The last picture I took on my phone was of a mullet while walking around DC. That’s a whole other fascination of mine, mullet-hunting. The mullet is a wonderfully ridiculous hairstyle that is business in the front and party in the back, and was the king of the 80s. I have a collection of photos of different mullet styles; I started collecting when I was 14 and hunting them during visits to Disney World and different county fairs in central Florida.
Nuthouse or Ben Yehuda?
This is a hard one, since both have their strong points and weak points, but I would have to say Ben Yehuda. The deep sicilian is the closest thing to pizza in Italy, and the owner of Ben Yehuda is a true mensch.
Interviewed by Batya H. Carl