Kevin Rudolph

Written by Batya H. Carl on . Posted in Young Professionals Spotlight

Kevin Rudolph has been living in Washington, D.C., for a year and a half. Originally from California, he had a one-year layover in Jerusalem and a two-year layover in Chicago before moving to the nation’s capital. Kevin is a proud alumnus of UC Santa Barbara (on the best coast) and the University of Chicago. In DC, Kevin works as an advocate for the pro-business community.

 

1.) How many DC neighborhoods have you lived in?

Eight: Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan (upper Dupont circle), Foggy Bottom, downtown, Georgetown, Columbia Heights, Chinatown, and Capitol Hill.

I enjoy traveling, but it’s expensive, so I travel around DC instead!

2.) As someone who grew up in California, what’s the biggest surprise about the East Coast?

The name. My family came to Los Angeles from New York, and to this day they still refer to the East Coast as “back East.” Until I moved here, I didn’t realize no one says “back East.”

3.) You teach Sunday School in Capitol Hill —  can you tell us about that?

Yes, I teach fifth grade at Hill Havurah. I very much cherish the work because many of these students come from little or no formal Jewish background, so to explain the story of Passover from the beginning was a surprise. But the interest and this raw insight they bring to the classroom is stunning. I feel like I have these blank slates to work with. My only fear is that I teach them something wrong.

4.) Who would play you in the movie about your life? Why?

Zach Galifianakis and Seth Rogen. When I was in college, I ran for a student government position, and my best friend Jon made this campaign poster that had me as the byproduct of Zach Galifianakis and Seth Rogen. The resemblance to them was more spot on than to my own parents!

5.) What is something people would be surprised to find out about you?

I have a twin sister in Los Angeles. I love her very much but we are starkly different — to the point that we often say there was a word count growing up, and I took up most of the words.

6.) What are you most likely to be famous for?

I love bread, and it was early Friday afternoon in the Jerusalem shuk (outdoor market), meaning that everyone and their kid was trying to buy food and get home before sundown. I waited 20 minutes and decided that I was just going to go behind the counter and take some bread (I would pay for it later). When I was up, an elderly man asked me to get him some challah, which pushed others to do the same —  lo and behold, I spent a half hour “working” there, only to go back Friday afternoon after Friday afternoon, doing the same.

When I finally turned in my apron, I didn’t even get a free challah!

7.) What was your first job?

(Fictional — parentheses mine) campaign staffer. 

I volunteered for this very contentious House campaign for a few days until I realized that in the room next to me there were all these college students (I had just finished my first year). I decided to come back the next day —  wearing a button down shirt —  and call myself an intern.

A few weeks passed and I noticed that I was working for no money, so the next day I came in wearing a tie and submitted a pay stub, even though my internship in no way was paid. I made sure to talk to a few of the staffers and ask what they thought about me getting paid; most, just to appease me, said “Sure.”

I was called into the campaign manager’s office, who asked who I was, and I told him to ask all the staffers I had checked in with previously.  To my surprise, they all said good things. A few days later, they put me on salary and put me in charge of interns, who had been my colleagues days prior.

8.) When have you met a famous person?

I once was walking in the basement of the Cannon House Office Building on the day Speaker Ryan and now-President Trump were having that famous first meeting/showdown. After that meeting, the Speaker was walking from the Floor to his personal office and it was just me and Speaker Ryan (and the 10 biggest plain-clothes Capitol police officers I’ve seen) walking in opposite directions in the tunnel.

I wanted (dearly) to say, “Hi Mr. Speaker, it’s an honor,” but my words wouldn’t come out. All I was able to do was give a faux-casual head bob, that very teenage “too cool for school” motion of acknowledgement,  and the Speaker just shot me this look that I will never forget that was the verbal equivalent of “Who is this kid?”

9.) Kevin, I know the answer is probably no, but do you have any awkward moments?

Surprisingly, yes. A few years back, I was in Jerusalem during that million chasidim march (for the Tal Law). It was a very rainy Sunday, and I remember I was supposed to meet up with a friend’s friend who had made aliyah.

I had not met this person, and all I knew was that she made aliyah and changed her name,  so I assumed she was very frum. I was invited to her house for coffee, and thinking that I didn’t want to insult her, I wore a black suit with a white shirt (no tie), and a black hat. I arrived at her place, knocked on her door and was greeted by her and her very nice partner, who both just stared at me like I was the cause of all the calamity that befell that week and the national debate. Needless to say, it was a very awkward sit-down.

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Interviewed by Batya H. Carl