Photograph courtesy of Jina Davidovich

Jina Davidovich

Meet the Street

We chatted with Good Streeter Jina Davidovich to learn more about what she’s passionate about and what some of her favorite things are. 
Read on below!

How’d you discover Good St.?
I met Joe Teplow through some mutual friends of ours. I remember when the project was evolving, and I got involved with the launch of the “I’m on Good St.” campaign. I saw someone participating and decided it was a great opportunity to get on board. The organization I chose to feature was JQY (Jewish Queer Youth), which is based out of New York and works with LGBTQ youth and young adults from a range of Orthodox backgrounds.

Good St. is about making giving a part of your daily routine… What is a quirky daily routine of yours?
This is incredibly nerdy, and I’m not really one for routines in general. But I do listen to NPR while I brush my teeth — it’s what wakes me up in the morning! Snoozing my alarm clock is also part of my daily routine (it used to be set to the song, “Dance in the Graveyards,” but it completely ruined the song for me so now I’ve reverted to the standard Apple sound).

What’s one GOOD change you’d like to see in the world?
I would like to see education be treated as a basic human right. There are so many women and girls all over the world who still think of education as a luxury that they will never have access to. Education should not be a luxury but a basic right. It’s the path to advancement and global engagement. While education is a particular hurdle for women and girls, 26% of the global population is illiterate. This is something that needs to change. I think that as a society, educational opportunities and literacy are causes that we have to work toward improving.

What is a cause or organization you’re particularly passionate about? 
Aside from JQY and supporting LGBTQ Jewish youth from Orthodox backgrounds, I am really passionate about organizations that work to enhance life for women and girls around the world, particularly in the areas of women’s health or education. It’s something I’ve always been interested in. The American Jewish World Service, an organization based out of New York, does incredible work in developing countries on issues such as ending child marriage in places like India and working with LGBTQ people in Central/South America. I went on a mission with them last year to Nicaragua and El Salvador to learn more about their work and engage with the NGOs that they work with. It was great to be part of an American, Jewish organization that has an external focus and thinks about using their resources to combat injustice around the world.

On Good St. we believe that small change (like our quarters) can lead to big change… can you think of a particular experience in your life that you believe changed you, whether in a big or small way?
As an undergraduate at Yeshiva University, I had the privilege of serving as Secretary General for our Model United Nations conference. Model UN was something I did all throughout high school — I was a total nerd about it. It made me interested in human rights, globalization, and international law. In college, I was selected to organize this three-day conference for close to 500 international high school students. Many of the participants come from homogenous and privileged backgrounds, so issues such as issues of drought and hunger in Africa or the migrant crisis in Europe remain theoretical for them. I was interested in thinking about ways to bring these issues down to earth. I invited Jacqueline Murekatete, a lawyer and survivor of the Rwandan genocide, to come and speak to this group of students. For most people in the room, who were from Jewish backgrounds, genocide is something that they are most commonly exposed to through the lens of the Holocaust. For them, a genocide survivor is an elderly man or woman with miraculous horror stories about surviving Nazi Germany. By bringing in Jacqueline, a young woman of color, I wanted to expand the realm of genocide and expose them to someone who experienced genocide in our generation. It was extremely interesting for me to think critically about adding a new element to a conference that had been going on for more than twenty years. Mostly, it was amazing to hear about Jacqueline’s bravery and resilience. Everyone was moved to tears by her talk. I hope that she impacted everyone in the room as much as she impacted me.

As a fellow New Yorker, if Brandon from Humans of New York (HONY) came up to you right now and asked you “What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do every day?” what would you say?
Prayer plays a large role in the Jewish tradition. A few months ago, I wanted to reintroduce daily prayer into my life, but couldn’t commit to praying three times a day, which used to be my practice. So I started with a small set of morning blessings. There’s a set of morning blessings that I started saying on my walk to the train. One of these blessings thanks God for creating humans “according to God’s will” — “She’asani Kirtsono.” Every morning when I say this blessing, I think about what it means to be created in accordance with God’s will. It gives me a moment to affirm who I am and my responsibility to bring holiness and justice into the world. In the Orthodox tradition, men actually say a different blessing: “She’lo asani ee-sha” — thanking God for not making him a woman. As a feminist, this has always been incredibly troubling for me. I often take the moment when I say this blessing to remind myself of the importance of continuing to work toward gender equity. I like having a fire lit under me in the morning. It mixes really well with my coffee. 
But sometimes my blessings aren’t so lofty. Sometimes it’s just a moment for me to remember that I was created in God’s image, so I should really get through my to-do list today. If God could create the world in 7 days, I should be able to get through my Constitutional Law reading.

Rapid Fire Good:

Good quote?
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” — The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Good musician?
Joshua Radin
Good gift?
A Starbucks gift card is always a good, generic gift. But if you can find a special journal and inscribe it with a personal message, I always think that would be a really solid, meaningful gift. My birthday is in May, in case you’re wondering.
Good place to visit?
Greece — the culture is fascinating, it has a lot of rich history, and is aesthetically gorgeous.
Good word?
Cacophony
Good books?
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan
Good food?
Sushi (almost always) and pizza (always)

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