Hometown: I grew up in Marblehead and then I went to high school in Swampscott, so … I usually say both. Maybe I would say Swampscott.
Currently living in: New York City. I’m in Manhattan, in Soho.
Alma mater(s): I went to Cohen Hillel Academy [now Epstein Hillel] until I was in second grade. Then I went to Marblehead schools – I went to the Glover School and elementary/middle school in Marblehead – and then I switched to Swampscott and went to Swampscott for high school. I went to Ohio State for college and then I got my master’s in fashion studies at Parsons, at The New School in New York City.
Job: I have my own business. It’s a store … called Abbode (which is the extra “b” for Abby, like from the word “abode,” like “my humble abode”). And we are a curated, home decor gift shop that specializes in embroidery for gifts and for events and for anything you’d ever need embroidery for.
Hobbies: I love going out to dinner and trying new restaurants. I love horseback riding. I love shopping and finding new cool brands. I love reading – I just recently got a Kindle and I’ve been obsessed with it, reading every morning and every night now. I love hunting down vintage and going to flea markets and antiquing and such.
Favorite music: Old music, like ‘60s, ‘70s.
Favorite movies: “Mamma Mia,” “Mean Girls,” “The Parent Trap.”
Favorite TV shows: “Sex in the City,” “Entourage.”
Favorite books: “It Ends With Us” and “It Starts With Us.”
Favorite travel destination: Mexico City, Paris, Amsterdam.
Favorite Jewish practice: Definitely getting people together for Shabbat, which is something I aim to do more of. I love hosting and having friends over. My boyfriend and I host a Hanukkah party – we’ve had three now that we’ve hosted together since we started dating, and he just moved into my apartment, so this Hanukkah will be our first official Hanukkah party in our apartment together.
Favorite North Shore spot: Shubie’s in Marblehead.
Tell me about your Jewish background.
I think I got started being really involved at [Epstein] Hillel. I remember leaving and starting at public school and going to traditional Hebrew school, and being so good at Hebrew … and being like, “I’m so confused how these people around me don’t know anything.” Because I was in third grade … that is such a strong memory of mine.
It was so interesting going to college in the Midwest and meeting more people as I got older. I just always thought, “half of people were Jewish, and half of people weren’t” … I just really didn’t understand how much of a minority we were until I got to be older … But then the older I’ve gotten, especially with everything going on now, the stronger and stronger I’ve felt connected to [Judaism].
How is your Jewish experience now different from what you grew up with?
I think that when I was younger, it was so much more traditional, like going to synagogue every Saturday and, you know, practicing for my bat mitzvah. It was just kind of my parents forcing me to do it all … but it was never weird or different – everybody knew so many Jewish people, and it was just so normal. I never had to explain anything. Everyone, even people who weren’t Jewish, understood all the traditions and culture essentially that go into being Jewish, growing up on the North Shore. I just had no idea that that was such a rarity.
I just didn’t think anything of it … and I think now, it’s more of, “I have to make a conscious decision to be involved.” The older I’ve gotten and the more people I’ve met, [Judaism] is such a different culture … we have this stuff to us that other people just don’t get.
Tell me about the fund-raiser you ran for Israel. Why did you decide to do it? How much have you raised?
As soon as I heard about everything that was happening [in Israel], I really wanted to do something, and one of my friends suggested doing something with our embroidery. We enlisted [my other friend] to help us with creating a design. Once I got the design, I picked hats and T-shirts, and we got these designs embroidered on them. I just wanted to do it as quickly as possible, so we made samples in my store, and we posted about it – I know tons of influencers and influential people here in New York … so I reached out to them, and they were able to share it. And so, in the span of three days we sold about $22,000 worth of these clothing and hats and prints.
We’re donating 100 percent of all the profits made from all the sales of that.
If you could have dinner with any Jewish person alive or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
The first one that comes to mind would probably be the clothing designer from the brand Chloe … Gaby Aghion … She’s of Greek and Italian Jewish descent. Also Judith Leiber, a Holocaust survivor, [who] also is an incredible designer … The fashion industry is tough out there, and it’s definitely not leaning in the favor of Jews right now, it seems, so I would love to speak to some really influential, incredible Jewish female fashion designers to hear about any suggestions for me and my business, and how to handle being a strong, Jewish woman in a world where we’re always not favored, and overcoming adversity.
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