Julie Yusupov

Pyatigorsk, Russia
I was born in Russia in a very traditional Sephardic community. My family immigrated in 1991 to Long Island, NY. My parents were very excited to finally have religious freedom and they sent my sister and I to Bais Yaakov school (a Haredi all girls high school). After this, I attended Stern College for women (YU), where I practiced my rebellious character for the first time in the form of majoring in finance and taking a Gemara class - neither which would have been approved by my Sephardic background or the high school I had attended. I held an 8 year financial career that ended by default in 2008 during the financial crisis, so I then decided to take a break and travel the world. One of the stops was in Israel where I volunteered in the Israeli army and I also spent a Shabbat in Tzfat. Little did I know that this one Shabbat would turn into a year of learning and also change my life... My involvement with JICNY began around 2003/04, when I was invited to a Shabbat dinner at Darna’s and also to Steve Eisenberg's class located back then at Aish. Shortly after this I attended a JICNY Shabbaton in Long Beach that summer. Then Jodi and Gavin came to spend Shabbat at my parent’s home in Atlantic Beach, NY. Shortly afterwards I moved to the City and already had an established circle of friends through meeting people at the JICNY events. JICNY is an organization that is close to my heart - I've developed many close friendships through the events, have been a member of the board for a number of years and received an honor at the Annual Gala Dinner in 2005. My involvement currently continues on a different level - I am one of the hosts for Shabbat Across America dinner and for the first time I'm teaching a Chanukah cooking class on Tues, Dec 4th. See www.jicny.com/events for details. JICNY is really an exciting place to be! Please join us!