Chaviva Edwards is a super-blogger with a really long commute. The Buena Park dweller takes the CTA down to the University of Chicago where she works as an assistant to Nobel Prize winners and other big thinkers in the economics department. Originally from Nebraska, the 24-year-old is a lifelong fan of Chicago, but will head east this fall to start her graduate work in Judaic studies at the University of Connecticut.
So, whether you’re a fellow tea-drinker or a fan of her Jewish blog: Just Call Me Chaviva, her weight loss blog: Fat Miss America, or the blog she helped launch and still contributes to, Jews by Choice, Chaviva Edwards is a Jew you should know!
1. What did you want to be when you grew up?
My mom kept this elementary school book and every year I said I wanted to be an artist.Then in middle school I met this girl who was amazing; she could draw anything and I decided I wasn’t good enough. But I write now and I think that poetry is sort of my transition between art and writing.
2. What do you love about what you do today?
Blogging has connected me to people all over the world. It gives me an interesting perspective on who I am as a Jew and it’s amazing how connected the Jewish bloggers are. I never thought that by becoming a professional blogger I could have an impact on other people and meet people from so many different backgrounds.
3. What are you reading?
Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews 1430-1950 by Mark Mazower. I bought it a year ago and picked it back up recently. Salonica was a sort of a hotbed of Judaism where people spoke Ladino. Then the Holocaust pretty much wiped out the people and the language. I’m just kind of fascinated by the idea of Jews in Greece.
4. What’s your favorite place to eat in Chicago?
I love Eleven City Diner. People hear the word “diner” and think it’s all greasy food or something, but it’s a classy diner. It’s owned by a young guy and modeled after old Jewish diners but you might find something like latkes with a pork sandwich on the menu.
5. If money and logistical reality played no part, what would you invent?
I would totally invent a teleportation device. Through blogging, I know people all over the world, but there are so many people I have known for years and have never met in person.
6. Would you rather have the ability to fly or to be invisible?
I think fly—and then I wouldn’t need a teleportation device! Also, there’s something about being invisible seems dishonest I guess.
7.If I scrolled through your iPod, what guilty pleasure song would I find?
“Jolene” by Dolly Parton. I lived the first ten years of my life in the Ozarks and grew up listening to country music.
8. What’s your favorite Jewish thing to do in Chicago—in other words, how do you Jew?
I’ve been doing a lot of shul hopping lately. I also spend a lot of time at Argo Tea on north Broadway doing personal Torah study and I have met a lot random Jews that way. I swear, every other time I go in there I meet Jews. I don’t know if they notice what I am doing or smell me out or what but I dig it.