Congress may have forced thousands out of work this week, but there are some perks in and around the District for those who have been furloughed. Federal employees are getting everything from free burgers to drink specials thanks to the generosity of local businesses.
In particular, the Sixth and I Synagogue opened its doors, giving furloughed employees a place to hang out and pass the time, with free snacks, coffee, and Wi-Fi, as well as activities such as a continuous marathon of The West Wing, board games, and even political ping pong.
The idea for “Shutdown Central” started with synagogue Director Ester Safran Foer, who thought of hosting a cafe at the synagogue, a place for federal workers to grab a free cup of Joe. The idea kept on growing thanks to the input of her team.
The “nonessential” employees who came out work in all areas of the government, including the Department of Education and the Department of Justice. Josh Novikoff, an employee of the Environmental Protection Agency, said that Shutdown Central acts as a diversion from the situation he, and the other federal workers, are currently in.
Foer and her team hope that Shutdown Central will continue to grow and they pledge to keep the synagogue doors open for as long as the shutdown continues.