Meet Rachel Figueroa-Levin, the Soap-Making, Jewryican Stay-at-Home Mom Behind Twitter’s ElBloombito

rachel figueroa el bloombito Meet Rachel Figueroa Levin, the Soap Making, Jewryican Stay at Home Mom Behind Twitters ElBloombito

La Bloombita.

The Observer: That’s the spirit! So, besides Adam Sandler, where did you hone your Spanglish? Does it have anything to do with growing up Jewyorican, as you named your other Twitter handle?

Rachel: My father is Puerto Rican and fluent in Spanish. My mother is Ashkenazi Jewish and despite being married to my dad for 30 years doesn’t speak any Spanish at all. For me Spanglish is sort of a natural evolution from living in an English speaking country. Kind of like “Yeshivish” in the Jewish community. I grew up in an English only household but the languages of your ancestors have a way of sneaking into your vocabulary.

The Observer: Amen—or should I say ah-mein—to that. So tell us a little bit more about yourself? You mentioned your grandma out in Sheepshead Bay and your dad at the NYPD. You grew up in the city? Went to school here? What were you doing before you became an artisian soap maker?

Rachel: I grew up on Staten Island. In Willowbrook, within easy walking distance of that creepy mental hospital busted by Geraldo Rivera (another Jewyorican!!!). I moved to Manhattan when I moved in with my then-boyfriend (now husband/baby daddy). Before I was a soap maker I dabbled in opera (I’m a soprano), freelance graphic and website design, and writing. Now I make babies and soap. In a year or two I’ll probably be doing something else. I’m so incredibly lucky that my husband has a “real job” that allows me to just be creative without worrying about money.

Otherwise I’d be one of those starving artists. I’m a well fed starving artist.

The Observer: With plenty of time for Twitter, too! Seriously, with a new baby, how do you find the time for social media?

Rachel: I can feed the baby with one hand and tweet on my phone with the other. I have to. Between not being able to go out much during my third trimester (and the baby was 2 weeks late), a very cold winter with a newborn, and hurricanes, I’m pretty much a shut in. Thank G-d the weather is nice again!

The Observer: Did you write before, or did the blogging and twitter (and wit!) sort of just happen?

Rachel: I have always enjoyed writing. The wit I credit to my late grandfather Bernard Samith. He was a master of one-liners.

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The Observer: Were you worried about being outed? Surprised? How’d that happen?

Rachel: I put my @jewyorican twitter handle on the Bloombito profile. So I wasn’t outed… just discovered.

The Observer: Does that trouble, bother or worry you?

Rachel: Not at all. Like I said, I created this for friends so I wanted them to know that the profile was me. My personal twitter is public so anyone can see it. If people are really that interested in my daily happenings… that’s O.K. with me.

The Observer: So, the obvious question: Have you been offered a book deal yet?

Rachel: I have not. Is this something I should expect? You aren’t the first person to mention a book deal. I think it would be funny.

The Observer: It’s a thing, I guess, from Shit My Dad Says to the rash of Tumblogs-to-books. I noticed in the Daily News you’ve got a cook book in the works, so maybe you could parlay it into something with that. How many followers did your main account get thanks to this? Also,

Rachel: The only “book” I have ever written was for NaNoWriMo two years ago. I got maybe 300 new followers on my personal account.

The Observer: You mentioned NY1 and Inside City Hall. Are you politically active?

Rachel: I don’t know about active… I’m politically aware. I blog about it occasionally—but not much. I like political pundit shows—a little too much maybe. I’m also addicted to Hardball.

The Observer: Did you vote for El Bloombito?

Rachel: I did. To be honest, if he ran for a fourth term I’d probably vote for him again.

The Observer: Speaking of fourth terms, here are a few questions from Twitter readers (please respond in character):

Rachel: O.K., shooto.

The Observer: From @dsrbroadway, Is he seeking a quatro term?

Rachel: Yo no seeko un quatro term por que yo necesito to be paid more than uno peso per yearo. Tengo bills.

The Observer: From CFWard57, “Donde can yo vayo to learn Español as bueno as yours?”

Rachel: Watcho El Streeto del Sesame!

The Observer: From MikeZ37, “¿Quien es macho, Fernando Llama o Ricardo Montalban?”

Rachel: Ricardo Maltoban es el man.

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The Observer: All right. Back to you. What is your fondest non-El Bloombito memory of or experience from Hurricane Irene?

Rachel: My husband’s birthday was yesterday. Blew out emergency candles. My daughter also stood up without holding onto anything for the first time. That was fantastic.

The Observer: What was your weirdest hurricane provision?

Rachel: Coconut toasted marshmallows.

The Observer: And the question that’s on everyone’s mind: With Irene gone, is this the end, or just the beginning?

Rachel: Everyone is telling me to continue El Bloombito. I will for now, as long as it stays fun.

The Observer: Anything else you’d like to add/plug for/let the world know?

Rachel: I run a hyperlocal website for my neighborhood Inwood, In the Wood. My neighborhood is amazing and very important to me. All you stranded Brooklynites should come up here! No flooding!

mchaban [at] observer.com | @MC_NYC

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  2. J Thiem says:

    Hay que aprender español – si latinoamericanos y otros  hispanohablantes puedan aprender como hablar inglés con fluedez, el alcante pueda aprender como articular las palabras correctamente. !Enseñlale! Todo el mundo pueda aprender lenguas segundas – incluso el angloparlante.

    He needs to speak Spanish. If Latin Americans and other Spanish-speaking individuals can learn to speak English fluently, the mayor can learn how to articulate the words correctly. Teach him! Everyone can learn to speak a second language, including English speakers.

    Jan Thiem

    1. josedelnose says:

      Your Spanish is horrible. 

    2. Sam says:

      Why would he “need” to speak spanish in America?  Why not also speak Arabic, Indian, Korean, German, etc…

      We don’t go into other people’s countries demanding to speak the English language.  If you want spanish speaking people, go South America, Mexico or Puerto Rico.  There’s plenty spanish speakers there.

      1. Ralwa99 says:

        Indian isn’t a language.

      2. ric says:

        actually americans do go to other countries and expect everyone to know english..Where do you think the term “ugly American” came from..

  3. Cas_eindhoven says:

    Do people not write English anymore?  This WebSpelling and WebGrammar is really the pits.

  4. Annalinneas says:

    Ok, his accent is appalling but at least he is making an effort and can laugh at himself. I wish my (British) compatriots living in Spain would exert themselves half as much as he does – only being able to say ‘hola’ and ‘una cerveza’ after years living in the country simply isn’t good enough. 

    Anyway, El Bloombito has certainly dado me a bueno laugho….hugabrazos desde the Unitedo Kingdomo :)

  5. Lnf11 says:

    Bloomberg’s pronunciation wasn’t very good, but I think he got the message across, and he deserves some credit for the effort.
    Where does the “Jew” part become relevant? I wonder whether some New York Jews who bring things like that up can pronounce, much less speak, Hebrew or Yiddish or Ladino properly.

  6. Drumhead36 says:

    Well at least he tried.
    When are the Spanish people going to try to speak English?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I think the point is he is trying to learn. This Rachel person and people like her are the reason other Mayors don’t learn Spanish because jerkoffs like her will make fun of it. I think she should be ashamed of herself. That’s terible behavior to teach children and I hope her child doesn’t grow up to be so ungrateful. This person’s grandmother was evacuated safely and all se can do is make fun of someone?  Sure it’s humorous, but it’s also mean spirited and pointless. I’ll bet this person has NEVER volunteered to teach English or Spanish to anyone that needs it. Just a person who complains and makes fun – but adds no value herself.

    1. La Coquito says:

      Have you EVER volunteered to teach English or Spanish? If anything she praised Mayor Bloomberg’s effort to keep us New Yorkers safe.  However, it is true what she mentioned that at a critical time he should had someone fluent in Spanish or any other language that he is not fluent do the translation so that his instructions are completely understood.  Besides, it was just for fun between her and her friends.  You need to lighten up a little my fedup friend. Mentioning her child from your part goes a little too far.  Besides my friend, what value do you add to yourself acting so uptight?

      1. Anonymous says:

        You must be a friend of hers. What she did was just make fun of someone for no reason. The Mayor got his message across. If she would have preferred a more professional Spanish speaker, She should have written the Mayors office instead of starting a ridiculous Twitter account. She is just a complainer, not someone that actually did anything to make a difference. She probably did it to sell more soap.  If she had wanted to keep it private, she could have had her posts protected on Twitter. I think she is a self-serving person who is mean spirited, and no I don’t think those are good qualities to pass on. 

        I do volunteer extensively in my community with at risk kids and kids with disabilities. I would not start a Twitter account to make fun of the Mayor’s policies in those areas. I believe in taking action and not just talking about something. And certainly not just tweeting about it. If you aren’t part of the solution – you are part of the problem.

      2. La Coquito says:

        That is so great that you volunteer extensively in your community!!! Its great to know that there is people out there that really cares for others and their community.  That said, I still feel that YOU should lighten up a little my friend.  As you said you help children; therefore, your attitude should be a happy one no matter what… because happiness is what these children that you say you volunteer to help need.  People needs these kind of stuff sometimes to laugh and forget about their problems and conditions. Yet, you are right about making fun of people is not right; however, I still think that “soap maker’s” intentions was not to ridicule Mayor Bloomberg but to try to make people feel a little less nervous in a funny way. Besides am sure that if there is a next time in which translation is necessary Mayor Bloomberg will definitely get a real translator or really work hard to get the message across the right way. So critic is not bad at all, from it we all learn and win.  Live, Laugh and Love and you will definitely transmit that energy to others, only then you can say that you did your volunteer job the right way because that positive attitude is what you would transmit to others.  The name you use is fedup, great name for someone that wants to make a difference.  The name alone transmits anger and negative energy. See, even the Mayor had a kick out of all this, he laughed and joked about it, that is one of the reasons I would had voted for him  if he had the chance to run another term because that is the attitude we all should learn from and he is in deed a great Mayor if not the best one. 

  8. erinnyc says:

    Rachel left her last apartment in such a state of filth that the landlord wretched upon entering.  She is an inconsiderate, sue happy, ho bag. And she will gladly eat bacon while not in the company of her observant buddies.