Jewish Guy of the Week – Jonathan

How many Jews can fly?
Based on the “prophecy” explained by various Hahamim & Rabbis, it was explained to our fathers hundreds of years ago that during the time of redemption, all Jews will find their way back to the land of Israel, on eagles’ wings (in Hebrew: Al Kanfei Nesharim). “Parshat Yitro” (Shemot/ Exodus – Chapter 19), which will be read next Shabbat, quotes the Creator as saying, “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and [how] I bore you on eagles’ wings, and I brought you to Me.”

In 1903, two Americans — the Wright brothers — succeeded in flying the first controlled human flight, which was for a long time considered “mankind’s oldest dream.”   More than 100 years, later we can now perceive what this “prophecy” means. Israel is a political island, and the primary means of transportation to and from Israel is via airplane. Today, the biggest aircraft in the world can carry up to 800 passengers (the Airbus A380)…. How many A380s would we need to fly all the Jews back to Israel during the time of the redemption…? That is the question…

Tell us about a Magic Carpet?
Well, the secret operation “Magic Carpet,” which flew 49,000 Yemenite Jews to Israel in 1949 and 1950, was nicknamed Operation “Kanfei Nesharim.” [Recommended reading: Parshat Yitro and On Eagles’ Wings: Moshiach (Messiah), Redemption, and the World to Come by Rabbi Hershel Brand – ISBN 1568712146].

You are French. Do you ever miss the other side of the ocean?
I am French and Israeli, and I miss both the other side of the Ocean and the other side of the Mediterranean Sea. Crossing the Atlantic takes 6 hours, crossing the Mediterranean Sea took us 2000 years of hope and faith. I miss Israel, as being our home, the home of the Jews. I miss France for the  food and culture, but don’t miss the difficulties of being a Jew in France (Antisemitism is severe).  I am proud to live in America, and proud of the values, history and culture of this country (e.g. the respect for freedom of religion, the respect for each other while living in society). The USA is the greatest country in the world, and that’s a fact, but while encountering Jews living here, I always face the same dilemma…. Do you consider yourself an American-Jew or a Jewish-American? Think about that… As a Frenchman… I consider myself to be Jewish-French, and as an Israeli, I am Jewish at Home!

Where can we find you on a Friday night?
Use Google Latitude on your iPhone ;-), or look for me at home, cooking a Shabbat dinner with my close friends or relatives (I love to cook… either the French or Israeli way), or at any of the Jewish Young Professionals events (Mesorah DC @ Sixth & I, The Shul/Chabad, or even at some friend’s place like… such as the home of the founder of this website…).

What is different about the US Jewish young adult scene in DC?
What makes it different is the maturity and the melting-pot of highly talented and smart Jews living here in the DC.  They come from all continents and work in the world’s most prestigious organizations.  I love to meet and get to know young professional Jews in DC, especially with regards to the numerous fascinating events that are taking place all over the greater DC area!

Do you eat rice on Passover?
Based on my Ashkenazi roots no, but based on my Sephardic roots yes…. but I am Israeli too… and I love sushi and rolls! So I might switch soon and allow rice because there is enough tasteless food during this holiday! I just need to ask the Rabbi…

When you are not in the sky, what do you enjoy doing?
So being in the skies is not my job, but my hobby… I actually work in the airline industry on the business side ( and the world has become a global village, especially when I fall asleep in Washington DC and wake up in the morning in Paris! Besides looking at today’s “eagles’ wings,” I love partying (and sometimes DJing), cooking with friends, watching great movies, reading and writing publications and books, and just living my life (or as they say in Hebrew, La’assot H’aim)!

If you had to fly with any Jew to Israel, who would it be?
Follow the path of Mashiach on today’s Eagles’ Wings to the Geula, the redemption (Amen)! Or… having the privilege to fly with anyone who hasn’t been to Israel yet, and show him  the Home of the Jews!

Tu B’Shevat Seder and Fundraiser

Wine. Trees. Israel. Each is awesome in its own way, but together? You have yourself the awesome experience known as a Tu B’Shevat  seder.

The Chesed Project is hosting a seder, to raise money for the Jewish National Fund to plant trees in Israel.

You might find yourself thinking – I like wine, but what is Tu B’shevat, why a seder (and I hope we don’t have to eat matzah). Basically, Tu B’shevat is the 15th of the month of Shevat, and it is new years day for trees in Israel, which is important for agricultural mitzvahs. In the 16th century the great Kabbalist the Ari (the same guy who wrote The Zohar), instituted seders, which offer a unique way for self reflection and personal growth.

We’ll be eating tree fruits and nuts, especially those grown in Israel, and exploring them as metaphors for people and our interaction with the planet. And did I mention 4 cups of wine? (Grape juice will also be available.)

The event will be Tuesday February 7th at 7pm at The Flats 2000 N St NW, in the party room. The seder will start at 7:30 promptly and last for about an hour. We are asking for a $10 suggested donation for each person. All money will be donated to the JNF. Please RSVP by Friday Feb 3, either by email or on our Facebook event page.

We are depending on the kindness of others to help provide the wine (4 cups per person!) and other things for the event, it’s just too expensive for us to provide everything ourselves. If you are interested in donating to help make our event as successful as possible, please contact Samantha at: samantha dot hulkower at gmail dot com. All donors will be acknowledged by name at the seder, or anonymously, if they prefer.

Hope to see you there!


Ridiculous Deal-Breakers – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (week 27)

I can’t say I love Patti Stanger’s advice on everything (and I certainly don’t try to emulate her demeanor), but once in a while she shares a nugget of information that I actually agree with.   This time it has to do with non-negotiables and deal-breakers.  Patti tells her clients to limit their non-negotiables to five things that they either can’t live with or can’t live without.  I don’t know if five is the magic number, or if there is a magic number at all, but having a long laundry list of a dozen “must haves” will inevitably doom your search for Mr. or Ms. Perfect.  In reality, no one is perfect, so it’s important to know what you can bend on.

Being an online dating consultant and dating coach, I hear them all: I don’t want a guy under 5’11.  She must weigh less than 120 pounds.  If he owns a cat, forget about it.  If she likes to play board games, she must be a nerd.  He puts Splenda in his coffee – that’s so girly.  She’s never been outside the US, so she must not have any idea about other cultures.  I can’t go out with him if he has the dry cleaner crease in his shirt.  She’s older than I am – it’s just a month, but I can’t date an older woman.  He does this weird thing where he wiggles one ear when he’s nervous.  The list goes on and on.

What’s really important in life?  When I did online dating to try to meet the man of my dreams, I had two main non-negotiables: intelligence and religion.  I knew that I wanted someone to be smart – really smart.  Not that I’m Einstein or anything, but I’d dated people who weren’t as intellectually stimulating as I had wanted, and it bothered me.  As for religion, I am Jewish.  I’m not terribly religious, and I’m more culturally Jewish than anything else (I make a heck of a matzah ball soup), but it was the common background that I craved.  Again, I’d dated someone who was not Jewish, and I learned that it was something I couldn’t compromise on again.  Nothing else seemed as important except for some age boundaries and physical attraction.  And the latter one is so hard to tell until you meet in person.

Once you get into a relationship, people seem to have a whole other list of deal-breakers.  Sure, this person has passed the non-negotiable test, but now he or she does something that drives you so crazy that you’re not sure you can live with it.  A common one is when guys leave the toilet seat up.  Is it gross?  Yes.  Is it annoying?  Double yes.  But is it a deal-breaker?  I had to laugh when a friend of mine, who just moved in with her boyfriend, wrote to me recently, “Oh, and get used to having the toilet seat left up (lol!).  I know many girls complain about it, but it really doesn’t bug me.  I think guys are just programmed to do it without even thinking.”  She got over this so-called deal-breaker, and so can you.  (Plus, this is one that can be fixed, given enough time.)  With the right person, even a simple, “Sweetie, it bothers me a little when you [insert annoying habit here],” might do the trick.

In the end, what’s most important is how someone treats you.  Is he or she kind, generous, and giving?  How about trustworthy and honest?  That’s what matters in life.  So, take your laundry list of deal-breakers and put it in the spin-cycle to disintegrate.  Think about the few things that really matter to you and stick to those.  Beyond that, throw caution to the wind, and date lots of people until you find that one who makes you happy, whether he leaves the toilet seat up or not.

Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she offers services from online dating profile-writing to e-mailing potential matches to planning dates. An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available. Want to connect with Erika? Join her newsletter for updates and tips.

Got burning questions you want answered in a future post? E-mail

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and Sixth & I are hiring!

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and Sixth & I hiring!   Take a look at the jobs below, and be sure to post/review other job descriptions on our JOB BOARD.


Sixth & I — Development Assistant


Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

Contact with questions about the below position.



Position          :           Birthright Israel NEXT DC Professional
Department   :           Financial Resource Development (FRD)
Reports To      :           Young Leadership Director
Date                :           February 2012


Organizational Vision, Mission and Function:
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is a non-profit philanthropic organization dedicated to creating a vibrant and purposeful Jewish community.  The Jewish Federation inspires, connects, educates and supports. The Federation’s primary functions are community planning and allocations, financial resource development, and leadership development.


Birthright Israel NEXT DC is dedicated to fostering an ongoing relationship among the more than 11,000 alumni in the Greater Washington area. Based on a vision to further Jewish causes and support for Israel, Birthright Israel NEXT DC allows participants and their peers to stay connected with one another, meet new friends, continue their Israel experience and explore what the Washington Jewish Community has to offer.


The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington coordinates Birthright Israel NEXT DC events and serves all alumni regardless of trip date and trip provider.


Position Overview:

A strategic team-player, the Birthright Israel NEXT DC Professional works with Birthright Israel alumni and their peers to engage their interests and help connect them to the DC-area Jewish community upon their return from Israel.


The NEXT DC Professional is responsible for overseeing strategic initiatives to engage these young adults in the work of The Jewish Federation and/or other organizations in the community where their interests lay. The Professional will be responsible for programming, volunteer management, leadership development, community engagement and recruitment.


Specific Responsibilities:

  • Outreach to young adults in their 20s and 30s
  • Organize Taglit-Birthright Israel Orientation for any post-college participant in the DC area
  • Staff the Taglit-Birthright Israel: DC Community Trips and begin making connections with participants from the DC community while in Israel to help foster their involvement and engagement upon their return
  • Cultivate personal relationships with alumni, mentoring them on Jewish communal life
  • Connect alumni to relevant local, regional and national activities to help cultivate their interests
  • Work with the local Alumni Advisory Committee
  • Foster existing partnerships with organizations in the community who cater to young adults, i.e. EntryPointDC of the Washington DCJCC and Sixth & I
  • Connect alumni and their peers to the work of The Jewish Federation in an effort to develop their philanthropic, volunteer and/or professional niche
  • Plan events to connect participants to each-other and the Jewish community
  • Follow up interviews and subsequent mini-reunions and events that tags onto already existing Federation and community events
  • Manage website and online communications.



  • Intimate knowledge of and passion for the Jewish community, its customs and practices
  • Experience in event coordination and planning
  • Experience with volunteer engagement
  • Deep and growing connections in the Greater Washington area across Jewish professional lines
  • A passion for engaging people
  • Exceptional organization and communication skills (both written and oral) with proficiency in English grammar and usage
  • Ability to develop relationships and work with a diverse population
  • Ability to work productively with minimal supervision
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks and short deadlines
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Outlook and Excel
  • Ability to work on a variety of projects simultaneously; seeming them from concept through execution


Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • 2-5 years of related experience


The state of GTJ at 100 weeks

Aaron sends me about 10 emails every day.  But one in particular caused me pause yesterday:  a copy of our very first Gather the Jews newsletter.

  • It didn’t have a full listing of Shabbat dinners.
  • It didn’t have original articles on the DC Jewish community.
  • It didn’t have a long list of awesome DC Jewish events.
  • And it didn’t have the picture of a new Jewish Guy and Girl of the Week.
We’ve come a long way in 100 weeks.  Since March 1, 2010, Gather the Jews has:
  • Grown our weekly newsletter from 75 subscribers to 2,700 subscribers.
  • Received 187,125 visits to our website.
  • Welcomed 96,894 unique visitors.
  • Amassed 469,535 page views.
  • Written 1,003 blog posts.
  • Featured over 75 Jewish guys.
  • Featured over 75 Jewish girls.
  • Hosted 9 public events for over 1,600 guests.
  • Promoted the events of over 60 different Jewish organizations.
  • Found jobs for over 15 community members.
  • Found boyfriends/girlfriends for over 10 community members.
In short, the state of the GTJ union is good.  And we plan to keep it that way.
So thanks for reading, and thanks for being part of a vibrant DC Jewish community.

If you wish to help Gather the Jews, please consider either:

  1. Writing us a letter telling us what we’re doing well, poorly, or what you might suggest.
  2. Consider joining the GTJ staff (meeting this Sunday). 
  3. Consider making a donation to GTJ. 
Again, thanks, and here’s to another 100 weeks of GTJ!
President, Co-Founder
Gather the Jews

Other GTJ resources

A New Reform Minyan Joins the DC Scene

DC has one of the largest young professional communities in the country, but unless someone is comfortable with traditional prayer servicesor being the youngest person in the congregation (besides the bar mitzvah boy), there isn’t much for this age group.  There are plenty of local minyanim that cater to Orthodox and Conservative Jews (DC Minyan, Adas Israel’s Shir Delight, Tikkun Leil Shabbat, 6th St. Minyan, Mesorah DC, Downtown Shabbat, just to name a few), but for the 76% of DC’s younger adults who identify as “Reform,” there are few age-appropriate options.

Yes, Sixth & I offers a 6th in the City service once a month featuring Rick Recht, Temple Micah organizes small Shabbat meals in people’s homes, and TLS hosts some minyanim with instruments, but Metro Minyan brings something much-needed and new to the DC Reform scene.

The Idea

Metro Minyan is Washington Hebrew Congregation’s avenue to provide DC’s young professional Jewish community with an informal, musical, come-as-you-are Shabbat experience. Once a month, Metro Minyan will get together for a Shabbat service and dinner in different places along DC’s Metro. The organizers originally envisioned thirty to forty young Jews coming together in small community settings. After running a pilot a few months ago at WHC, which drew over 60 people (despite participants needing a car to get here), they knew they were on to something. This past Friday confirmed that, big time.

The Launch

The first Metro Minyan drew over 140 people. The service was geared toward all Jewish backgrounds, using familiar melodies from niggunim to Jewish summer camp favorites with guitar to traditional Hebrew chanting. Following kiddush and motzi over challah, participants lined up for dinner and dessert provided by New Course Catering, a non-profit catering company that provides chronically unemployed people with restaurant and catering skills. The night ended with a rousing birchat ha’mazon, and people socialized for over an hour before getting back on the Metro to continue their night with friends.

“Metro Minyan was a great occasion to get together with friends and celebrate Shabbos,” said participant David Michaelson. “Rabbi Miller’s enthusiasm and excitement about Metro Minyan, particularly the huge turnout and exciting prospects, were contagious. It was also nice to bring the Jewish community to a
part of DC that does not usually host a congregation or services.”

The Future of Metro Minyan

The next Metro Minyan will take place on February 17.  Needless to say, the folks at WHC are getting excited.

“We never imagined Metro Minyan would generate so much enthusiasm so quickly,” said Rabbi Aaron Miller. “Now we are recalibrating how we might grow the model into something bigger without Metro Minyan becoming “too big.” Over time, we hope to train and empower the community’s 20’s and 30’s leadership to host and lead their own services. On months between our large gatherings, these service leaders will be able to lead Metro Minyanim in peoples’ homes and apartment buildings on each of DC’s Metro lines. This will not only foster a smaller, more intimate feeling, but encourage these lay leaders to invite their friends to support them as they help bring an ever-growing circle of participants into the Metro Minyan community.”

Help 2239 As They Help Tornado Victims

It feels like just yesterday when I stood on soil completely destroyed by the massive tornados that struck Birmingham, Alabama on April 27, 2011. Two weeks ago, over MLK holiday weekend a group of 22 young professionals were led by Washington Hebrew Congregation’s, Rabbi Aaron Miller and Stacey Black to rebuild houses with 2239’s new initiative called ARK (Acts of Religious Kindness). ARK is a program for 20s and 30s to embark on organized service trips all over the country and to do some local Tikkun Olam (Hebrew for “repairing the world”) in the DC area.

The Alabama tornado took the lives of 238 individuals just over nine months ago. Our group was stationed in Pratt City, Alabama in Jefferson County where nearly all houses are piles of rubble in what is now a suburban wasteland. Other than a few streets where new construction is beginning, the remainder of the area is  entirely desolate.

Development appears to be very slow. Numerous plots of land lie abandoned, waiting for a dumpster pick-up and for builders to purchase the valueless land. It costs around $80,000 to clear a damaged property, which is far more than the land is actually worth

We spent two days helping rebuild the home of Ms. Evelyn Lewis, which had devastating damage following the tornado. Rabbi Aaron Miller reflected on his experience, “ARK was life-changing, both for Evelyn Lewis, whose house we helped to rebuild, and for our 22 volunteers who flew down to Birmingham, AL to help. We roofed Evelyn’s house, gutted her kitchen, installed doors and windows, ventilated the attic, sanded, painted and completed countless other restoration projects. We helped to create a better world, and I think in the process we all became better Jews.”

As you can see from the below photos, the home is nearing completion and when rebuilt Ms. Evelyn Lewis will live with her son and three year old grandson. However, the floors in the house have sustained large amounts of water damage as a result of the storm. All work is being done by volunteer labors on a limited budget and they anticipate the repair of the floor to cost $2,500. Our group has committed to helping complete the house not just by offering our time, by committing to raise the funds needed to finish this final project.

Jennifer Nannes, the chair of Washington Hebrew Congregation’s group 2239 said, “In the true spirit of Tikkun Olam, this experience made us cognizant of the devastating damage that still exists in the Birmingham community. As a group, we pledged to raise money to fund further efforts to help rebuild their community.”

We launched a campaign to raise $2,500 to repair the floor. We need YOU to join us in helping ensure that her grandson can grow up in a safe home. A gift of $18 would make a world of difference in helping us hit our goal to complete the home.


To learn more about 2239 and see the events calendar, click here.

When Is It Ok To Be Happy? GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (week 26)

Maybe a little less sharing...

As we all know, dating is hard, so when you finally find someone who makes you happy, you want to shout it from the rooftop.  But if you have single friends who are still in the muck of it all, struggling to meet just one normal person (let alone “the one”), it’s hard to know how much of your excitement to reveal.  The reality of it is that while friends will love you and hope for your well-being, inevitably jealousy can occasionally rear its ugly head, and those friends who are supposed to love you unconditionally start acting distant.

I met Jeremy in December of 2009, and I had a vacation planned with some girlfriends for New Year’s Eve that year.  When we booked the trip, all of us were single, but by the time our cruise sailed off, I was the one with the boyfriend (yes – we had already DTR’ed it).  I was darn happy about it, but did I want to share my newfound happiness with three people who expected me to be single and ready to mingle?  And on top of it all, one friend had just ended a relationship with someone she thought could go the distance.  I kept my Jeremy-talk to a minimum, which was hard since that’s the last thing you want to do when you’re starting a new relationship.  You just want to yell, “I finally found him!”

When it comes to starting a new relationship, while all of your friends should be happy for you, it’s best to come up with some sort of selective sharing.  The people who will be most excited for you (besides your parents) are the ones who are in the same place you are – happy.  They say misery loves company, but so does happiness.  Tell your friend who just got the promotion that your new boyfriend sent you flowers.  Tell your other friend who just had her fourth date with a guy she really likes that your new guy said, “I love you” for the first time.  I’m not saying you can’t share your good news with your single friends, but be sensitive to the fact that while they are likely content enough on their own, you’ve gotten the brass ring, and they’re still riding the horse empty-handed.

Of course it’s okay to be happy, but just be aware that friendships are not always on pace with each other, and certain people may be better choices to share the cute little details of your new relationship.  And if all else fails, you can tell your friend who’s tried and true – your journal.

Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she offers services from online dating profile-writing to e-mailing potential matches to planning dates. An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available.  Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.

Star & Shamrock — A restaurant that unites my peoples! (redheads and Jews)*

All mediocre photography is the fault of Stephen I. Richer.

The number of meals I have at Jewish-themed restaurants is sometimes overwhelming (2 in the past 55 days…).

On November 30, 2011, I took my Canadian date to a sumptuous meal at DISTRIKT Bistro — DC’s newest kosher restaurant (see my review here).

Unfazed by this Jewish culinary outing, I lunched on Sunday at Star and Shamrock Tavern and Deli, 1341 H Street, NE.

I’ve been meaning to try Star and Shamrock for a long time.  It opened in early 2011, but my interest was really piqued when the Washington Post mentioned both Star and Shamrock and GTJ in this December article on young DC Jews.

Better late than never!


From the outside, Star and Shamrock could not be better.  A tavern-style sign bears a giant Star of David with an Irish clover in the middle.  If that doesn’t draw your attention, then the restaurant’s storefront title surely will:  “Star” — written in what looks like Irish characters — and “Shamrock” — written in what looks like Hebrew characters.  So great.

Almost by definition, the inside couldn’t be as good as the outside, but it was still pretty solid.  The restaurant features a Jewish-style deli and an Irish-style pub.  All of your favorite deli sandwiches are there: Corned beef, pastrami, beef brisket, liverwurst, etc.  Other Jewish staples also make appearances throughout the menu: Latkes, reubens, Hebrew National franks, Jewish rye bread, etc.  (see the menu here)

Lame as I am, I went with a tuna sandwich, but my date — a tall brunette (**) with an obsession for yogurt, tennis, and model rockets — was a bit more adventuresome and ordered the Latke Madness: “3 potato pancakes, hot corned beef, griddle sauerkraut, swiss.”

I finished my sandwich quickly in the hopes of trying a bit of the Latke Madness.  It worked.  I got to try it.  “And it was good.”  (Genesis 1:31)  My date, admittedly a picky eater, praised the food in less divine terms, but still gave it a thumbs up.


Beyond the deli sandwiches, Star and Shamrock is also a place to drink (drink menu), watch sports (lots of TVs), and socialize.  On Monday nights, S&S hosts a trivia night; Tuesday night is kids eat free night (defined by age, not maturity level… damn!); and Thursday night has live music (see full “Happenings” list).


You may not be able to see it, but trust me, it's a picture of a menorah on a mantel.

I would have liked a stronger Jewish theme to the restaurant.  As it is, Judaism is limited to the exterior, the menu, and the menorahs on the mantel.  Perhaps this is best for attracting the non-Jewish customer, but I was definitely disappointed when I got a “no” upon asking the waiter if I could answer Jewish trivia for a discount (I guess that’s the Mr. Yogato in me).   There’s also the fact that the restaurant is NOT kosher, which of course detracts from the Jewishness of the place, though I can hardly blame the owners given my own experience with the Kosher process.  (Speaking of kosher food… Maoz recently closed, so we’re back to just two NW kosher restaurants)

The other problem is the obvious one: location.  I can count the number of times I’ve been to NE on two hands, and most GTJ readers are similarly ensconced in NW.  I haven’t explored how to get around the metro limitation — I would imagine Mike Weinberg knows of a bus that goes to H Street, NE — so for now, the only times I’ll go to S&S are when I can bum a ride.

But overall, the restaurant is very solid and definitely worth checking out if you’re on H Street, NE.


Souvenir S&S t-shirts.

Our meal, with tip, wound up costing $30 — probably about average for a $10 sandwich shop.

In true Twenty First Century fashion, we split the bill.


To learn more about the restaurant and the owners Jewish/Irish background, see this Washington Post review.

I emailed the owner to get more information on the restaurant and to see if GTJ readers can have a discount, but I am impatient and didn’t want to wait to post this.  I will update the post when he replies.

(*) Though I am a redheaded Jew, I’m only 1/8 Irish, and the red hair probably doesn’t come from that side of the family…

(**) My date’s self-described hair color:  “A luxurious blend of mahogany and chestnut.”