New on the Jewish Scene – NOVA Tribe Series

Former Jewish Girl of the Week, Stacy Miller, talks to GTJ about her new organization for Jews in Northern Virginia: NOVA Tribe Series.

What inspired this new project?

When I went to Israel this summer on the Birthright Alumni Leadership mission I was asked to create a project to impact the community in some way. On one of the last days of the trip we visited the Negev region and the city of Dimona; I was inspired by the young adults we spoke with who decided not to move to the bigger cities like Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, but to a small city and create a vibrant young Jewish community. (For more information on the visit to the Negev, click here.) I thought if they could create change and motivate young leaders in an area with fewer resources than the DC metro area, I could do the same where I lived.

How is NOVA Tribe Series different then the 20 or so other DC metro area young professional groups?

Well first off we have series in our title, we want to create meaningful programs that cater to a variety of people. I like to call it Programs for a Purpose, many of our events will focus on giving back to the community, raising money for charity, and our marketing model uses the one-for-one philosophy. You can read about our seven signature programs on our website. NOVA is in the title because we want to engage young professionals in their 20s and 30s that live and work in Northern Virginia. In the next six months we hope to expand beyond just individual programs by having a “meeting of the minds” seminar that brings together Northern Virginia Jewish community leaders and the NOVA Tribe committee to create a concrete strategic outreach plan to engage young adults living in Northern Virginia as well as a leadership series for those young professionals looking to get more involved with the community.

So only Northern Virginia residents can attend events?

No, our programs are held in Northern Virginia so they are accessible for most people out in the suburbs, but we would love our DC/Maryland friends to cross the river and see what is out there beyond the city. We are working on the major issue for most — transportation — and hope to have a solution in place by summertime. In the meantime, most of our programs will be metro accessible.  I am happy to give rides and so are most of my committee members.

Heard one of your slogans is NOVA Tribe Series…It’s Worth the Schlep, where did that come from?

Northern Virginia sometimes gets a bad rap…. we are more spread out so we all have to schlep a bit to get places. You may have to hop in a car or stay on the metro an extra 15 minutes to find the best bars, restaurants, and concert venues but it’s definitely worth it, and so our are innovative programs.

So let’s hear about these innovative programs.

We learned how to make a sushi menorah during our 2nd event:

And I think a good way to spend Friday night is a Shabbat meal with a small group of people + a murder murder mystery party. Not sure what I am talking about? Learn  more and register for our 80’s murder mystery Shabbat on January 20th by clicking here.    (Editor’s Note:  This sounds so cool!)

I’ve listed some of our other upcoming events at the bottom.

Any events you would like Gather the Jews to join?

Actually, I had a great time at Most Eligible DC and thought a good way to extend the success of that event would be joining us for our Have a Heart Speed Dating: Party for a Purpose on February 9th. Most people are looking for a date for Valentine’s day and some shy away from speed dating because it can be expensive, so I thought why not host a cheaper version and raise some money for charity at the same time. Everyone that attends will get to choose where their money goes and go on a series of dates in one night.

So now we need to know…..Top 3 “hidden” places we should schlep to in Northern Virginia:

1. I would say a great place to check out live music is Jammin Java, a bar/coffee house with open mic nights and a good line-up of bands (I saw my Jewish actor crush Bryan Greenberg play here a few years ago) and Wolf Trap is an outdoor venue that lets you chill on the lawn and bring your own food/drinks.  (Editor’s note:  You named 2 in 1 point.  That’s cheating!)

2. I am not usually a fan of chain restaurants, there are a ton in Northern Virginia…but one that does it right is the Great American Restaurant Group. My DC friends are always impressed when I take them and I can’t stop eating the bread at their seafood inspired restaurant Costal Flatts. Each restaurant has a different theme and type of cuisine which makes it unique.

3. Not really hidden, but I would say a good date place or if you want to try out new area with shops, ice-skating, movies, bars etc. is Reston Town Center. I have been going there since I was a kid and it’s crazy to see how much it has grown into its own little city.


Other upcoming NOVA Tribe Series events:

  • 1/10 Profile Perfection & Pizza: Online Dating Secrets and Q&A
    Mingle: 5:30-7PM      Speakers: 7PM
    40 million Americans use online dating and there are over 1,400 dating sites in the U.S….. so whether you are confused by clicking, winking or just want to find out why your main profile pic is not worth a thousand words, join us for pizza/drinks,mingling, and learn how to navigate the world of online dating from Erika Ettin, founder of A Little Nudge, an online dating coaching service and Abby Robinson, author of the Secrets of Shiksa Appeal.
    To register, click here.
    Location: Fireworks Pizza —Courthouse
  • 1/12  NOVA Tribe/Jnet Bonding Over Brews: Beer Tasting Happy Hour
    We will be joining Jnet, the Jewish social network for young adults age 21-35 based out of the JCC Northern Virginia, for a beer tasting happy hour at Madfox Brewery. Click here for more information.
    Location: Madfox Brewery — Falls Church
  • 1/31 Trivia Night Fundraiser
    Jew or not a Jew, video clips, and name that song are just some of the rounds for our night of trivia…come out for prizes, drink specials, and the opportunity to buy our “Schlep” bag (for example, something like this), where every bag sold equals our donation of a bag of books to kids in need.
    Location: Hard Times Cafe — Clarendon



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