Welcome to Jspace!

Jspace is set to launch in DC on Thursday night.  If you want to celebrate with them, join them at Policy Bar at 8:00 PM.   Here’s a transcript of a brief exchange I had with Meara R — of Jspace — about what Jspace is.

 

SR: What is Jspace?
MR:  Jspace.com is the one-stop shop for all your Jewish needs. Members enjoy the best of Jewish news, events, organizations and free dating all on one website. Connect with your local synagogues, kosher restaurants, and Jewish organizations, or just share the latest Bar Refaeli gossip with a friend. Log In To the Jewish World today at Jspace.com and start connecting.

SR: When did it launch?
MR:  We launched in November at the JFNA General Assembly in Denver and already have over 10,000 users and 180 organizations using the site.

SR: Who started it?
MR:  Jspace was started by two Israeli best friends who wanted to be better plugged into the Jewish community, but found there was not a single source for all things Jewish.

SR: What cities have you had “launch parties” in previously?
MR:  NY and Tel Aviv already experienced Jspace events. Soon LA, Miami, Boston, and Denver will all join the Jspace community.

SR:  Why DC?
MR:  Of course DC would be one of our first stops on our launch tour. We’re excited to be involved with the large active Jewish community, strong local organizations and the key DC Jewish ‘machers’ like Ariana Heidemen (Recently crowned Jewish Girl of the Year).

 

 

 

News of Week (Jewish Style) — 5/30 — Jewish women are hot

Last week we announced the return of GTJ’s news of the week.  And it’s a good thing we did because there’s a lot of fun stories that I would have missed otherwise.  Number 1 gave me an excuse to look at lots of pictures of hot girls on my work computer.  Number 5 took me to the impressive new website of the Jewish Policy Center for what was, embarrassingly, my first time.   If you have Jewish news that you’d like to share with the community, email me a link at Stephen@gatherdc.org 
  1. Jews claim spots 1, 3, 14, and 17 on Maxim’s Hot 100. (Jewish Journal.com)
  2. Mein Kampf goes back to German Schools (TC Jewfolk)
  3. Riots in Tel Aviv (h/t Moment Magazine) (New York Times)
  4. New Jersey woman fired by Orthodox Jews for being “too hot”? (h/t Moment Magazine) (Gawker)
  5. U.S. Committee to Increase Iron Dome Funding (Jewish Policy Center)
  6. The glass ceiling for Jewish women in Jewish organizations (Washington Jewish Week)
  7. Female reporter cross dresses to get into the all male anti-Internet gathering of 40,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews. (Jewlicious)
  8. A Comprehensive Guide For Ladies:  How to avoid schmucks in Israel (Jewlicious)
  9. Oh heck, I’ll thrown my most recent Jewish article in here — “Republican Anti-Gay Marriage Stance Alienates Jewish Voters.” (PolicyMic)

 

Bar Refaeli.  Named Maxim’s hottest woman.  Jewish.

Born in Hod HaSharon, Israel.  1985.

Help a Lone Soldier — Tonight!

Ricki B. M.

One of the perks of Gather the Jews is that I get to force really cool people to have G-chat conversations with me during the day.  One such really cool person is former Jewish Girl of the Week Ricki B. M. (RBM).  Ricki is hosting a party/happy hour TONIGHT to promote her newest Jewish endeavor: The Lone Soldier Project.  Hope to see you there.

SR:  What is the Lone Soldier Project?
RBM:  The Lone Soldier Project serves as the voice of the 5,700 young men and women from around the world who leave their homes and families to serve as Lone Soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces each year.  The goal of the LSP is to spread awareness of Lone Soldiers – who they are, what they do, and how we can support – to already existing groups, organizations, and communities.  The Lone Soldier Project works in partnership with The Lone Soldier Center, an organization in Jerusalem that provides on-the-ground support for soldiers – in addition to mentors, furniture, Shabbat and holiday meals, and a physical presence of encouragement at milestone ceremonies in each soldier’s course of duty.

SR:  Forgive me.  I’m kinda slow.  To clarify, the ‘Lone Soldiers’ aren’t soldiers necessarily without families, but without families living in Israel?
RBM:  Yep.  Their immediate families are not on the ground with them in Israel.

SR:  How did you get the project started?
RBM:  The preliminary idea to help Lone Soldiers began as an impact project from the 2011 DC Birthright Alumni Leadership Mission.  While in Israel, we had Shabbat lunch with Lone Soldiers and asked them about their experiences serving in the army without having their family on the ground with them in Israel.  Many soldiers said their friends became family.  However, one soldier said that he really noticed the absence of his family during package delivery when his Israeli peers often received packages of items they desperately needed on the front lines and he most often did not.  The conversation presented not only the needs of Lone Soldiers who voluntarily join the army to defend Israel, but also the ability we have to support them from afar.

SR:  What item have you sent that has been a big hit?
RBM:   Helmet flashlights.  We have received tremendously positive feedback and appreciation from Lone Soldiers and want to get more helmet flashlights to them as soon as we can!

SR:  You have a happy hour tonight at 6:30 pm at Tabaq Bistro (1336 U Street).   Sell me on it.  Pretend I’m popular and have lots of other social options.  What will be especially fun about your event?
RBM:   Entry is free and there will be happy hour specials all night. Most importantly, there will be opportunities to write notes of support to and sign posters for Lone Soldiers currently serving in Israel.

SR:  Will one Sarah Arenstein be there?
RBM:  You’ll have to come to find out!

 

 

 

Walnut-Lentil Veggie Burger

Grilling season is upon us!  For those who keep kosher, the easy solution is to go for the burger and skip the cheese, or whatever other dairy happens to be around.  But what if you really want ice cream on a hot day, or you want cheese on your burger?  The varieties of (and recipes for) veggie burgers are endless, but I figured I’d throw mine into the mix.  Homemade is definitely better than the prepackaged kind.  This one has a spicy-smoky barbeque flavor that will work well with a variety of toppings—including cheese!

Total time: 10 min., plus cooking time for the lentils and bulgur

Yield: 4-6 patties

Level: Easy

Recipe

© Courtney Weiner.  All Rights Reserved.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup cooked red lentils
  • ¾ cup cooked bulgur
  • ¾ cup toasted chopped walnuts
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse several times.  Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and pulse a few more times until ingredients are combined.  Shape the mixture into patties and cook in a pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes per side.

Girl of the Week – Rachel

You interned for Gabrielle Giffords during college. Tell us about this experience.
While in many ways working for Gabby was the typical intern experience, answering phone calls and recording comments from constituents, there is something special about her office. Congresswoman Giffords and her staff have a genuine concern for their constituents, and work long hours to ensure the citizens of Southern Arizona are satisfied with their local government. It takes an incredibly selfless individual to dedicate their career to serving the public. The time I spent in her office had a huge impact on my decision to get my Master’s in Public Administration. I feel honored to have worked for such a self-sacrificing, caring, and hard-working individual, and can only hope to make a fraction of the impact she has made in the public sector.

You’ve spent time on both coasts. Do you have a preference?
The weather in California is fantastic and I will definitely miss that, but it’s the people I’ve met during my seven months in DC that makes the east coast my preference. I think it goes without saying that the people who live here have the most interesting jobs in the world. I suppose that makes me a bit of a traitor, considering I spent the majority of my twenty-four years (from age 9 to 23) on the west coast. I was born on the east coast, so moving to DC has felt like a homecoming of sorts for me.

You attend a CrossFit gym. Explain.
CrossFit is all about functional fitness. Everything we do has real-life applicability, the movements provide you with the strength and knowledge to lift things off the ground or push things overhead without injuring yourself. Beyond that, the community is fantastic. It’s great to go the gym and chat with your friends before a workout, and the competitive aspect pushes you to work harder than you might otherwise if you were working out on your own. Although I’m relatively new to CrossFit, it’s become a huge part of my life and I can’t imagine working out any other way.

You recently took the NeXus leadership class. What made you decide to participate?

Being new to DC, I wanted to find a way to better connect to the Jewish community and meet like minded peers. I’ve completed the program now and have met some amazing people that have reinforced how important it is to maintain a relationship with my Jewish roots.

You recently had a birthday. How did you celebrate?
For me, birthdays are all about spending time with the people closest to you. I went to dinner with friends at Ardeo/Bardeo in Cleveland Park, which is a fantastic restaurant, I highly recommend it. Afterwards, I had some friends over at my apartment before heading out to Rumors in Dupont Circle. It’s not for everyone, but I love that place because it’s so similar to the bars in Tucson, Arizona, where I went to college.

To contact Rachel, email info@gatherdc.org.

Guy of the Week – Ross

We heard you moved from Baltimore to DC a year ago. Why is DC better than Baltimore?
Baltimore was a lot of fun, but it was too small. DC has lots of options, but I live in VA, which is even better than DC.

Really? Why is Virginia better?
Because the grass is greener on the other side of the river…

Why did you move to VA?
I actually moved to VA because it is close to my job.

A Jew with a job, you sound like a good catch…what do you do for work?
The projects that I work on save lives…I work for the gov’t so I cannot tell you too much more. 😉

Who did you root for in the Superbowl?
Giants, because I despise Tom Brady and the Patriots.

Would you ever root for the Boston Red Sox?
I would only root for the Red Sox if the Yankees were in first place AND the Red Sox were playing the Phillis.

What religious leader had the biggest impact on your Jewish growth, and why?
Rabbi Sneiderman, we had the coolest trip to Israel! Shout out to AEPi.

You got an MBA right after undergrad…was it worth it?
Totally worth it, I was in college for seven years.

Some people think engineers are lame and boring, is that true?
Although I have been known to use a Gantt chart to plan my weekends…I actually do go out with friends and love exploring the DC/VA area.  And yes, I have derived a formula that proves that VA is still way cooler than DC…

To contact Ross, email info@gatherdc.org.

ADL YP Division Parties for a Good Cause

Organizers and Host Committee

Last month, the Anti-Defamation League Young Professionals Division threw its First Annual Spring Soiree fundraiser.

In mid-April, nearly 300 guests filled The Rosebar at Current Sushi & Lounge to raise money and show support for the well-known Jewish organization.  The Saturday evening event featured sushi, sake, dancing, and a silent raffle and the energy in the combined indoor and outdoor space was electric.  The crowd enjoyed music by DJ Mike, ample sushi & dessert, and the signature drink of the evening –The ‘No-Haterade’.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of four top ADL leaders serving as event co-chairs, and a 16-member Host Committee, the Spring Soiree raised significant funds for the Anti-Defamation League and attracted a large number of young professionals who were attending an ADL event for the first time.

Stay tuned for an even bigger and better second annual spring event in 2013 and, of course, many local ADL events before that (e.g. the ADL Annual Concert Against Hate)! To find out how you can get involved before that, contact Sophie Dornstreich, the Associate Director, at SDornstreich@adl.org.

News of the Week (Jewish Style)

Y-Love at a GTJ event with GTJ staffer Tila. Y-Love recently publicly declared that he is gay. Mazal tov.

Remember when we used to update you on the week’s most interesting/important Jewish stories?  Scott W. did it first.  Then Candace M. took over.  Then we dropped it for a while.

But now we’re back. From outer space…  (in case you need to hear the song now)

So if you have a link or news that you want to share with the Jewish community, please email it to me (stephen@gatherdc.org)

Also, we’re going to “steal” a bunch of our stuff from the wonderful people at Moment Magazine who send out a thrice-weekly email with Jewish updates.  Check out Moment Magazine’s website to learn more about the country’s largest independent Jewish magazine.

 

 

Lazar’s acceptance speech

To the GTJ Community,

I am humbled by this honor, and pleased to share it with someone as accomplished and worthy as Ariana.  Also, I’m somewhat surprised, since I haven’t won anything since the 1989 Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby in Stoughton, MA. (Well, I came in third place out of three contestants, but I got a trophy.)

Gather the Jews provides such a  unique and precious service to the DC Jewish community. In a time where young Jews cluster into communities based upon their religious observance, GTJ offers a fun atmosphere for young Jewish professionals to create a community across the religious spectrum. It’s Jews who enjoy socializing and spending time with other Jews, and it’s a model that I hope will be replicated across the country.

I have tried to shape my own involvement in the Jewish community in a similar fashion. I work with Jewish college students at GW and college students of all faiths at Georgetown; I serve on the board at the warm and inviting Kesher Israel synagogue; and I seek to set the record straight on Israel in the public sphere.

Even with all the wonderful work GTJ and other Jewish groups do, our community will fail to live up to its true calling if we forget some of our core Jewish principles about relations between man and his fellow, all of whom are created in the image of God:

  •  “The world is built on kindness.” (Psalms 89:3)
  • Greet everybody with a warm, cheerful, and pleasant countenance.” (Pirkei Avot 1:15)
  • “You…shall not bear a grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18)

Again, thank you for this honor, and I wish all of you a wonderful Shavuot holiday, as we celebrate receiving the gift of the Torah and its timeless and beautiful message.

Best wishes, and chag sameach,

Lazar

Lazar’s original Jewish Guy of the Week profile 

Lazar’s finalist video