Turn Passion Into Profit

Wish you could do what you love for a living? Well, maybe you can! Come to Sixth & I‘s upcoming event, Passion to Profit, to find out how. The event, which is co-sponsored by the Jewish Social Service Agency‘s Employment and Career Services, will feature a panel of young Jewish entrepreneurs discussing how they turned their creative ideas into successful businesses.

Speakers include Erika Ettin, GTJ’s dating columnist and founder of A Little Nudge, and Steve Davis, a former Jewish Guy of the Year finalist, GTJ advice columnist, and Mr. Yogato owner!

WHEN: 7:00 pm, Wednesday, October 17

WHERE:600 I Street NW

Admission is only $8 at the door or $6 if you buy tickets in advance.


Anti-Semitic Elmo Back Behind Bars – Gather the News – 9/25

We really, really like gathering…

  • Anti-Semitic Elmo, Adam Sandler (no relation to the Jewish comedian), was arrested again for an anti-Semitic rant in Central Park.


Latin Fiesta! – Rachel’s Weekly Update – 9/25

Hello all!

This past week had its ups and downs for me.  The week started with an up when I met with David P. from  Adas Israel (and the author of Adas Israel Renews!).  David is Adas Israel’s new Director of Communications so we chatted about how our mutually new jobs were going and how excited we both are to be working in the DC Jewish community.

Unfortunately, after that my week took a turn for the worse when I fell sick and completely lost my voice.  When I say completely, I mean completely: nada, zero, zip voice.  I managed to make it to MesorahDC’s Shabbat dinner at Sixth and I, but all I really wanted to do was sleep.  Luckily, some of my new friends were on hand to make me feel better.  Aaron W. gave me a get-well goody bag filled with cookies, cough drops, and a million different types of tea, and Rachel B. made me delicious homemade chicken soup.  I cannot thank either of them enough!

After resting for most of the weekend, my week picked up when I visited the Latin Festival with Rachel B. and Mike W. on Sunday.  The main feature of the festival was the parade in which participants showed pride in their heritage by performing traditional Latin dances in extravagant costumes.  I spent the rest of the day watching movies with friends and continuing to rest so that my voice could come back, which, I am happy to report, happened yesterday morning.  The only stain on my Sunday was finding out that the red panda cub at the National Zoo had died.  Sadly, half of all red pandas born in captivity die 🙁 .

Today and yesterday my focus has been on hydrating in preparation for Yom Kippur.  Even though I am dreading fasting, I am excited for Yom Kippur.  One of my best friends from Delaware, Adam R., is coming to spend the holiday with me.  If you see us at services, make sure to say hi!

Wishing you all an easy and meaningful fast,


The Three-Day Rule or the Three-Hour Rule? – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 50)

You go on a first date Tuesday night, and you think it went pretty well.  In fact, you’re sure it went pretty well.  I mean, why else would your prospective new lover constantly let his or her knee graze yours all night or share your drink as if you’d known each other for more than, oh, 45 minutes? You go home happy.  Wednesday morning comes and goes, and by Wednesday at around 3 PM, you think the potential new relationship is doomed.  It’s been 17.26 hours, and not even a measly text??

The advent of modern technology – texting, Gchat, and e-mail – has completely changed the “three-day rule” into more like a “three-hour rule.”  So many relationships end before they even start because no one knows the answer to the simple question: How soon do you follow up after a date?

A survey performed by the company LoveGeist was commissioned by Match.com last year, and it found that after a first date on a Saturday evening, most daters will get in touch by 11:48 AM on Monday with a call or text.  Thus, 1.52 days is now the average time spent waiting for a follow-up message.  The three-day rule is now cut in half!  (I don’t, however, recommend a first date on a Saturday night, especially a first online date.  A weeknight or Sunday evening date works well, and then if you want to see each other again, you can plan for the coveted Friday or Saturday night slot when you already know you have some chemistry.  Remember, sometimes it’s better to be a PSP than a DO.)

In this day and age, we are all basically surgically attached to our phones.  I know someone who texted from the hospital bed just minutes after she had a baby, and we all know someone (and that person likely stares at us in the mirror) who checks his or her e-mail every morning on the iPhone before even getting out of bed.  When it comes down to it, if you like someone, it’s so easy to get in touch.  If you wait the antiquated three days, it’s already a foregone conclusion that you’re probably just not that into the other person.

In most cases, if he’s interested, the man will contact the woman after the date to ask her out again.  But I do encourage the woman to send a “thank you text” the day after the date.  Why not remind your date of you the next day?  Assuming he also had a great time, it’ll put a smile on his face and give him the “nudge” he needs to know that you want to stay in contact with him.

The rules are simple: If you like someone and want to make plans for date #2, then make the contact in a timely fashion.  A short and sweet text, e-mail, or call will work.  And ladies, if he has the courtesy to ask you out again and you’re not interested, do the kind thing and thank him, using the honest answer that you didn’t feel a spark.  Ignoring it will only make a possible future encounter (remember – it’s a small world) that much more awkward.

And there we have it – the three-day rule debunked.  Somehow the “1.52-day rule” just doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.  Let’s call it the “36-hour rule” and be on our way.

Erika Ettin is, as the Washington Post has noted, a “modern day Cyrano.” She is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people with all aspects of online dating.  Check out her interview on NPR here. An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available.  Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.

Federation’s Reverse Mifgash – Bringing Israelis to DC

The incoming Reverse Mifgash delegation at an information session in Israel.

Eat better.  Go to the gym.  Call Saba and Savta more.  Donate to charity.

These are typical pledges made for New Year’s resolutions.  But what do people say when they make Jewish New Year resolutions?

It is that time of the year.  Pools are closing.  Leaves are starting to turn.  Sixth & I, Washington Hebrew, Adas Israel, and other shuls are filling up for the high holidays.  But it is also an atypical year.  The Nats have the best record in baseball.  RGIII has given a new hope to Redskins fans.  And Young Leadership of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is bringing Taglit-Birthright Israel to DC.  If your pledge for 5773 was is to get more involved in the Jewish community, reconnect with Israel, meet new friends, go out and have fun, fight anti-Semitism, or learn something new…then this program is for you.

The community is opening its arms and welcoming 12 Israelis for the Reverse Mifgash, which kicks off October 9 and will run for ten days.  As you could assume by the name of the event, the program complements Birthright Israel by bringing Israelis who have been on a Taglit-Birthright Israel: DC Community Trip* to the U.S. to reconnect with their busmates and meet hundreds more of DC, MD, and VA’s most fun and attractive Jewish young leaders.

And just as the community is opening its arms, twenty-four young professionals from the Greater Washington region are opening up their homes so our Israeli guests have a more authentic experience during their stay than at a hotel.  Hundreds more opened up their wallets to sponsor the program and collectively they raised over $26,000 through “friend-raising” (grassroots fundraising through personal networks).  And your calendar just got filled-up with tons of exciting educational, cultural, and social programs during these ten days — such as a Birthright Bar Mitzvah Bash that celebrates the program’s 13th year with a 90s themed party at the DCJCC featuring one of the DMV’s best cover bands.

“This is my fourth Reverse Mifgash,” said David Manchester, who serves as one of the program co-chairs.  “The host committee and I are extremely proud to make this program the biggest one in DC’s history and we hope to see you and your friends there next month,” he added.

The program is sponsored by The Jewish Federation and NEXT DC (the DC-area Birthright alumni network).  It brings American and Israeli Taglit-Birthright alumni together for a ten-day immersive experience in the Greater Washington area.  Programming, in addition to the DCJCC, will be held at The Kennedy Center, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, JCC of Greater Washington, and other locations.

Acting Gather The Jews Girl of the Year Ariana Heideman is excited.  “I love Israel, Israelis, and bridging that community with American Jewry,” says Ariana.  “This really is a unique opportunity to reconnect with their Israeli peers and show them with the same hospitality as when they were on Taglit,” continues Heideman.

To learn more about the Reverse Mifgash or to register for events visit:  www.ShalomDC.org/ReverseMifgash or contact sara.weiner@shalomdc.org.

*NOTE – Registration for the winter 2012-2013 Taglit-Birthright Israel: DC Community Trip is currently open.  Click here to learn more.

DC’s Young Professional Dilemma: RENT or BUY?

As a realtor, I get asked all the time about the state of the DC real estate market and my answer is always the same, “It’s strong…to quite strong” (shameless “Meet the Parents” reference).  DC home prices are up almost 11% since the bottom of the market in the summer of 2009 and up 6.5% in the last year alone.*  DC continues to be one of the best housing markets in the nation and a strong argument can be made for the role of young professionals in helping to drive up both the region’s rents and its home values.


Since 2000, young professionals have accounted for the majority of DC’s population growth (the number of 20- to 34-year-olds living in DC has increased 23%!).  Since young professionals are more transient and tend to prefer renting to buying, the influx of young professionals moving to DC has had a dramatic effect on rental rates.  DC’s rental vacancy rate is among the lowest in the nation and rental rates have increased almost 15% since 2010 and 10% in last twelve months alone.**  If any of you have engaged in hand-to-hand combat to rent a subterranean efficiency with six foot ceilings and rats for roommates then you know the drill.  While some experts expect rental rate increases to flatten out in the short term as new apartment units come online, others feel that the trend of rising rents will continue as the pent up demand of the Boomerang Generation (i.e. all those friends of yours that are living in their parent’s basements or in overcrowded group houses) will be unleashed as the economy continues to improve.


The combination of rising rental rates, historically low mortgage rates, and a housing market that is rebounding from recent lows has led many young professionals to leave renting behind in favor of entering the marketplace for a single family home or condo.  With first-time homebuyers traditionally comprising 40% of home sales, increased demand among this key demographic, coupled with tight housing inventory levels (current listings are at their lowest level since 2005), have contributed to the price appreciation that we continue to see in the DC housing market.  So that brings us to:


While most economic indicators point to “buy”, my unsatisfying answer is….it depends (I know, I know…way to go out on a limb, Dave).  According to a recent breakeven study by Zillow, buying in DC becomes a better financial alternative than renting after just 3.5 years. While this analysis is much more robust than most of the rent vs. buy calculators that litter the internet, it still relies on a variety of assumptions with regard to home price and rental appreciation that may or may not come to pass (my crystal ball is in the shop).  These calculators also focus strictly on the financial aspect of the rent vs. buy dilemma.  A calculator cannot capture the qualitative aspects of both renting and buying that, from my experience, drive the majority of purchase decisions.  Is the flexibility of renting more important to you than pride of ownership and setting down roots in a community?  Do you prefer to live somewhere where you can put that 50” flat screen on the wall you just painted the Redskins’ colors (I am officially on the RGIII bandwagon!) or is it more important to you to not have to worry about the costs of maintenance and upkeep?  Do you feel like renting is throwing money down the drain or do you feel that the money you would spend on a deposit would do more for you invested in that hot new tech IPO (not Groupon or Facebook, I hope)?  In the end, while the argument in favor of buying in DC is compelling, the decision to buy vs. rent is a highly personal one that depends on your financial situation, your future plans, and what is important to you about how and where you live.

*Zillow Home Value Index

**Zillow Rental Value Index

David Abramsa new GTJ contributing columnist, is a native of the Washington DC Metropolitan Area.  He received his M.B.A. from Emory University in 2009 and currently works as a realtor specializing in DC’s emerging neighborhoods with the BergerSandler+ team (www.bergersandlerplus.com) at Evers & Company Real Estate.  David is licensed in DC, MD, & VA.









Party Rock in the 5773 – Gather the News – 9/19

Shana tova! It’s a new year and a new Gather the News!
  • Every year, a rabbi, a cantor, and a small contingent of Jews travel from Israel to Egypt to ensure the last remaining synagogue, Eliyahu Hanavi, has a minyan, but this year they have been denied visas.  Hey Morsi, if Mubarak could ensure the safety of the Jews, why can’t you?
  • A super controversial video has been leaked of Romney giving his opinion on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and his doubt that there will ever be a viable two state solution.  What do you think? Tell us in the comments!
  • Is there soon to be a Matisyahu-Drake feud?  In a recent interview, Matisyahu claims that he is still more Jewish than Drake despite shaving his beard.  Sorry Matisyahu, I don’t think one person can be more Jewish than another, I’m gonna have to go Team Drake on this.
  • Our own Aaron Wolff has his article about Rosh Hashanah reflections and resolutions featured on the Washington Jewish Week! Mazel Tov, Aaron!
  • I know this music video is from last Rosh Hashanah, but the Jew fro and dance moves are just too good not to post.  Shana tova!






GTJ Advice from David (real estate)

David Abrams is a native of the Washington DC Metropolitan Area.  He received his M.B.A. from Emory University in 2009 and currently works as a realtor specializing in DC’s emerging neighborhoods with the BergerSandler+ team (www.bergersandlerplus.com) at Evers & Company Real Estate.  David is licensed in DC, MD, & VA.

Why David gives good advice: 
A large part of my business is catered to first time homebuyers so  I deal  with the challenges that this demographic faces in DC’s dynamic housing market on a daily basis.  I have also had first-hand experience renting, owning, and being a landlord in DC so I appreciate the benefits and the trade offs that are present in each housing situation.  Finally, and most importantly, I work with a great team at BergerSandler+ at Evers & Company.  With 50+ years of combined experience in DC area real estate, BergerSandler+ has a wealth of experience and local market expertise that GTJ’s readers are sure to benefit from.      

GTJ Advice from Steve on DC Life

Steve Davis’ life is best described as a steady output of poor decisions, occupational incompetence, and overall mediocrity. His one chance at glory occurred in the 2011 Jewish Guy of the Year competition. After seemingly blasting his way to victory, evil GTJ co-founder Stephen “Rishay” Richer added an “additional round” to the contest. Steve’s aversion to success re-emerged and he was soundly defeated in said “additional round.” Steve has still not recovered from this defeat.

Why Steve Gives Good Advice: Steve is the co-captain of a subpar dodgeball team (The Thundering Yogatos), the reigning ping pong champion at Nelly’s Sports Bar, the runner up in the 2010 Duffy’s Connect Four Championship, and a co-founder of Danny’s Heroes (a non-profit which has generated $43 in revenue).

[Editor’s note: Steve is an engineer at SpaceX. He is also the owner of Mr. Yogato. (Click here for video proof.) He finds self-deprecating humor disproportionately funny.]