Fun fact: Today is the Jewish holiday of Tu b’Shvat (literally – the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat), the new year for the trees. In terms of popularity, Tu b’Shvat is a bit of a “late-bloomer.” While today it has become a type of Jewish Arbor Day / Earth Day, it’s never […]
About Aaron Potek
Reb Aaron, our Rabbi in residence at GatherDC, loves to help people find new ways to think about Jewish identity, understand themselves, and process the world around them. There are many ways to be Jewish, and he wants to help you find a path that works for you. (Read some of his thoughts on this very topic here.)
He spends most of his time outside of the GatherDC office, meeting with people in coffee shops and bars to have relaxed, meaningful discussions about what it means for someone to be Jewish in their 20’s and 30’s.
When Reb Aaron isn’t meeting with community members, hosting a Mini Gathering, or leading GatherDC’s Beyond the Tent experience, he’s making people laugh at an improv show, or being active on the tennis court or hiking trail.
Entries by Aaron Potek
As the great poet Kanye West once pondered: “And the weather so breezy; man, why can’t life always be this easy?” Life is hard, and it seems to get harder the older we get. Like all great minds, Yeezy simply gives expression to our deepest desires. It’s no wonder, then, that some people have often […]
Sukkot, which began last Wednesday night (10/4), is a serious contender for “most obscure holiday.” It is best known for the temporary huts (in Hebrew, sukkot) that traditional Jews eat in and even sleep in during the holiday. Sukkot also involves the daily shaking of a palm frond, a citron, myrtle, and willow, aka the […]
I don’t watch nearly enough TV to know for sure, but it’s hard to imagine there’s a better pair of friends on-screen right now than Broad City’s Ilana and Abbi. So with the new season starting tonight (9/13), and with the High Holidays just a week away, I figured it’s a good time to address […]
Two years ago, I wrote about how American Jews tend to overemphasize fasting and synagogue on Yom Kippur – tools that help some people connect to the purpose of the day but for many others have the opposite effect. Often, fasting and formal prayer end up being a distraction. X number of hours until the […]
Warning: this article includes spoilers, plot points and lines of dialogue from Game of Thrones episodes, through the most recent one on August 20th. But, like, you should be caught up by now. While there are a few articles that highlight the Jewish trivia related to Game of Thrones (example: its two creators are both […]
There’s no debate – Fiddler on the Roof is part of the Jewish American canon. It’s given us a classic story, many popular songs and two dance moves that aren’t the Hora – the Bottle Dance and the Tevye Shimmy. But it’s also given us a terrible metaphor for Judaism. “A fiddler on the roof […]
Do you consider “Jewish values” to be a core part of your Jewish identity? If so, try this fun activity in six easy steps! Warning: may bring about existential crisis. Step 1: Write down a list of your “Jewish values.” Yes, actually spell out what they are, instead of letting “Jewish values” be a catchall […]
Once again, American Jews are at the center of a conversation about intersectionality. For those less familiar: intersectionality, as described by Nathan Heller, is “a theory, originating in black feminism, that sees identity-based oppression operating in crosshatching ways. Encountering sexism as a white, Ivy-educated, middle-class woman in a law office, for example, calls for different […]
The conversation in the Jewish community around intermarriage is extremely polarized and seriously lacking nuance. One side wonders, “How are we still talking about this?” To them, the idea of telling someone to only marry Jewish is antiquated and even racist. The other side thinks, “Those who are intermarried have rejected Judaism and are actively […]