Entries by Aaron Potek

Rabbi Rant: The Power of Listening

Maybe I don’t know how to relax. While most people choose to spend their vacations on a beach, last week I spent my vacation in the West Bank. Through an organization called Encounter, I was there facilitating a group of American Jewish leaders who came to learn about Palestinian narratives. Encounter is non-partisan and has […]

Rabbi Rant: What Do You Worship?

It’s easy to dismiss the famous story in this week’s Torah portion of the Israelites making and worshipping the Golden Calf. I mean, do you or anyone you know really struggle with the temptation of bowing down to a statue? This story may have been relevant thousands of years ago, when people worshipped idols, but […]

Happy Purim!

Confused? Good. This was a joke in honor of the holiday of Purim, which begins this Saturday evening, March 11th. Purim is known as the day we eat triangle shaped cookies (hamentashen) and read the story of Esther in the megillah out loud. It’s also known as a day we turn everything upside down by […]

Rabbi Rave: Happy Hours

I love happy hours. I know there are so many of them here in DC, but not enough, if you ask me. Honestly, I wish every hour of the day was a happy hour. Think about how many people I could talk to about my job and where I’m from. And so many opportunities to […]

Is This Weed Kosher?

Last evening, about thirty alumni of select GatherDC experiences convened at the Takoma Wellness Center – a medical marijuana dispensary owned and run by a rabbi, Jeff Kahn. It is one of only 5 dispensaries in the District, and the only dispensary in the country run by a rabbi.

Embracing Loneliness

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day – a time to appreciate a partner if you have one, or a time to feel lonely if you don’t. Feeling lonely is, ironically, something we’ve all experienced, if not this Valentine’s Day then at some point in our lives. It’s a hard feeling to sit with – in fact, the […]

Reflections on Giving Circle

Where and how we give reflects who we are and what we value. This is true for every individual, but it’s also true for communities. Just over a month ago, GatherDC finished its first ever “Gather Giving Circle,” which brought together seven Jewish 20s and 30s to discuss Jewish perspectives on giving and to decide […]

Rabbi Rant: Moving Past the Past

When I say “Jewish History,” what’s the first word that comes to mind? I asked this question at Gather’s Beyond the Tent Retreat last weekend. Not surprisingly, the most recurring responses were “Holocaust,” “sad,” “oppression” and “depressing.” I half-joked that this makes Judaism sound like a tough sell for those on the fence about getting […]

Time to Leave La La Land

I remember a teacher once said to me: “Want to know what you really value? Check your internet browser history.” I don’t think that’s the best way to understand yourself (most of my time is not spent on my computer), but our online activity certainly reflects a part of who we are – sometimes a […]