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 […]
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
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 […]
I got trolled last week. I’m not sharing this news because I want your pity. (If anything, I’m bragging about it – if you’re getting trolled you must be doing something right.) I’m sharing this because it led me to an important realization. The troll was reacting to a story I told about six months […]
I remember the biggest temper tantrum I ever had. I was about 5 years old at a baseball game at Wrigley Field. In front of me was a lady with a big bag of peanut M&Ms, and I wanted to ask her if I could have a few. My parents said I couldn’t, and when […]
You don’t have to look very hard to find an excuse for not wanting to connect Jewishly. Many of us can find one by simply thinking back to childhood: -You hated Hebrew school. -Synagogue was boring. -Your Hillel was too religious. -A rabbi once said something offensive or hurtful. -Being Jewish made you feel like […]
Today is Yom Hazikaron, the memorial day for Israel’s fallen soldiers. Its scope has evolved and expanded since it was passed into Israeli law in 1963. In 1980, it was expanded to include Jewish fighters killed in pre-State battles. In 1998, the commemoration was expanded to include Israeli victims of terror. Beginning 12 years ago, some […]
If you haven’t listened to the S-Town podcast yet, you should.
Not only because everybody else is doing it (though that does seem to be the case – it’s the fastest podcast to ever reach 15 million downloads or streams on Apple Podcasts). And not necessarily because it’s the greatest podcast of all time. (I think it’s a great piece of storytelling through journalism, but it’s neither revolutionary nor profound.)
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 […]
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 […]