Entries by Aaron Potek

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 […]

Our Interfaith Relationship with America

The hardest part about being in a relationship is navigating differences. But those differences also give each relationship its dynamic, creative energy that ultimately sustains it. This past week, I was in Israel helping to lead a group of 18 couples on a program called Honeymoon Israel. Of each couple, at least one of the […]

Soul(less) Cycle

I hate to be the one to say it, but spinning is not a spiritual act. Feeling healthy, releasing endorphins, pushing yourself to the limits… all great things. It’s important to exercise and to feel good about your body, which Hillel the Elder says is made in the image of God (Leviticus Rabbah 34:3). But […]

An Unlikely Gratitude

Like many of you, regardless of which way you voted, I’ve been wondering what this recent election means for American Jews – not only regarding our future safety, but also regarding our sense of community and cohesion. Will the vastly differing reactions by American Jews to President-elect Trump further split us apart? Will Thanksgiving this […]

The Principle of Uncertainty

The results of the election last week were shocking; the polls did not prepare us. Like many of you, I’ve spent the past week reading countless articles trying to make sense of what happened. But I’m not only looking for political analysis, historical comparisons or discussions about the potential ramifications. I’m also searching for spiritual […]