Entries by Aaron Potek

State of Mourning

For many millennial DC Jews, an intersection of three extremely liberal subsets of the population (and around 95% of whom most likely voted for Hillary Clinton), now may feel like a time for shiva. Today we mourn the loss of the America we thought we lived in, the loss of the misplaced optimism that we […]

Our Religion is Political

Just days before the most contentious presidential election in our lifetime, it would be unwise for a DC rabbi like me to rant about anything political. I’d risk alienating people. I’d risk my organization’s tax-exempt status. And let’s be honest – the last thing anyone cares about is a rabbi’s thoughts on this election. In […]

Walk of Shame – Jewish Identity the Morning After

Besides being Halloween, this Monday night is also the beginning of the new Jewish month of Cheshvan, known as Mar Cheshvan (“bitter Cheshvan”) because of its lack of holidays. What an ironic juxtaposition of holidays – one is associated with sweet candy, the other is associated with bitterness. I for one will be honoring both […]

Community Gone Missing

The line I hear most when getting coffee with Jewish 20s and 30s around the city is: “I want to get more involved in the Jewish community.” Let’s set aside, for now, the disquieting reality that “the Jewish community” doesn’t exist. Our organization’s name, Gather the Jews, might fuel this misconception by implying that there […]

Jewish Guilt

Phew – that’s over. You checked off the “Did Something Jewish” box by fasting, going to synagogue, or at least teleworking from home as an homage to the big day. You thought about your Jewish identity and maybe felt a little Jewy, and that made some parent or grandparent proud. You even added another piece […]

Make Judaism Great, But NOT Again

A recurring joke in the current season of South Park involves “member berries” – drug-like fruits that help you forget about the present by literally reminding you of the good ole’ days. It’s a poke at Trump’s campaign slogan, Make America Great Again, which references a past that may have never existed or may not […]

Introducing “Rabbi Rant”

As we enter the Jewish new year, we at Gather the Jews have decided to launch a new feature in our newsletter. Each week I’ll share a (hopefully) provocative idea about being 20 and 30-something Jews in 21st century America. The easier choice, of course, is to keep my opinions to myself. Sharing my thoughts […]

Ways to Connect to Torah

Despite being one of the “big three” pilgrimage holidays, Shavuot is one of the least celebrated Jewish holidays among American Jews. This is probably because the unique “ritual” associated with it – staying up all night studying Torah – is often both inaccessible and impractical. But it also might reflect a deep ambivalence that American […]

Why Yom Hashoah Should Matter

Tonight is Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Day). Unlike International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is on January 27 (the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau) and was created by the United Nations in 2005, Yom Hashoah is on the 27th day of the Jewish month of Nissan (the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising) and was created by […]