Entries by Aaron Potek

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 […]

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 […]