Entries by Aaron Potek

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 […]

New People, Mini Groups

Want to meet other interesting Jews in a smaller, more personal setting? Looking to explore questions that matter to Jewish 20s and 30s? Like drinking? Afraid of commitment? Gather the Jews is excited to open applications for the newest cohort (#3!) of Mini–Gatherings, taking place this April. What is Mini–Gatherings, you ask? It is a 3-week-long mini-fellowship […]

If Traditional Shabbat Just Isn’t Your Thing…

If a more formal Shabbat experience or service just isn’t your thing but you still want to do something to mark the day, here are some ideas to get you started… 5 alternative approaches to doing Shabbat: 1) Mark the day. The name for each day of the week in Judaism is in relation to […]

3 Musicians and a Rabbi Have a Chat

I knew my conversation with the three members of Zusha (Elisha, Shlomo, and Zacharia) was going to be unique from the moment we began our skype call, and not just because I was a rabbi interviewing a group that specializes in Hasidic Soul. There they were – Zacharia strumming on a guitar, Elisha strutting across […]