Jews have an identity crisis. Are we a religion, or are we an ethnicity? There is textual support for both answers, and the easiest solution to this crisis is to say that we’re both. I think this solution ignores the real challenge. While in theory one could identify as equally ethnic and religious, I have […]
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
For most Jews, the two words “Yom Kippur” evoke two other words: fasting and synagogue. I decided to lead a Lunch-and-Learn outside of a synagogue to see what would happen. Everyone who came was fasting (at least at that point), and most had come from synagogue, so it wasn’t the counter-cultural group of rebels I […]
On one of my rabbi listservs there’s a long email chain about innovative high holiday programming for this year. There are many creative ideas, but I was struck by one not-so-creative common denominator: they are all taking place in a synagogue. To be fair, this is the time of year when many Jews, for whatever […]
“So, why did Gather the Jews hire a rabbi?” I’ve been asked this question at just about every coffee meeting I’ve had since starting this job. Of course, I’ve been asking myself the same question, and I don’t yet have the full answer. But in classic rabbinic fashion, I think the answer might begin with […]
On Tuesday night, at my debut event since becoming the rabbi for Gather the Jews, I just wanted to make a good first impression. And then I called everyone in the room a Bad Jew. Let me explain. I was asked to speak on a panel with Rabbi Aaron Miller of 2239 and Sarah Tasman […]
I should have anticipated it, but I’ve been doing a good amount of drinking since I started this job a week ago. I started off strong with the Gather the Jews Happy Hour last Thursday. Followed by Shabbat dinner with friends the following night. And then a bottle of wine with the Gather Team to […]