This past Sunday we welcomed the Jewish month of Elul, which means Rosh Hashana is less than a month away. Traditional Jews have the practice of blowing the shofar each morning during this month as a wakeup call, reminding us daily to reflect and return to our truest self. (And yes, reminding us that we […]
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
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 […]
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 […]
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 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 […]
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 […]
I love when worlds, or in this case universes, collide. Steve Harvey’s Miss Universe mix-up this week strangely parallels another timely mix-up – from this week’s Torah reading. As the book of Genesis comes to a close, Joseph brings his two sons to their grandfather Jacob (renamed Israel) to be blessed. Joseph’s assumption, the assumption […]
Aziz Ansari’s new Netflix series, Master of None, was released on November 6, just a few weeks before Thanksgiving. And even though most of us finished the entire season by November 7, the timing helps highlight the connection between an overarching theme of the show and the upcoming holiday. A lot of attention has been […]
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 […]
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 […]