Pondering Wandering

Sukkot, which began last Wednesday night (10/4), is a serious contender for “most obscure holiday.” It is best known for the temporary huts (in Hebrew, sukkot) that traditional Jews eat in and even sleep in during the holiday. Sukkot also involves the daily shaking of a palm frond, a citron, myrtle, and willow, aka the four species (see: Leviticus 23:40).

This holiday can feel inaccessible to many, both practically (it’s hard to find a place to build a hut when living in a city like DC) and intellectually (it’s hard to connect to seemingly arbitrary rituals).

But the central purpose of the holiday is far from obscure. As the Torah explicitly explains: “You shall dwell in sukkot seven days; every citizen of Israel shall dwell in sukkot; that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in sukkot, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt.” (Leviticus 23:42-43).

Sukkot, then, is a holiday where we remember our wandering. Interestingly, this is a holiday we are told to observe “for all time, throughout the ages.” (Leviticus 23:41). Even when we are no longer wandering – or perhaps, especially when we are no longer wandering – we disrupt our lives for one week each year and force ourselves to relive our past, collective wandering.

Growth rarely happens from a place of comfort and stability. The act of wandering helps us step outside of what we know and lets in the possibility of surprise and discovery. When we leave the familiar, we learn about ourselves, about others, and about the world. Intuitively we know this – it’s why so many of us love to travel.

Sukkot takes this idea one step further. Vacationing in hotels or hostels is also a break from routine. But Sukkot, unlike most vacations, pushes us outside of our comfort zone by pushing us, literally, outside. The nature of a hut is, well, that it’s in nature.

The wilderness facilitates spiritual exploration. There are so many stories in the Torah of divine encounters in nature: Abraham arrived at monotheism while looking at the sky, Isaac prayed to God in a field, and Jacob and Moses both first encountered God while alone on a mountaintop. The Torah itself was given in the desert.

Being in nature doesn’t answer all of life’s questions, but it helps us more easily confront them. During Sukkot, and in life, wandering isn’t only a physical state – it’s also a mindset; the more we can cultivate this mindset, the more we will grow.

If you are looking to get out of DC for a weekend and are open to learning about different Jewish perspectives on spirituality, you can apply to our Jewish Spirituality Camping Weekend here. While Sukkot will have ended by then, hopefully we will still be carrying the feeling of wandering with us as we navigate the uncertainty that lies ahead.


The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Spotted in Jewish DC – One Eight Distilling

Whiskey lovers rejoice!

Recently #SpottedinJewishDC is one of the finest whiskey, vodka, and gin distilleries around – One Eight Distilling. Pour yourself a tall gin and tonic (or favorite drink of your choosing) and enjoy this 1:1 interview with One Eight’s co-founder, Alex Laufer, who left a thriving career in biotechnology to open the distillery.

Allie: When you were growing up, what did you dream you’d do as an adult?20161103_OneEight5887.jpg

Alex: From an early age I loved exploring nature (mucking about a salt marsh, checking out the creepy crawlies under a log in the forest, collecting shells), and dreamed I’d be a biologist when I grew up.

Allie: What is your favorite drink? Do you get to be a “taste-tester” for One Eight?

Alex: Very hard to pick one favorite drink. I enjoy many spirits, cocktails, beers, wines, ciders, etc. For cocktails, I tend to enjoy those that are balanced, yet are boozy, and often have bitter elements; such as a Negroni, Old-Fashioned, or Martini. All of the core staff members at One Eight are taste-testers. Whether we are making the “cuts” on the still run itself, tasting barrel pulls for blends and finishes, proof samples, or creative cocktails, the diversity of pallets and opinions leads to a better final product.

Pepsi & Alex Handshake_Lands End Farm_Sandi Moynihan.jpgAllie:  How did you come up with the idea to open One Eight Distilling? And also, where does the name come from?

Alex: One Eight’s co-founder, Sandy Wood, had the inspiration to open the distillery. It had come from discussions with another friend, a nagging desire to create a business, and early visits to other distilleries in the region. Sandy wrote a lengthy proposal email to me, asking me to partner with him and come on board as Head Distiller. After discussions with my family I agreed, and we dove in!

The name was also Sandy’s inspiration; as an attorney by training, he is familiar with our Constitution.  One Eight refers to Article One, Section 8, which- amongst several provisions-calls for the formation of the Nation’s capital. For us, One Eight demonstrates our pride to be crafting spirits here in Washington DC. I also love that One Eight could read as 18 or Chai (life in Hebrew).

1F6A8063.jpgAllie: Tell us the best – and most challenging – part of running your own distillery?

Alex: Crafting our spirits is my favorite part of the business. Many aspects of this part of the job are physically demanding and can become routine, but it is extremely satisfying when we have bottled 300 cases or filled 10 new barrels with whiskey for the future.

I also enjoy sharing our work with others, from giving a tasting at a local liquor store, or making cocktails with our spirits for friends and family at home.

Allie: Any new products coming out this year that you’re particularly excited about?

Alex: We released our Rock Creek Bourbon in September, and have been floored by the amazing reception it has been receiving. Our next release will be a collection of four beer-projects we have been working on for some time. For three of the spirits, we collaborated with local breweries, DC Brau and Hellbender. Stay tuned for a release next month!

Allie: Sounds like you’re pretty busy running a distillery, launching new products, and being a DC whiskey connoisseur…what do you like to do for fun outside of work?

Alex: First and foremost, outside of work, I love to spend time with my family; my wife, Jen and sons Jonas (12) and Abe (10). I enjoy cooking for them at home, taking time for hikes, bike rides, camping, or the beach and attending the boys’ various baseball games, swim meets and concerts.

Alex and the team at Tales of the Cocktail.png

Allie: How do you connect to Jewish life in DC?

Alex: My family and I are members at Tifereth Israel on 16th St. It is a lovely, diverse congregation with great local history (last year marked TI’s centennial), and an amazing leader in Rabbi Siedel. The congregation is very active, and has provided us with meaningful opportunities to cook and serve food at local shelters.

Allie: What is your favorite Jewish holiday and how do you celebrate it?

Alex: Tough to pick just one, as TI can really party for Purim and Simchat Torah!  But, honestly, I love the Passover seder the most. We combine elements from seders Jen and I attended growing up and are making our own tradition. We often host family and friends, so I can cook several of the traditional dishes (except Jen makes the best matzah ball soup!).

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Choosing Faith Anew: A Yom Kippur and Ashura Reflection

About the Author: Julie Sherbill is currently a Peace Corps Volunteer serving near Marrakech, who hails from Washington, DC. Having lived in Turkey and worked for an international fellowship program, she believes well-designed cultural exchanges are crucial for a more peaceful and just world. Read more about her service on her blog: In the End, We’re All Shoes

There are similarities in the Jewish and Muslim calendars—to start with, they are both lunar. The Jewish and Muslim new years overlapped as well.  And like last year, Yom Kippur coincides with fasting for Ashura, which is the 10th day of the first month in the Islamic calendar.

Image may contain: one or more people and people standing

Social versus Spiritual

So, what does this have to do with my time here in Morocco as a Peace Corps Volunteer? Well, like many PCVs, living in a village where Islam is a big part of life here has of course driven me to reflect on my own religious identity, faith, and resolve. As the New Year begins, celebrating Ashura and Yom Kippur simultaneously embodies this experience.

Back home, as bigoted groups take the center of national news, and activists have to take on identity-based hate speech, the social aspect of my Jewish identity in an American context seems to take a front seat. While I undoubtedly benefit from white privilege, anti-Semitism is still a nuanced, subtle reality especially as “hatred toward Jews has been deeply intertwined with the idea of Jews having unique sorts of advantages.”

But in my day-to-day life in Morocco, religion is not a matter of identity, but rather, of faith and belief. Now I’m realizing that when I remove the social aspect of my Jewishness, there doesn’t seem to be much left. That’s especially as a lot of people I hang out with here pray on their own every day, read the Quran, and base many of their daily beliefs and actions on the teachings of the prophet. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to clarify my definition of God.

Collective History and Nationalism

There are 1.8 billion Muslims in the world, so like in any religion, everyone interprets and practices their beliefs in vastly different ways. Specifically, for many of my friends in my Peace Corps site, faith is not something you observe when it’s convenient, but rather, a sacred code that dictates how to live and view your life. They live out their beliefs with friends and family, but also on their own in their daily routines and perceptions.

My closest friends here know that I am Jewish, but I’m not sure they understand what it means to me back home. Most have never heard of the Holocaust (although they do study the rise of the Nazis in school). While I was explaining to one of my friends what it was, she asked me, “but why did they do this?” and I grew emotional. This collective history of oppression has been a huge part of my Jewish education.

Looking back at my days of bat mitzvahs, Jewish youth groups, ties and trips to Israel, Hebrew school, Hillel, celebrations, commemorations, shivas, and brisses, it’s safe to say I have a strong sense of Jewish identity. For that, I have to thank my family, community, upbringing, and personal choices.

But when I’m alone, without my Jewish community, without people that know my collective history, without any personal sense of Jewish patriotism, I’m only left with my faith—the core belief, spiritual, stuff. Now that I’m looking at it closely, naked, under a microscope, in a sea of other people’s unwavering faiths, I realize just how wavering my own faith is.

Wavering Faith is Still Faith

What do I do with this realization? Clearly, I’m at a crossroads in my, to sound hokey, “spiritual journey.” I could realize that religion is indeed not a “biological reality” and be atheist or agnostic, which would certainly make things easier. I could start from scratch and research all religions, and see which ones I like best. After all, at 26, I’m certainly old enough to pick my own religion, instead of the one chosen for me at birth

Except—I never did feel pressured to be Jewish, anyway. My community and family, for as long as I can remember, always encouraged me to think critically and choose my own path.

Abandoning my religion would feel like I’m letting Judaism’s emphasis on questioning, doubting, and learning lead me away from Judaism itself. And, to not be Jewish would feel like turning my back on the community I grew up in and the self I’ve created. It’s when I’m critiquing my religion, and observing it alongside friends and family, that I feel most Jewish.

It may not seem like the most solid foundation, but for now, it’s enough to keep me here—and that’s what counts. Maybe that’s what faith is—that simple, unexplainable force that makes you keep going, even when there aren’t so many tangible reasons to do so.

Concealing and Atoning

While the word Kippur means atonement (hence Yom Kippur), the root K-P/F-R in Arabic and Hebrew scripts can actually mean to “conceal or deny,” as in, denying one’s religion. This possible connection between denying one’s religion and atoning seems perfect for what’s in my head this year.

This Yom Kippur, as I fast alongside many of my faithful Muslim brothers and sisters, I will aim to begin a more forgiving, yet closer, relationship with Judaism. I no longer want to let doubt lead me to denying or concealing my faith overall.

The Struggle is Real

Listening to Krista Tippett’s podcast On Being, I was inspired by the interviewee Rabbi AmichaiLau-Lavie, who said:

Part of the reason why I’m not an Orthodox Jew but a flexidox or polydox and otherwise-Jew, and not just “Jew,” is that I do believe in evolution, not just of our species and the world, but of concepts. And if the Bible and the Jewish values that have sustained my people for thousands of years believe that women were subservient and that sexuality was of a specific type and that types of worship included slaughtering animals, we’ve evolved. That’s not where we are. So we need to read some of those sacred words as metaphor, as bygone models, as invitations for creativity, and for sort of the second meaning and the second naïveté here that still retrieves this text as useful and these narratives as holy, not as literal.”

I believe in evolution and recognize that sexuality and gender are spectrums. I might not be able to keep kosher, celebrate Shabbat every Friday, or attend Torah study. It may seem to you that I’m picking and choosing what I want, as if God’s commandments are just an open buffet.

But unlike my ancestors, I’m lucky in that, the only one who can prevent me from being Jewish is myself. It’s with this understanding that I will keep learning about religion, having belief be a part of my life, and connecting with my past and future. My own reality and the Jewish texts will never be mutually exclusive, because my own interpretation of religion gives me not dogma, but rather, a platform for freedom to further explore. 

So this year, it is with continued faith, forgiveness, and learning, that I choose Judaism anew. And for that, I have to thank a caring, inclusive, and humble Muslim community in Sidi Bouzid, Morocco for challenging me to do so and showing me what true faith looks like.

This above article is an excerpt. Read the complete article here.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

18 Reasons to Attend the IAC National Conference

  1. It’s basically Birthright, only in America!

Is Birthright too much of a time commitment to take off from your first full-time job? Instead of schlepping to Israel, this time let Israel come to you. IAC National Conference will have Israeli food, music, companies and, well, Israelis themselves.

  1. Let’s share a L’Chaim! Or two…

The IAC National Conference isn’t all business, all the time. With social hours every night and an IAC Young Professionals sponsored after-party, everyday of the conference will give you the chance to schmooze or get schwasty.


  1. America’s capitol, our conference’s host, your playground

Washington D.C. is undisputedly an awesome city to hang out in. Museums, nightlife, and constant buzz of activity make it a destination worth exploring over the course of the conference.

  1. Kibbitz (network/chat) like a pro – with the pros

At events from small panel discussions to workshops, you’ll meet established business personalities, successful entrepreneurs, and fellow young professionals, and you’ll also have the chance to swap ideas and contact details with all of them.

  1. Lookin’ for love after Tu B’Av

If you want someone special in your life, try attending something special. IAC National Conference attracts hundreds of Jewish and Israeli-American 20-30 something-year-olds. It’s safe to assume you might attract one of them too.

  1. Connect with your Jewish identity

If you only make it to services for High Holidays (or not at all), or if you’re more Jew-ish than Jewish, and you’re looking for something more, we can help.


  1. Get your nosh on!

Looking to move beyond a bagel and shmear? We’ll have four days of gourmet Israeli food for you to explore to your heart’s content.

  1. Put your kvetching (complaining) to good use

IAC‘s activities reflect the priorities of our members. Through Mishelanu or G’vanim (IAC pro-Israel programs), you can make what you’re passionate about part of IAC’s agenda. Environmentalism, justice, and philanthropy are all central to both Jewish and Israeli identity, and IAC understands the call to action on the most pressing issues today.

  1. Meet your mishpocha (family)

No matter your nationality or ancestry, you share a powerful bond with every other Jew. Exploring that bond seated next to Jews from different places, even different countries, is a powerful experience. You can trust us on that, we’ve been doing this since 2014.


  1. Looking for a few good mensches (role models)

IAC’s programs for college students, recent graduates and young professionals aren’t just about finding a place in the Jewish and Israeli-American community. They also provide extensive leadership and communication training so that you can also achieve your goals outside of our community.

  1. Dance your tuches off

Forget Coachella. IAC has brought you the real rock stars. Grammy winner Miri Ben-Ari, Einat Sarouf and Rami Kleinstein will all be in attendance. If you’re unacquainted with our lineup, then we recommend getting started listening through their discography. You’ll want to be familiar enough to sing along when they play your faves.

  1. Meet your hero!

There are over 100 confirmed speakers at IAC National Conference, from the realms of politics, diplomacy, business, technology and philanthropy. No matter what your field or interest, there is someone attending that will inspire you, and give a few pointers on how to follow in their footsteps.


  1. Panels, panels, panels

Regardless of your reason for attending, IAC offers a wealth of panels to attend. With sessions covering ancient traditions and modern practice, the problem won’t be finding an event that’s interesting to you; it’ll be fitting all of them in your schedule.

  1. Dust off your Hebrew

Are you looking to move beyond “shalom”? Or are you already fluent and looking to schmooze with your fellow Ivrit speakers? No matter your background or comfort level with Hebrew, the IAC National Conference will be the best place to bust it out.

  1. It will make your Bubbe proud

Has your Bubbe been on your case lately to attend services? Find a nice Jewish partner? Finally learn that brisket recipe so that it can be passed down from generation to generation? The IAC National Conference might only offer one of those (see point 5), but just attending will be sure to at least win some brownie  – or “Bubbe” – points.


  1. Avoid FOMO

With speakers, panels, musicians, and parties of this caliber, your friends are probably thinking of attending. And even if your current friends aren’t there, the friends you will make by attending will certainly be at the conference.

  1. Be a bridge for the American-Jewish and Israeli-American communities

One of IAC’s highest priorities is joining these two together into a greater, united community. Your mission, should you choose to accept us, is to help create that bridge. As these communities plan their shared future, it’s only fair that 20-30 year olds take a seat behind the steering wheel.

  1. Join the fastest growing Jewish organization in the US

Find new friends, get involved in great causes, and expand your professional skillset and network, all through programming designed for students and young professionals, by your peers. IAC will always offer something worthwhile to anyone looking to engage with their Jewish or Israeli identity — now that’s something to kvell (brag) about!


Learn more and sign up to attend the IAC National Conference in DC from November 3-6 here.

About the Author: Tal Zmiri is the National Director for IAC Mishelanu, a program that works with Israeli-Americans and Jewish Americans on college campuses around the country.  Prior to working at the IAC, Tal was the Educational Director for Israel Experience Ltd. in Israel. She lives in New York with her partner and their two children.

The above is a sponsored blog post. The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

DJ M Dot Set to Spin in the Sukkah

Stacy Miller, Director of EntryPointDC, recently sat down with Michal Bilick aka DJ M Dot, the founder of Community Mixtape, to discuss how she got started teaching others about musical storytelling and her upcoming DJ workshop at the Edlavitch DCJCC. Mark your calendars for Sunday, October 1 for Sip & Spin in the Sukkah, a DIY (do it yourself) afternoon where you can spin your own track, collaborate on a mixtape, craft harvest cocktails, and enjoy chill beats. Limited spots are available and early bird tickets are open for GatherDC readers!

Stacy: What is Community Mixtape and why did you start this program?

Michal: Community Mixtape (CM) is an opportunity to build community through music. As human beings, we draw a lot of lines of separation – but what about all the things that connect us? Music can illustrate the universality of experiences or emotions. My goal in developing CM was to bring sharing music with people to a new level, to create a way that people can come together across differences, and take part in a shared, empathic moment.  

Stacy: How is your DJ workshop for Sip & Spin in the Sukkah related to Sukkot?

Michal: For each CM session, a theme is chosen. Each participant contributes one song related to that theme. I chose the theme of “home” for this Sukkot edition of CM because Sukkot is a holiday that celebrates shelter while acknowledging the impermanence of the structures we create and call home.

In DC, we know this theme well. I’ve been in the District for twelve years and have seen many friends come and go, neighborhoods undergo dramatic changes, and apartments come to the end of their lease. This doesn’t make DC any less home to me. Home is the love and care you take in your physical space and the people that inhabit it, the rituals you build in your home and the guests you invite in. I recently DJ’d a wedding where the couple chose, as their first dance, “To Build a Home” by the Cinematic Orchestra; this was their way of inspiring hope in the home they dream about building together. There are tons of songs about home, or songs that have nothing to do with the concept of a home but make you feel at home. I encourage you to get creative with this theme!

Stacy: How did you come up with your DJ name?

Michal: I was named M Dot by a fellow DJ. One of the first public sets I ever DJ’d was at an open mic in New Jersey, and they were calling me up and could not pronounce my name – so gave me that as a nickname and it just stuck.

Stacy: What is your favorite song to remix or spin?

Michal: I really like Gospel house/R&B. One of my favorite songs to play is Candi Stanton, You Got the Love. That song reminds me that there’s something bigger than myself and that struggle is a part of life.

Stacy: Any advice for new DJs?

Michal: Dig deep! I think about music as moving backwards. While you definitely need to stay current, there is so much to learn from the past. It’s a never-ending quest!

Sip & Spin in the Sukkah will take place Sunday, October 1 from 3:00-6:00 pm at the EDCJCC. Questions? Email Stacy Miller, Director of EntryPointDC, the 20s and 30s program of the EdlavitchDCJCC.

Michal Bilik is the founder of Community Mixtape, an opportunity for collaboration, friendship-building, and creativity  through music and the art of DJing. Learn more about DJ M Dot.


The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Despacito: A Rosh Hashanah Remix Music Video

To ring in 5778, GatherDC is happy to share with you this super catchy, high-quality music video to blast during this year’s Rosh Hashanah dinner. Watch out T. Swift. Look what you made us do!

Plus, you can visit GatherDC’s High Holiday Guide for even more Jewish New Year fun, including a complete Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur DC-area event round-up, Rabbi Rants, happy hours, and more. You’re welcome.

And a HUGE shout-out to our incredible volunteers who made this video possible. You know who you are. But do you know how awesome you are?

[WARNING: This song will get stuck in your head for the next several days.]

10 Ways Broad City taught me #Adulting

Anyone else have these feels? Learning how to adult is a skill, and sometimes it’s not that easy. Especially when you’re in a new city. Need a little help getting into the groove? Sign up for coffee with me or my pretty cool coworkers.

With the premiere of the new season of Broad City tonight, I thought I’d share. YAAAS.

1. Talking about getting older, even though I’m only 23.


2. Loving my female friends more than anything.


Want more than a listicle about the power of friendship? Check out another article about friendships in Judaism.

3. Living off an entry level salary means sometimes cutting corners.


4. Having random crushes on cuties you see around even if you’ll probably never see them again.


5. Waking up in the morning on weekends getting ready to start the day… or, you know, dreading the idea of going to work.


6. Rolling away from my problems like…


7. Being weird in public can be really fun.


8. Spending all day binging on Netflix and then realizing you haven’t spent any time outdoors. (Don’t lie. We’ve all been there.)


9. Loving Bed Bath and Beyond a little too much. Totally normal.


10. Wanting unhealthy food all the time. Sorry, mom and dad.


The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

High Holiday Guide for DC 2017 (5778)

It’s High Holiday time! There are so many options for observing the High Holidays in the Washington, DC area. We want to make it as easy as possible for 20 and 30 somethings to find the High Holiday activities they are looking for no matter how they choose to celebrate. From Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, services and events are held in the DC area for all denominations. Whether you’re looking for a Reform Erev Rosh Hashanah service, a Conservative Second Day Rosh Hashanah or a an alternative Kol Nidre, this list has it. We are constantly updating this guide and tickets sell out quickly, so try to make your plans early.

Don’t see your event listed? Know of something that should be on here? Submit them here.

When a service/event is crossed out, it’s sold out.

Erev Rosh Hashanah – Wednesday, September 20th

6:30 pm – Sixth & I, Traditional Service Erev Rosh Hashanah

6:30 pm – Kol Ami, Erev Rosh Hashanah

6:45 pm – Adas Israel, Erev Rosh Hashanah Community Sunset Service

6:45 pm – Chabad, Erev Rosh Hashanah

7:00 pm – GWU Hillel, Erev Rosh Hashanah

7:00 pm – Sixth & I, MesorahDC Guided Service Erev Rosh Hashanah

7:00 pm – Sixth & I, 6th in the City Good Soul Erev Rosh Hashanah

7:00 pm – Sephardic Jews in DC, Sephardic Rosh Hashanah Dinner

7:30 pm – Temple Rodef Shalom, High Holy Day Alternative Service

7:45 pm – 2239, Erev Rosh Hashanah

8:00 pm – Next Dor, Erev Rosh Hashanah

8:30 pm – Sixth & I, Reform Erev Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, Day 1 – Thursday, September 21st

8:15 am – Adas Israel, Rosh Hashanah Day 1

9:00 am – Sixth & I, Traditional Rosh Hashanah Day 1

9:00 am – 2239, Rosh Hashanah Day

9:30 am – Sixth & I, 6th in the City Progressive Rosh Hashanah

10:00 am – Bet Mishpacha, Rosh Hashanah

10:00 am – GWU Hillel, Rosh Hashanah

10:00 am – Kol Ami, Rosh Hashanah

10:00 am – Sixth & I, Reform Rosh Hashanah

10:00 am – Sixth & I, 6th in the City Good Soul Rosh Hashanah

10:30 am – Sixth & I, MesorahDC Guided Service Rosh Hashanah Day 1

1:00 pm – Sixth & I, Taste of the New Year: Rosh Hashanah Lunch

5:00 pm – Bet Mishpacha, Tashlich

5:30 pm – Sixth & I, Rosh Hashanah Express

6:45 pm – Chabad, Rosh Hashanah Dinner

7:30 pm – Moishe House Arlington, Rosh Hashanah Potluck Dinner

Rosh Hashanah, Day 2 – Friday, September 22nd

8:15 am – Adas Israel, Rosh Hashanah Day 2

9:00 am – Sixth & I, Traditional Rosh Hashanah Day 2

9:30 am – Chabad, Rosh Hashanah Services

10:00 am – Sixth & I, Rooted in Nature: An Outdoor Rosh Hashanah Experience

10:30 am – Sixth & I, MesorahDC Guided Service Rosh Hashanah Day 2

7:00 pm – OneTable, Toast to the New Year! A Rosh Hashanah Shabbat

Kol Nidre – Friday, September 29th

6:00 pm – Sixth & I, 6th in the City Good Soul Kol Nidre

6:00 pm – Sixth & I, 6th in the City Progressive Kol Nidre

6:15 pm – Kol Ami, Kol Nidre

6:30 pm – Adas Israel, Kol Nidre

6:30 pm – GWU Hillel, Kol Nidre

6:30 pm – Rosh Pina, Kol Nidre

6:30 pm – Sixth & I, MesorahDC Guided Service Kol Nidre

6:30 pm – Sixth & I, Traditional Kol Nidre

6:45 pm – Chabad, Kol Nidre

7:00 pm – Bet Mishpacha, Kol Nidre

7:30 pm – Adas Israel, “Return Again” Kol Nidre

7:30 pm – Temple Rodef Shalom, High Holy Day Alternative Service

7:45 pm – 2239, Kol Nidre

8:00 pm – Next Dor, Kol Nidre

8:30 pm – Sixth & I, Reform Kol Nidre

Yom Kippur – Saturday, September 30th

8:45 am – Adas Israel, Yom Kippur

9:00 am – 2239, Yom Kippur Day

9:00 am – Rosh Pina, Yom Kippur

9:00 am – Sixth & I, Traditional Yom Kippur

9:30 am – Chabad, Yom Kippur

9:30 am – Sixth & I, 6th in the City Progressive Yom Kippur

10:00 am – Bet Mishpacha, Yom Kippur

10:00 am – GWU Hillel, Yom Kippur

10:00 am – Kol Ami, Yom Kippur

10:00 am – Sixth & I, Reform Yom Kippur

10:30 am – Sixth & I, MesorahDC Guided Service Yom Kippur

10:30 am – Sixth & I, 6th in the City Good Soul Yom Kippur

11:00 am – GatherDC, Alternative Yom Kippur Experience

Neilah/Break Fast – Saturday, September 30th

4:00 pm – 2239, Yom Kippur Afternoon & Break Fast

4:30 pm – Sixth & I, Reform Evening Services/Neilah

4:45 pm – Adas Israel, Preparing Body & Soul Through Meditation and Song

6:15 pm – Sixth & I, MesorahDC Guided Evening Services/Neilah

6:30 pm – Sixth & I, Combined Traditional and 6th in the City Evening Services/Neilah

7:45 pm – Moishe House Arlington, Break Fast

7:45 pm – Moishe House Columbia Heights, Break Fast Carb Fest

8:00 pm – Adas Israel, YP Break the Fast

Other Events/Resources

We are constantly updating this document. Don’t see yours? Submit them here.

Stay Tuned for…

Sukkot – Wednesday, October 4th-Wednesday, October 11th

Simchat Torah – Thursday, October 12th

The High Holiday Guide on this web page will keep you informed of activities and services you can attend in the Washington, DC area. Scroll through for all events around the High Holidays in Greater Washington including Erev Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Kol Nidre, Break the Fast and more.

Is it Kosher to Date on Rosh Hashanah? – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 73)

apples and honeyAs the weather turns from sweltering hot to a little cooler, and with the High Holidays upon us, it’s time to deal with a question that might arise: Is it kosher to date on Rosh Hashanah?

Now, I don’t mean that you should analyze whether it’s unkosher (perhaps literally) to grab some moo goo gai pan at the Chinese restaurant next door after Rosh Hashanah services if your stomach is growling during the shofar blowing.  What I mean is: What if you see a good-looking gal (or guy) at services?  Would it be sacrilegious to start a conversation and potentially ask for her contact information?  I’d venture to say no… but use plenty of caution and respect.

Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of a new year after all, and we’re supposed to fill it with sweet things, like apples and honey.  While common wisdom would have us believe that said honey should be viscous and come from a bee, what if there’s another form of something sweet at services, and instead she’s about 5’3 with honey brown hair, freckles on her face, and cherry red lipstick.  Should we deprive ourselves of one type of sweet new year to maintain respect for the other?

I used to have a friend (we’ll call her Diana) who moved to Baltimore and didn’t know anyone there.  Rather than driving down to DC to join me at services, she decided to attend services there by herself.  She was on the seat second from the end.  Just as the service started, a guy (we’ll call him Joey) sat down next to her, also by himself.  They exchanged pleasantries – name, job, the usual – and that was that.  Joey wanted to ask Diana out, but he was afraid that it went against all social and religious norms to do it in the synagogue, and on the holiest of holy days (this time Yom Kippur) at that.  So he waited a week, got creative, looked her up (these were pre-Facebook days!), and asked her out.  They are now married with a baby boy.

Now, I’m no religious guru, but my thought is: Would G-d want us to stop ourselves from “going for it” on the holiday?  While no one could ever know the answer to this question, what I recommend is that if you think someone might be worth talking to after services, it doesn’t hurt to strike up a conversation and end with some form of, “I really enjoyed talking to you.  Let’s definitely be in touch after the holidays.  May I get your number?”  A lighter alternative would be to ask for the other person’s business card… an easy peasy way to exchange information without using the line, “What’s your number?”

As we internalize the spirit of the High Holidays and try to enjoy the year 5774, remember that it’s ok to start off on a bold and exciting foot.  L’Shanah Tova!  I’ll be at the 6th in the City New Year’s Eve Party  tonight.  Hope to see you there!

Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people stand out from the online dating crowd and have a rewarding experience. An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available.  Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.

Apple Spice Trifle

With Rosh Hashanah just around the corner, I wanted to come up with an apple dessert that was a little bit different.  I tried to think of variations on pies, cakes, and tarts, then decided to go completely outside the box with a layered dessert called a trifle.  A trifle is a traditional English dish that involves fruit, custard, cake, and whipped cream.  There are endless modern varieties, so I thought I’d create my own for the holiday.  I tested the recipe with spice cake (pictured).  It would work well with either spice cake or gingerbread—use the spice cake if you want a milder flavor, the gingerbread if you want more of a contrast between the layers.  You could easily make this dish parve by using margarine instead of butter and non-dairy whipped topping instead of whipped cream.

Total time: 1 hour 45 min. (including cooling time)

Yield: 12 servings

Level: Moderate


  • 1 package spice cake or gingerbread mix
  • Vegetable oil, as directed by cake mix
  • Eggs, as directed by cake mix
  • 12 Granny Smith apples
  • Juice of 1 ½ lemons
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon (or more, to taste, if using spice cake)
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar


  1. Prepare spice cake or gingerbread in a 9×13 pan according to package directions.  Once it is done cooking, set aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. Place a bowl and beaters in the refrigerator to use for making the whipped cream.
  3. While the cake is cooking, peel and core the apples and cut into ½ inch pieces.  In a large bowl, toss apples to coat with lemon juice, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  (Note: it takes a while to chop all of the apples.  To prevent browning, pour 1/3 of the lemon juice over the apple pieces after every four apples you add to the bowl.)
  4. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the apples and stir to coat with butter.  Once the apples begin to release some juice, about 4 minutes, stir in the honey and ¾ cup of the cranberries.  Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the apples are just beginning to fall apart, about 12 minutes total.  Increase heat to high and cook for 2-3 minutes more to reduce the liquid in the pan.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  5. Add the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla to the chilled bowl.  Beat on high until the cream forms stiff peaks.
  6. Crumble ½ of the cake into the bottom of a large, clear bowl, a punch bowl, or a trifle dish.  Spread ½ of the apples on top of the cake.  Spread ½ of the whipped cream on top of the apples.  Repeat with the remaining layers.  Top the second layer of whipped cream with the reserved ¼ cup of cranberries.

© Courtney Weiner.  All Rights Reserved.