Gather the Jews — The Next Generation

Welcome to the next major revision of!

GTJ logoFor the past 36 weeks, Gather the Jews has provided up-to-date information on all young professional Jewish events in Washington, D.C.  Our weekly email newsletter is now sent to approximately 1,500 young Jewish professionals, and our comprehensive calendar tracks the events of over 30 Jewish social, religious, cultural, and political organizations.   In addition to these informational tools, we’ve managed to have a bit of fun through our blog and our popular “Jewish Girl/Guy/Mitzvah Maker of the Week” feature.  It’s been great working with such a vibrant Jewish community, and we thank you for your support.

We’re now launching the next generation of Gather the Jews.  The new GTJ includes:

  • A new website with an improved design and calendar;
  • Our weekly newsletter featuring the best Jewish events;
  • Monthly GTJ events where attendees can meet other community members and get information on upcoming Jewish activities (These will be like our last two events at Café Citron and Current Sushi that had attendance of 125 and 175 people, respectively);
  • A revamped blog to serve as the voice for the D.C. Jewish community;
  • An exchange board to find a kosher roommate or a teammate for your dodgeball league;
  • And an upcoming contest to name our Jewish Guy and Girl of the Year!

We hope that you’ll find this new iteration of GTJ even more useful than the last.  If you have any questions or suggestions for GTJ, or if you want to be part of the team, please email us at


~GTJ Crew

Away We Go Travel

Away We Go Travel presents

Atlantic City at the Tropicana Casino and Hotel!

December 25th and 26th:
(departure 7:30 AM Dec. 25th at 6th and I Historic Synagogue, DC)
(return 8:00 PM Dec. 26th at 6th and I Historic Synagogue, DC)

(Baltimore departure available, call for rates)

Double or triple occupancy: $249 per person
Single: $299

Package includes: Bus, hotel, all taxes and Casino Gratuities, light breakfast served on bus
1st day: Dinner and Tropicana casino rebate
2nd day: Breakfast and 2nd casino rebate
(casino to be determined)

Deposit: $50 per person
Balance due: December 1, 2010

**No refunds after December 1, 2010
**All casino packages subject to availability

Please contact: Marilyn at 410-486-3888 or

Insights on Parshas Noach

Insights on Parshas Noach
Will Gotkin
October 8, 2010

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi said that we (the Jewish people) must live with the times meaning that we should keep up with the weekly Parsha. In that vein, I am going to discuss some themes relevant to Parshas Noach, which tells the story of Noach and the global flood. Read more

Which Is Better: Doing Something You Have To? Or Doing Something You Don’t Have To?

?Ayin Tove
September 29, 2010
Which Is Better: Doing Something You Have To? Or Doing Something You Don’t Have To?

I have a feeling that the modern answer to this question is that doing something you don’t have to do is better than doing something you have to do. You’re going above and beyond. But I also have a feeling that the rabbinic answer to this question is that it is better to do something you are already obligated to do. In other words, it is inherently good to fulfill an obligation.

You might object: If I’m obligated to do something, then aren’t I already doing it? The answer is not so simple. Forgetting about keeping kosher, religious obligations like “Honor Your Father and Mother” or “Love Your Neighbor As Yourself” can be difficult to interpret and to follow.

And now the contradiction: It’s a “mitzvah” to love your neighbor as yourself. “Mitzvah” has two meanings: to do a good deed and a commandment. To love your neighbor is both commanded and is a good deed.

So the things that we might think of as good deeds that you don’t have to do, may already be commanded. You have to do the things that you don’t have to do. How can this be?

We are commanded to do good deeds, mitzvahs, of various kinds, but the amount of them is left up to us. The Talmud teaches us that there is no prescribed measure for deeds of lovingkindness. Mishnah Peah 1:1.

Another word that covers these good deeds, especially the ones we are not obligated to do, is “tzedakah” which we think of as charity. And at the same time we are commanded to do “tzedek” or righteousness: “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof.” (“Righteousness, righteousness shall you pursue.”) (Deut. 16:20).

We may not be obligated to do particular acts of lovingkindness, but we may be obligated to do some.

Ayin Tove is a contributing writer for Gather The Jews.

Don’t Be A Sukkah, Get Into It!

Will Gotkin
Don’t Be A Sukkah, Get Into It!
September 22, 2010

Tis the season to be Jewish! Right now, Jews around the world are going through the holiday-filled month of Tishrei. We re-proclaimed G-d our king on Rosh Hashana (5771 years and still going strong!), beat our chests and confessed on Yom Kippur, but the fun is just beginning with the joyous holiday of Sukkot, also known as Succos (and if you’ve read any 19th or 20th century books about Jewish holidays you may have heard it referred to as the Festival of Booths). Read more

When Forgiveness Is Optional Or Forbidden

Will Gotkin
When Forgiveness Is Optional Or Forbidden
September 5, 2010

As we gear up for the High Holidays, many of us are reflecting on our actions in the past year. Throughout the month of Elul we increase in teshuva and during Yomim Noarim (the ten ‘Days of Awe’ between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur), we ask others to forgive us for sins we have committed against them in the past year. Confessing and asking forgiveness for our sins before G-d during Elul and in shul on Yom Kippur will atone for many of our sins, but not the ones we commit against other people. G-d does not forgive us for the wrongs we committed toward others. Instead, we are obligated to ask for forgiveness directly from the people we have victimized. In complying with the mitzvah of judging our neighbors favorably (Vayikra 19:15), it is important that we forgive those who ask our forgiveness. However, there are times when it is optional and even forbidden to forgive.

Read more