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Jewish Connector of the Week – Tammy!

Jackie: What first brought you to DC? FullSizeRender

Tammy: I first came to DC for undergrad to immerse myself in the politics, cultural events and diversity of the city. I apparently like this city a lot because I’ve been here for almost 9 years?! Being an Arizona girl at heart, I’m not sure I will ever get used to winter, but I love being surrounded by so many opportunities to engage in the community.

Jackie: You currently work as a School Counselor at a DC Public School. Can you tell us a little bit about your work? 

Tammy: Sure, I work at a preschool-8th grade education campus. When I say I’m a school counselor, many people assume I work with high schoolers. They are so intrigued to learn that my main focus is advocating for the youngest students. Yes, many of us didn’t have school counselors in elementary school, but my position was created to serve some of the neediest students in the district. Besides meeting with students individually and in groups to improve self regulation, social skills and academic achievement, I’ve helped create programs such as the school’s inaugural career day and an elite scholar’s program. I also took some students who were too young to actually attend a scheduled college tour to college for a visit!

Jackie: I hear you like cooking with CSA ingredients in your free time. What’s your favorite dish to cook? 

Tammy: Yes, I had a CSA during the summer months. I loved being creative with whatever fruits and vegetables came in the share and adding fresh garlic or spicy peppers to almost anything. (My least favorite dish I made was a bitter melon stir fry).

Jackie: Do you have a favorite Jewish food? 

Tammy: My favorite food would have to be matzo ball soup on a cold day. Also, anything with tehini! I just bought tehini and made hummus and (gluten free) tehini cookies. I also love being creative with food. Last Rosh Hashanah, I made a charoset ice cream!

Jackie: You’re an Open Doors Fellow for Gather the Jews. What is your favorite part of the Fellowship so far?

Tammy: My favorite part of the fellowship has been meeting various people around the city. I have loved rediscovering different events, neighborhoods and groups through of lense of making these spaces more welcoming for all. I have also enjoyed getting to know the other fellows, spending our Tuesday evenings discussing how to make the DC Jewish community a smaller, more connected, more inclusive space for the unaffiliated to the most observant.

Jackie: What else do you like to do in your free time?

Tammy: I have joined an intramural basketball team and I like  to flamenco dance. After a long day I enjoy a good workout and  de-stressing in the steam room.

Jackie: What is your favorite way to spend Shabbat? 

Tammy: My favorite Shabbat would be spent in Israel, walking around the shuk and buying fresh ingredients and the best rugelach in the world. I love how it seems like the whole world stops for 24 hours in Jerusalem and you are “forced” to relax and be mindful for a day. Since that hasn’t happened in a few years, a close 2nd would be spending Shabbat with friends in DC in a smaller setting. Anything that involves good friends, good food and some relaxation.

Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather, there will be…a Jewish geography game and twice as much as necessary 🙂

Taking the political temperature of our Jewish community

The polls have closed on GTJ’s political survey.

Actually, they closed a while ago, but I needed to set up my new apartment at law school.

But…  Better later than never, so here are the results:

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Over 100 people took the survey.  I dropped the responses that did not belong to Jews between the ages 22 and 39, living in the DC area.   That left us with 86 responses.

1)      Jewish identification:

An Orthodox Jew.  12.8%

A Conservative (religiously) Jew.  29.1%

A Reform Jew.  30.2%

A secular Jew.  8.1%

 

According to Wikipedia (yes, I trust it), 46% of Jews belong to a synagogue.  Of those Jews, 38% are members of a Reform synagogue, 33% Conservative, 22% Orthodox, and 2% Reconstructionist.   Not too terribly different from our results.

2)      Party Identification:

A Democrat  66.3%

A Republican  17.4%

An Independent  16.3%

 

Additionally, three people wrote in, one wrote “Libertarian”, and two wrote “Conservative.”

According to the 2011 statistics of the Jewish Virtual Library, 16% of Jewish American voters identify as Republican, 45% Democrat, 38% Independent.

Our contingent seems to be a little more partisan.  Two thoughts for this:  1) This was a volunteer survey; people more passionate about politics were more likely to spend time taking it (example: I’m guessing Steve Davis did not take it), and people more passionate about politics are more likely to align with a party.  2) We’re in DC, a city where people tend to gravitate toward one party or the other (many people come to DC for partisan reasons!)

The only segment of Jews that tends to be consistently Republican is Orthodox Jews.

For information on the Jewish vote in past presidential elections, I refer you back to this article.

3)      Rank the following political issues in terms of importance to you (1 = Most important; 10 = Least important).

So this yielded quite the data table.  I’m not going to give you the standard deviations or anything fancy like that for the time being, but here’s the mean, median, and most-picked for each:

  • The Economy — Average = 2.42, Median = 2, Most popular = 1 (31 selections)
  • Jobs — Average = 3.76, Median = 3, Most popular = 2 (21)
  • Health Care — Average = 3.92, Median = 4, Most popular = 3 (18)
  • Israel — Average = 5.14, Median = 5, Most popular = 3 (13)
  • Taxation — Average = 5.66, Median = 5, Most popular = 5 (16)
  • Environment — Average = 5.98, Median = 6, Most popular = 9 (14)
  • Abortion — Average = 6.13, Median = 6, Most popular = 8 (14)
  • Gay Rights — Average = 7.00, Median = 7, Most popular = 10 (22)
  • Iraq/Afghanistan — Average = 7.31, Median = 7, Most popular = 8 (17)
  • Immigration — Average = 7.69, Median = 8, Most popular = 9 (19)

Clearly, whichever candidate can prove himself most capable on the economy is going to score major points with our community.  The average American feels pretty similarly.  Here’s this issue ranking from Rasmussen Reports (July, 2012):

Economy 74%
Health Care 67%
Gov’t Ethics and Corruption 64%
Taxes 55%
Energy Policy 44%
Education 55%
Social Security 60%
Immigration 47%
National Security/War on Terror 46%
Afghanistan 30%

 

4)      Rate President Obama on:  (1 = Super Awesome; 2 = Pretty good; 3 = He’s aiite; 4 = Not so great; 5 = Terrible)

  • Health Care — Average = 2.50, Median = 2, Most popular = 2 (32)
  • Foreign Policy — Average = 2.70, Median = 2, Most popular = 2 (40)
  • Israel — Average = 2.94, Median = 2, Most popular = 2 (31)
  • The Economy — Average = 2.94, Median = 2, Most popular = 2 (39)
  • Immigration — Average = 2.98, Median = 3, Most popular = 2 (34)
  • Jobs — Average = 3.07, Median = 3, Most popular = 2 (31)

In summary, our community thinks President Obama is “pretty good.”  It’s perhaps not surprising then that:

5)      I will likely vote for:

Obama  69.8%

Romney  27.9%

I will likely not vote  2.3%

 

And yet, this is well below historical averages for Democratic Presidents.  President Obama won 78% of the Jewish vote in 2008, and the Democrats have won, on average, 78.2% of the Jewish vote since the 1992 election.

 

Other fun info:

6)      Does Judaism influence your politics?

A lot  25.6%

A bit  47.7%

Not much  19.8%

Not at all  7.0%

 

7)      Will your vote be counted in the same/district state you currently live in?

 

My vote will be counted in the district/state I live in.  62.8%

My vote will be counted elsewhere (absentee).  37.2%

 

I was surprised by this.  I thought everyone in DC voted in another state…

About the survey:

This survey was not perfect.  But hopefully it was still interesting.  Our newsletter is sent to 4,000 people.  Of this group, 102 took the survey, and we used 86 responses.  All answer options were rotated for different users so as to avoid an ordering bias (people favoring answers that come earlier, etc.)

If you have any questions about the survey, or if you want more information about the survey, please email me (Stephen@gatherdc.org)

Thanks for playing!

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Stephen Richer is the co-founder and President of Gather the Jews.

 

 

 

Spots for the Fall 2012 NeXus, Filling Fast!

Andy Kirschner is an Associate in the Young Leadership Division at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

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“I just want to get involved.”  Working in Young Leadership at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, I get to hear those words from young Jews across Greater Washington pretty much every day.  Well Greater Washington, how do you want to get involved?  Where do you want to get involved?  Does the idea of supporting the Jewish community now and for the future inspire you?  Maybe NeXus is a good place for you to start this next chapter in your Jewish journey.

NeXus is an interactive program that will teach you about the work of The Jewish Federation, further develop your leadership skills and introduce you to other leaders in the DC Jewish community.  Through six sessions that run from September through November, you will explore what it means to be an influential Jewish young adult and find ways to make a true impact on the world through your involvement with The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

Interested?  Visit www.shalomdc.org/nexus to learn more and register.  Spots are filling quickly and as of this post, the course was already half full.

Still unsure?  Here is what some alumni of the program recently wrote about their experiences:

Jodi Tirengel

The program gave me a great opportunity to learn from inspiring speakers-I loved it!

Liza Lewis

NeXus was a great way to get involved in the DC Jewish community and meet a lot of new people. I would definitely recommend it!

Danny Rubin

I was impressed with the variety of topics we covered. By the end, I felt like I had a solid understanding of the Federation and its impact in DC. I also think the program is really well organized. All in all, time well spent!

Ariella Brodecki

[It’s a] great way to meet people, get involved in the DC Jewish community and learn about Federation! NeXus opened lots of doors both networking and activity-wise – if you have the opportunity to be a part of NeXus, take advantage of it!

On this fateful day in history…

The one, the only, the WOLFF… … Photo courtesy of … Aaron Wolff’s camera.

On this fateful day in history…

No.  We’re not talking about Tisha B’Av.

We’re talking about one of DC Jewry’s finest who turned 28 today.

Some of you know him as “the man with the hat.”  Some of you know him as “The WOLFF.”  And some of you know him as the far most handsome of the Gather the Jews cofounders (true).  A quaint few know him as Aaron.

But even if you don’t know him that well, know that Aaron works tirelessly to make the Jewish community of Washington, DC a better place.  Seriously.  Aaron has a very full time job, but in addition to this, he puts in loads of hours into to the GTJ project for zero financial gain.

To thank him for his hundreds of hours of community service, I suggested that we all pitch in and buy him his finest fedora yet.

But he told him he would prefer thanks be given to him through Gather the Jews.  So if you want to show Aaron a little bit of love, either:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AARON!!!!!

 

 

AIPAC Policy Conference: Four years, four conferences

From "The Times of Israel" ... yes, the same one that I mention in point 11

Stephen Richer is President of Gather the Jews.  To see two other pieces on AIPAC Policy Conference — on President Obama’s Speech — please click here.

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Since moving to DC, I’m 4/4 on AIPAC Policy Conference.  That adds up to 12 days, approximately 40,000 Israel supporters, 5,000 media members, 20,000 Ivy League degrees, and 50,000 Prada bags.  It’s a bit overwhelming, but I’ve done my best to do it all:

  1. I’ve heard Obama speak;
  2. I’ve heard Netanyahu speak (twice);
  3. I’ve heard over 25 members of Congress speak;
  4. I’ve gone to breakout sessions on China  led by Marvin Feuer (father of Danny, The Hero);
  5. I’ve scored a record-setting 12 points on my self-invented “Iran Game” (Game rules:  go to a breakout session, stay until one speaker says Iran.  Then can go to another breakout session.  Repeat.  Try to get to as many sessions as you can in one hour);
  6. I’ve gone to at least five speeches by three Makovskys (David) (Michael) (Alan);
  7. I’ve discussed Israel with the outside protesters;
  8. I’ve sung Hebrew songs loudly at the outside protesters;
  9. I’ve run through big groups of protesters and been punched at while stealing their biggest “Israeli Apartheid” flags… only to feel bad later about property theft (asinine protesters have property rights too!  My apologies.)
  10. I’ve been the guy who tried to ask speakers “the question” in breakout sessions;
  11. I’ve sat in the media section and pretended that not only did I know The Times of Israel existed, but that I read it on a regular basis;
  12. I’ve tried to look “unassailably qualified” when checking into the media registration without a pen or laptop;
  13. I’ve learned what a hashtag is and used it (#IAmProIsrael this year);
  14. I’ve live-tweeted speeches to keep me awake (e.g. Harry Reid);
  15. I’ve sat through the abysmally long “roll call” just to cheer for Utah’s congressmen (there are no female Representatives or Senators from Utah);
  16. I’ve paid $5 for a bagel.
  17. I’ve eaten six sumptuous free banquet dinners (AIPAC served dinners in 2009, 2010, and 2011 …  It got too crowded in 2012 … But at each of the three previous dinners there was always somebody at my table who didn’t feel like eating, and the food eventually made its way to me).
  18. I’ve gone to receptions meant for Floridians and Californians, two states I’ve never lived in;
  19. I’ve gone to college parties and told people I was still a student at University of Chicago (but haven’t done since I was 23!);
  20. I’ve seen the Maccabeats perform live at AIPAC twice, but I’m still looking for the guys that sang this Candelight song – they can’t be the same Maccabeats;
  21. I’ve sparked an AIPAC romance;
  22. I’ve made up with an ex-girlfriend over pro-Israel stuff;
  23. I’ve outdanced 90% of a bar’s attendants… At an AIPAC young professional after party (Park, 2010);
  24. I’ve counted out the 5:1 male/female ratio at the Lux afterparty the past two years;
  25. I’ve said “Oh hey man!  How’s it going?” only to walk past somebody at least 100 times;
  26. Etc.

Seeming chaos. But brilliantly ordered actually.

Have I done it all?  No.  Of course not.   AIPAC is so huge and it’s such a flurry of activity that it’s impossible to capture its entirety in 26 simple bullet points (and that’s about all my brain can manage).

But that’s why you have to go.  At least once.  No matter what you think of AIPAC’s policies.   It will maybe be the largest Gathering of Jews under one roof that you ever witness (13,000 attendees this year, probably at least 9,000 Jews), and AIPAC does such a phenomenal job creating its own world inside the Convention Center that by the time you leave hours later, you feel like you’ve just left a casino or opium den, and you have to, disappointingly, step back into reality.

If you missed this year’s event, then check out any major newspaper.  Or check out the writings of community members such as Adam Kredo, Alana Goodman, Phil Klein, etc.  But like I said, you can’t really be told what Policy Conference is – you have to see it for yourself.

This may be my last Policy Conference for a while — leaving DC 🙁 — but it’s been a wonderful run.  Exhausting, certainly, but well worth it.  Thanks to the good people at AIPAC for strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship; thanks to Lynn Schusterman for paying for some of my conferences; and thanks to Gather the Jews and Forbes for giving me the media gravitas needed to get me in at later conferences.

Haters gonna hate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DC Jews: Disenfranchised or Just Complaining?

Stephen Richer is President of Gather the Jews.  Do not blame GTJ as an organization for this article’s shortcomings or Stephen’s personal shortcomings.

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Given the large number of lawyers in the young Jewish adult community, this story is too good to pass up… Even though I’m a little late to the punch.

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Rabbi Herzfeld. Picture from the Jewish Outreach Institute

On January 6, 2012, Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld of DC’s Ohev Sholom synagogue (and friend of this site) finalized a settlement with DC Mayor Vincent Gray and the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics (“The Board”).

The settlement resolves a case that launched on April 13, 2011, when Rabbi Herzfled filed a complaint against The Board for holding a special election on April 26, 2011 – the last day of Passover.  As Herzfeld noted, and as most readers of this website can probably tell you, Orthodox Jews are religiously proscribed from writing on the final day of Passover – a ban that would keep them from voting.

When Herzfeld originally brought the issue to the attention of The Board, the election officials said that “their hands were tied” by the DC law that requires a special election to be held on the first Tuesday that is at least 114 days after the vacancy is certified.

Herzfeld requested that if The Board couldn’t change the date, it should extend poll closing time by two hours, from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm, thereby allowing observant Jews to run to polls immediately after sundown.  The Board responded that the logistics of this would be impossible; they could not, at late notice, arrange for all 142 polling places to stay open two extra hours.

But The Board did not ignore the potential hardship caused by the date of election.  In light of the scheduling conflict, The Board arranged for absentee ballots, early voting ballots, and it even setup absentee ballot applications at several synagogues and Jewish organizations.

Steven Lieberman. Picture from Rothwell, Figg, Ernst & Manbeck, P.C.

Still, Herzfeld felt that this was not good enough, and he filed a suit alleging that The Board had violated the First (Freedom of Religion) and Fifth (Due Process) Amendment rights of DC’s observant Jews.  Herzfeld’s long-time friend and legal counselor Steven Lieberman (Rothwell, Figg, Ernst & Manbeck, P.C.) served as Herzfeld’s lawyer.

According to Lieberman, Herzfeld proceeded with the suit because “he saw that he would be unable to go to the polls and vote in this special election.  He considered it an important civic duty.”  Lieberman proceeded to say that the early voting measures taken by The Board “were inadequate” and that many in the Orthodox Jewish community would be effectively disenfranchised.

Not everyone in the Jewish community took this line, however, and some even rejected the ideas behind Herzfeld’s suit.  Rabbi Barry Freundel – the dynamo of Georgetown’s Kesher Israel Synagogue – filed a statement with the court on April 15, 2011 stating that,

“It is my view that, while it is unfortunate that by operation of law the election falls on the last day of Passover, and I am, therefore, unable to vote at a polling station on that day because of my religious beliefs, the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics has made a fair and reasonable accommodation for me and my similarly situated congregants by having an early voting process and by being willing, if requested, to deliver absentee ballots for eligible voters to the synagogues on a Sunday before the election.”

Rabbi Freundel. Picture from Kesher Congregant

Over the phone, Freundel  remarked that there could be some potential backlash to the Herzfeld suit.  “[The Board] was remarkably, remarkably flexible.  [Herzfeld] potentially made enemies with a lot of people who were working to accommodate the Jewish community.”

Lieberman responded – on a separate phone call – to Freundel’s actions with some vitriol, “Rabbi Freundel was just wrong.  For whatever reason, Rabbi Freundel decided that he wanted to pander to the District of Columbia.  He made a statement that was not in the interests of the Jewish community or his congregants.  I thought it was shocking that an Orthodox rabbi would take that position.”

Undeterred by Freundel’s signed statement, Herzfeld and Lieberman pushed on.  By this point they couldn’t get change things to their liking for the special election day, but they could win a battle for the future.

Standing before U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, Herzfeld and Lieberman argued that surely The Board wouldn’t have remained as inflexible had the special election day landed on Christmas.  The Board countered that it, in fact, would have.  Judge Sullivan expressed skepticism and hoped that all necessary steps would be taken in the future to avoid such a conflict.

The ramifications of the constitutional assertion – that The Board violated the First and Fifth Amendments of observant DC Jews – extends beyond this DC election.   The much-watched and much-discussed South Carolina GOP primary took place on January 21, 2012 – a Saturday.  The polls opened at 7:00 AM and closed at 7:00 PM (2012 Election Central).  Orthodox Jews are also not allowed to write on Saturday, and Havdallah (Shabbat closing prayers) took place at 5:58 PM on the 21st, hardly enough time to finish prayers and get to the polls.  Would Herzfeld and Lieberman argue that the South Carolina GOP also violated the First and Fifth Amendments?

Must government constitutionally avoid conflict with religions?  Is it enough that the government doesn’t actively prohibit or suppress the practice of a religion?  Or must the government draft its laws and set its dates with religions in mind?

If it must, then what about a hypothetical situation in which new religions emerge and every day of the week is filled with a day of rest (Jews Saturday, Christians Sunday, Group A Monday, etc.)?  Would governments be unable to schedule elections because it would inevitably conflict with the holy day of one religion?  Certainly the government couldn’t say the size of the religion dictates whether or not the religion has constitutional protection – it would be a true First Amendment violation to elevate one religion over another.

It certainly would be nice if elections avoided conflict with religions (much the same way you wouldn’t want to schedule a vote on the day of the Super Bowl), but does the Constitution mandate this?  Must government accommodate religion?  Or just allow for its free practice?

Ilya Shapiro. Picture from the Cato Institute

When asked the question, Ilya Shapiro – Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute –  stated,  “Just as a broken clock is right twice a day, the District of Columbia has the better of the argument here.  The Constitution doesn’t even demand that D.C. accommodate those unable to vote on election day (for religious reasons or otherwise), though absentee ballots are good public policy.”

But for better or for worse, this issue will not be resolved through Herzfeld’s recent suit.   As noted at the beginning of this article, Herzfeld and Lieberman came to an agreement with The Board and Mayor Gray on January 6, 2012 that new legislative measures would be introduced to accommodate for future religious conflicts.

This seems an eminently practical solution.  But it does not answer the Constitutional question.  Perhaps I’ll bring a few experts (Nat and Alyza Lewin are you out there?) to shed further light on this topic.

Apologies for the long post, but this is really interesting subject with a great local spin!

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Since writing this article, The New York Times has posted this article on the Saturday caucus going in Nevada.

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Documents:

Articles:

People:

Places:

The broken Jewish engagement model

An article on the “The broken Jewish engagement model” by GTJ’s president Stephen Richer is featured in this week’s Washington Jewish Week.  The article’s not bad, but we wish they could expand the picture a bit…

Favorite part of the article:

But the Jewish nonprofit market is not an efficient market. Especially in the young professional world, supply is not directed by the consumer (the young professional service goer), but instead by the donor. Donors — who tend to be older — give money to what they know: the synagogue, rabbi, Torah-centric Judaism. It’s a bit like a Soviet system where the government dictates what types of cars should be produced — rather than letting consumers choose — and then acts surprised at slumping consumer interest.

Go here to read the rest.

Goodbye (to Lani and Marisa)… And hello (to Casey and Andy)!

Isn't there a song about this?

One of the worst things about living in DC is that with each summer, some of my favorite people leave.

I had planned on beating the system by staying here just one or two years – I would be the person who left, not the person left behind.

That plan failed.

But the silver-lining of this is that with each outgoing batch of friends, a new – potentially great – group of friends enters.  True, these newbies require a bit of training, and it is a hassle, but the rewards outstrip these costs (see, e.g. GTJ leadership and friends Aaron and Noa).

This DC cycle is perhaps best embodied by the recent turnover at the Jewish Federation for Greater Washington.  Lani Hart and Marisa Saltzman – two of the community’s best friends and most active participants – are leaving DC in a matter of days.  Lani served as Assistant Director, and Marisa as Director, for Young Leadership at the Federation.  NeXus, Shabbat Hoppin’, Jewnity, Sukkah Hop, Afikomen Scavenger Hunt, if you participated in any of these events (and many others), then you benefitted from the hard work of Lani and Marisa.

My personal debt goes much deeper.  Lani is one of my longest-standing Jewish DC friends:  She’s seen me make a fool of myself (multiple occasions?); she’s encouraged my involvement in many Jewish programs (e.g. Israel Diplomacy Fellowship); and she’s never once missed a chance to flag me down on 17th street, at Adas Israel, or at Sixth & I to give me a big hello and a smile.  Lani also featured as Jewish Girl of the Week for this website!

Similarly, Marisa oversaw my participation in NeXus and really encouraged my increased Jewish participation.  In one of the first NeXus classes, she asked me, in particular, to tell the group about my Jewish journey.  I’d never really considered my Jewish journey that noteworthy before; growing up in  Utah, I barely knew what a Jew was…  But Marisa helped changed that.

Finally, it MUST be said that Gather the Jews could not be where it is today without the help of Lani, Marisa, and the other Young Leadership people at the Federation (Sarah Arenstein, Avital Ingber).  They’ve been very supportive and have encouraged us to stay at it.  For this, thank you on behalf of all of GTJ!

Lani and Marisa are both leaving DC, but they are not leaving the Jewish community, and they’re not even leaving the world of Federation.  Lani will start a dual degree program at NYU that will allow her to continue her work with the Federation, and Marisa will soon start work for the Federation of Los Angeles.  I know that NYC and LA have NOTHING on DC, but I’m sure these lesser-cities will be getting some major Jewish assistance.

As alluded to at the beginning of this article, for every exit, there is a similarly fantastic entrance.  Former Jewish girl of the week Casey will take over as Director of Young Leadership at the Federation, and though I don’t know him, I’m sure – Andy, who is joining the team to bring the Presentense Fellowship to Jewish DC – is similarly great.  We at GTJ look forward to working with Casey and Andy, but we also won’t forget, and we hope to stay in touch with, Lani and Marisa (GTJ in NYC and LA!!!!)

Thanks for everything Lani and Marisa,

Stephen
Gather the Jews

 

To become a part of Young Leadership at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, email Casey and Andy at:  youngleadership@shalomdc.org

 

Gather the News — Jewish News — 7/25

Amy Winehouse. Image from TheSportsBank.net

This week in Jewish/Israel news…

  • They tried to make her go to rehab, but she said “no, no, no!” – an answer that unfortunately may be linked to British Jewish singer Amy Winehouse’s unexplained and sudden death at only 27 years old.
  • Singer Paul Simon, however, is still out and about even at age 70 as he performs in Tel Aviv in tip-top shape (but without Garfunkel this time.)
  • Israel and Lebanon may remain in a state of war, but Israeli heavy metal band, Orphaned Land, and Lebanese belly dancer, Johanna Fakhry, won’t let it affect their art.  The two perform together at the Hellfest music festival in France and stir controversy by flaunting the Israeli and Lebanese flag side by side.
  • Bob Dylan’s rapper grandson?
  • The diaries of Josef Mengele, one of the most infamous and gruesome Holocaust war criminals, are auctioned off to an ultra-Orthodox American man for $245,000 in what many consider to be a distasteful and crude obscenity.
  • Norway massacre suspect Anders Behring Breivik’s extensive document, “2083: A European Declaration of Independence,” which claims to protect a ‘pure’ Nordic race, has a subsection titled “The great Satan, his cult and the Jews,” in which he groups Jews into two categories: “nation-wrecking multiculturalist Jews” and “conservative Jews,” the former causing a “Jewish problem,” but the latter being okay.
  • Israel is the world’s leader in IVF treatment. Understanding how important it is for couples to have children, Israel provides free unlimited treatment up to age 45.
  • You live longer in Israel too! (It’s all that matzah ball soup and JLC[1])
  • Delegates from Ghana, Uganda, Thailand, Russia, Indonesia, and the Philippines rave about Israel at the American Cancer Society conference in New York. “In Ghana, we love Israel,” Rashida Nasamu, a presenter on E.TV Ghana, said. “Your country is a superpower.”
  • And I’ll just keep the good news for Jews rolling: studies show that Ashkenazi Jews rank smartest in the world!

 

Candace Mittel is a summer associate at Gather the Jews.

 


[1] Jewish* Loving Care

 

Extra cheese, please! — GTJ dating series with Erika E. (week 2)

Kosher cheese pizza... yumm...

I’d like a large pizza with extra cheese, mushrooms, sausage, and broccoli.  But make sure the cheese is covering the whole pizza because I don’t like baldness, and actually, why don’t you hold the sausage?  I’d like someone who keeps kosher.  And while you’re there, make sure those mushrooms are well-educated, like maybe with a master’s or PhD.  And as for the broccoli, can you make sure it’s a certain height because I only want it if it’s tall.  Could I get that to go?  Thanks.

Someone recently told me that online dating was like ordering a pizza.  At first I laughed at that analogy, then I cringed, and then I realized that he was right.  We are all looking for that on-paper perfect mate.  And since online dating sites give so much choice in the matter, we think it’s our right to have everything we’re looking for.  Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with wanting certain things – I did – but what if someone out there looks good but doesn’t necessarily fit all of those objective criteria.  What’s a single in DC to do?  I’d venture to say – try ‘em out anyway.

When we walk into a bar (or trivia night, as the case may be) and see someone we like, that guy or girl doesn’t have a chart attached to his or her forehead full of credentials, stats, and dislikes.  (Wouldn’t that be a pretty funny sight?!)  We trust our instincts; we go with chemistry.  But online, we have so much information that it’s almost too easy to discard someone simply because he is only 5’5 or she has a fondness for US Weekly rather than the latest issue of The Economist.  (I’m not saying I know anyone like that. ;))

I was chatting with someone recently who met her boyfriend at a climbing wall.  They had known each other for a while, and ironically enough, when they eventually started dating, he came up as one of her matches on OkCupid that week.  She looked at his profile and said, “I would have never gone out with him after reading this.”  I guess she thought she was in the mood for a Hawaiian pizza, but in reality, what she wanted was much simpler – plain cheese.

So, go ahead, order whatever you want for dinner tonight, but when it comes to dating, there’s no check-box order to place.  Give people the benefit of the doubt because in the end after meeting in person, chemistry may trump all to give you the slice of your life.

…….

Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, helping people find success in online dating and getting them excited about its possibilities. “Like” A Little Nudge on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

Got burning questions you want answered in a future post?  E-mail date411@alittlenudge.com

Past dating articles by Erika E:

1) Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day