For many American Jews, the three words most associated with Yom Kippur are: synagogue, prayer, and fasting. But that’s actually not what Yom Kippur is about. It’s about reflecting on your relationships – to yourself, to others, and to your Judaism. It’s about confronting the fact that your time on earth is limited. It’s about asking yourself – who am I, what do I value, and how do I want to live my life? Prayer, synagogue, and fasting might work for some, but for most – the idea of chanting unexplained liturgy in a foreign language is not likely to accomplish these goals.

So come to an alternative Yom Kippur experience that promises to be different than what you’ve experienced in the past. We’ll try to connect to the major themes of the day through thought-provoking talks, small-group discussions, study, personal reflection, and music.

Not in a synagogue. No liturgical prayer. No denominations. No knowledge of anything Jewish required; come just as you are – this is an open, welcoming space. All you need is the desire to connect, explore, and grow. 

This is intended for 20 and 30 somethings, post-college and pre-family. You can be Jewish or Jew-curious. Come with a partner, friends, or by yourself!

Date: Saturday, September 30th  

Time: 11 am to 1:15 pm

Location: Sauf Haus Beer Garden

This experience will be led by GatherDC Rabbi Aaron Potek and former Obama White House speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz.


Rabbi Aaron Potek is the Community Rabbi at GatherDC. He 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. 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.



Sarah Hurwitz is a political speechwriter who worked in the Obama White House, where she started as a senior speechwriter for President Obama and then became chief speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama. Before working at the White House, Sarah was a senior speechwriter on the Obama Campaign, chief speechwriter on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Presidential Campaign, and a lawyer. Sarah is currently working on a book about Judaism.


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