Two weeks ago, someone shared with me that, for him, discipline is freedom. He closely watches his diet, works out regularly, studies diligently for grad school…in short, his regimen helps him be the person he wants to be. A week later, someone else shared with me that freedom means not having any rules. She listens […]
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
Passover commemorates the ancient Israelites’ exodus from slavery to freedom. The rabbis refer to Passover as “the time of our freedom.” And in our prayers we refer to Passover as “chag hacheirut” – the holiday of freedom. So if we’re going to try to connect to Passover in a meaningful way, we should probably talk […]
We all have moments of feeling inadequate – whether it’s for a specific task that we have to perform or a general sense that we’re not as great as the image we project. So, what should we do in those moments? Modern wisdom advises to “fake it til you make it.” Highlight the best version […]
It’s Hanukkah, and the malleable metaphor of light amidst darkness will inspire many important themes – hope amidst cynicism, clarity amidst doubt, joy amidst sadness, etc. But I think there’s a less obvious, yet no-less-important, theme related to the source of light – the oil. It’s hard to get pumped about something lasting longer than […]
Women have won a record number of primaries this summer, which has “led to more focus on the underrepresentation of women in public office.” Although there are many factors contributing to this problem, I wonder if God is partially to blame. Not God, per se, but the way we conceive of and talk about God. The […]
This Saturday night is Tisha B’Av, a holiday that is less familiar to many American Jews. On Tisha B’Av, we commemorate the major Jewish calamities that happened on this day, most significantly the destruction of the two Temples. The loss of our “religious home” was coupled with the loss of our actual homes. As we […]
Fun fact: Today is the Jewish holiday of Tu b’Shvat (literally – the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat), the new year for the trees. In terms of popularity, Tu b’Shvat is a bit of a “late-bloomer.” While today it has become a type of Jewish Arbor Day / Earth Day, it’s never […]
As the great poet Kanye West once pondered: “And the weather so breezy; man, why can’t life always be this easy?” Life is hard, and it seems to get harder the older we get. Like all great minds, Yeezy simply gives expression to our deepest desires. It’s no wonder, then, that some people have often […]
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 […]
I don’t watch nearly enough TV to know for sure, but it’s hard to imagine there’s a better pair of friends on-screen right now than Broad City’s Ilana and Abbi. So with the new season starting tonight (9/13), and with the High Holidays just a week away, I figured it’s a good time to address […]