Meet Julia: Jewish Book Club Founder of the Week


Allie: What brought you to DC?

Julia: I am from Denver and moved to DC in 2014 without a job, right after graduating with my masters in public policy because I love this city. I’d spent three college summers interning in DC and knew I wanted to be here. I moved into an apartment that I actually found through Gather’s housing board.

Allie: That is amazing! Tell me more about this apartment.

Julia: I moved into this beautiful, special apartment in Dupont Circle. It was a two bedroom apartment that was converted into a four bedroom in 2009 by a group of Jewish girls. They kept a kosher kitchen, and the apartment has since been passed down from Jewish girl to Jewish girl since 2009. I think to date, almost everyone who has moved in found out about it through Gather’s housing board. I’m not being paid to say this! In my time there I lived with 10 different women, and am still friends with all of them. 

Allie: Where did your interest in public policy come from?

Julia: I volunteered on the Obama campaign in 2008, and that’s where I started getting into policy and politics and how they are intertwined. I volunteered on a number of campaigns and government offices after that. After graduating with a masters in public policy, I worked doing natural oil and gas policy, and now work as a small woman-owned consulting firm called WWC, where my clients have been the US State Department and Navy.

Allie: Walk me through your perfect day in DC.

Julia: It would be a sunny spring-time day after the cherry blossom rush but before humidity hits. I’d go for brunch in the morning, likely at Boqueria. Then, I’d go on a monument walking tour of DC. I have a special route I like doing whenever people visit me in DC. It starts in Dupont, goes to the White House, then past the White House to the Washington Monument, then to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, and then around the corner to the FDR Memorial, to the MLK Memorial, back to the Mall, then through the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial. If you have it in you, we’d then walk to Baked and Wired in Georgetown for a cupcake. I’d eat at Sakana in Dupont, which is my favorite sushi restaurant. I’d end the day in Kramerbooks, followed by a White Ford Broncos concert.

Allie: With the New Year fast approaching, what are you most looking forward to in 2020?

Julia: I am getting married this year in August! I’m very excited about that. I’m also excited for a new election and being able to get a fresh start.


Allie: What are your go to ways to relax?

Julia: Being busy is relaxing for me. I run a book club, we read books written by women and meet once a month. I am also involved in the ADL’s Glass Leadership Institute this year, I’ve been taking weekly Hebrew classes, and volunteer as a Sixth & I ambassador where I help out at their events. 

Allie: How did this book club come about? 

Julia: I had a bunch of friends who were moving away from DC because this city is very transient, and I wanted to find an organized way to get all of my friends together. I sent out an email to my girlfriends and said we should start a book club, I told them to bring a friend, and made the only parameter that we read books written by women because I had read an article that women authors aren’t paid as much – so I figured let’s have women support other women. We read a variety of types of books, from The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood to Becoming by Michelle Obama, and we just read City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. I send out a Google poll for people to vote on the book we read and a Doodle poll to select the meeting dates. We meet every month where we talk about the book, drink wine, and eat cheese.

Allie: What three books would you recommend to people to read over the winter holidays?

Julia: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, Educated by Tara Westover and Where the Crawdad Sings by Delia Owens.

Allie: Who is your Jewish role model?

Julia: My mom. She always made Judaism so fun and important for me growing up. 

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Julia: Fun is sure to be had!


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.

Top 5 Chinese Restaurants for Jews on Christmas 

Over the years, one of my favorite “Jewish” traditions has been going out for Chinese food with my family on Christmas – or simply getting some Chinese delivery. 

Have you ever wondered, “how did this tradition come about?” Like many Jewish traditions, this one started in the Jewish “homeland”. Nope, not Israel. I’m talking about a tradition that was started in our other homeland – New York’s Lower East Side. 

Author of “The Fortune Cookie Chronicles”, Jennifer 8. Lee wrote, “[At the turn of the century], Jews and Chinese were the two largest non-Christian immigrant groups. So, there was a natural bond between these two cultures.” Jennifer goes on to say that going back three or four generations, Jews and Chinese weren’t just united by living next to each other, but Jews were self-conscious about being outsiders. At Chinese restaurants, Jews found an ally in their Chinese neighbors in the form of shared sweet and sour flavors.

This history of our tribe’s love of Chinese food is also associated with the comfortable level of being more kashrut, since after all, Chinese food is also an easier cuisine to separate milk from meat. It gives the illusion of keeping kashrut because Chinese cuisine rarely contains milk. 

Here are the top 5 Chinese restaurants in the DMV to enjoy during Christmas. Since I’m vegan, all the Chinese restaurants aren’t only written up by The Washington Post and Washingtonian, but also offer the essential vegan Chinese food – veggie spring rolls! That being said, I brought my non-vegan Mother along with me to nosh on this Jewish/Chinese/Christmas experience.

So, if you decide to go out for Chinese food or snuggle up with some Chinese carry-out and binge watch your favorite movies, these are the top Chinese restaurants to go to on Christmas. ‘Tis the season for spring rolls!  


Full Key

chinese food

This Hong Kong regional speciality restaurant has been a mainstay on the “Top Cheap Eats” in DC by the Washingtonian since the 1980s for good reason. It’s a great place to frequent, especially on Christmas because the dishes are all family style portions and can be comfortably shared. The atmosphere is set with hot tea, on the tables, dumpling soups sizzling, and signature pan fried noodles full of Asian veggies and seafood. Although Full Key is known for their seafood, their eggplant in garlic sauce is mouth-watering and served in abundance, which is a nice option for those of us keeping kosher. Full Key’s veggie spring rolls feature black bamboo shoots, watercress, and are served hot and crispy. They are definitely worth ordering!                                                                                                                     

Xi’an Gourmet 

xian gourmet                                                                                                      

While there are so many amazing East Asian restaurants in Rockville, Xi’an Gourmet is a stand out with its fancy modern Asian decor and gourmet twist on East Asian food that incorporates

cumin and other unique spices. Don’t sleep on the sesame Shaanxi cold steamed noodles, cold cucumbers, and my mother’s favorite – cumin roasted lamb satay, which almost has a Indian/Pakistani like flavor. Xi’an Gourmet also has moderately priced beer and wine selection, which includes my favorite, Coronas. After all, what’s a better mix than Mexican beer and Chinese food? L’chaim!                                                                                                                                            

East Pearl

east pearl

East Pearl is another gem in Rockville, featuring Hong Kong Cuisine. The restaurant also offers a separate menu with more traditional Chinese dishes. They are known for their “spectacular” Soyed chicken, as noted in the Washingtonian. The staff is also very accommodating to adjust to different dietary restrictions. Their Singapore noodles with shrimp and jalapeno, crispy spring rolls, and peking duck makes for a festive Jewish Christmas in an open restaurant that is tastefully decorated with painted Asian flowers all over the walls.                                                                                      

Yuan Fu

yuan fu

If your family reminds you of the aunt in My Big Fat Greek Wedding who says, “You don’t eat no meat? I make you lamb,” I probably wouldn’t recommend taking them to Yuan Fu. However, if your family members can get over the shock of an all-vegetarian Chinese restaurant, they will find that this spot has a lot to offer, especially if you keep kosher. Since its very hard to find vegan authentic hot and sour soup, Yuan Fu’s is so amazing! Try the cold sesame noodles. They are super delicious and refreshing! If you are watching your calories, Yuan Fu a good choice since they offer a menu of low oil dishes too. There coconut juice is  served in an actual coconut and sipped through a straw, adding to a festive holiday spirit. 


New Big Wong

new big wongNew Big Wong is a mainstay in Chinatown for Jews on Christmas. This Cantonese restaurant, located below Rita’s Italian Ice, serves portions that are family style, reasonably priced, and perfect for holiday sharing. Some outstanding dishes include peking duck, moo shu dishes of all sorts, sesame noodles and, of course, my go to favorite veggie spring rolls served with hoisin sauce. New Big Wong offers Spanish and Italian wines. Keep in mind, it’s much cheaper to buy a bottle of wine for a group, instead of ordering by the glass. Dim sum is also served on weekends.

Before you go off and make your Christmas dining plans, I’d be remiss not to mention Ruan Thai. Although not a Chinese restaurant, this Wheaton spot has amazing veggie spring rolls, mango sticky rice, and drunken noodles – and they are open on Christmas.


micheleAbout the Author: Michele Amira is a nice Jewish girl,  DC based journalist, spoken word artist, and vegan. When not writing, she might be found Israeli dancing,  listening to hip-hop, and enjoying a l’chaim (toast) with her favorite drink – margaritas on the rocks. 





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.

DC Hanukkah Guide 2019


Ah Hanukkah, that magical winter holiday that brings about the feistiest of debates about sour cream and applesauce, epic dreidel tournaments (because that’s a thing that probably happens somewhere), and classic Adam Sandler carols to sing ‘round the fire.

So, whether you spell it Hanukkah, Chanukah, Hannukkah, or Chanukkah (we’re going with Hanukkah), we can all agree that dreidels are not made out of clay.

Anyway, here’s a roundup of some awesome DC Hanukkah parties, recipes, and gift ideas for your best Hanukkah ever.

P.S. Don’t see your event listed? Add it here.

P.P.S. This list will be regularly updated, so please check back for new events and celebrations.

Pre-Hanukkah Events

Saturday, December 14

Sunday, December 15

Monday, December 16

Tuesday, December 17

Wednesday, December 18

Thursday, December 19

Friday, December 20

Saturday, December 21

Hanukkah: December 22 – December 30

December 22, 2019

December 23, 2019

December 24, 2019

December 25, 2019

December 26, 2019

December 27, 2019

December 28, 2019

December 29, 2019

December 30, 2019


Hanukkah Recipes

Hanukkah Blogs

Hanukkah Songs

8 Cool Hanukkah Gifts Your Friends Will Love

Hanukkah is just around the corner. Looking for a cool gift for your friends? We’ve got you covered like applesauce on a latke. For the 8 crazy nights, we’ve got you hooked up with 8 crazy cool gifts:

Jewish Wine Labels (Set of 8) ($20)

wine labels

Wine is always a cool gift. Wine with these labels are even cooler. Order a set of 8 that can be applied to a bottle of your choice, and you’ll be set for every Hanukkah party!


PowerPic Wireless Charging Picture Frame ($80)

Take a picture, it will last longer. Take a picture, print it, frame it, and have your friend charge their phone on top of it. You can choose a black or white frame. This is a great gift for basically anyone, and will definitely get lots of use. 


Create Your Own Reel Finder ($30)


Have a friend you’ve known for FOREVER? Like one of those childhood friends that you went to camp with, took baths with as babies, and is your ride or die best bud? This 90’s-inspired reel finder is the perfect gift for them. Capture the nostalgic feel of a 90’s beach vacation photo album with a custom reel finder from UncommonGoods. You can upload 7 images of favorite memories that your friend can cherish for years to come. 


TV-Show Edition Guess Who ($50-$60)

guess who

For the friend that is constantly binging Friends and The Office from start to finish 10 times a year, could this BE a better gift? Is your character the youngest vice president in Dunder Mifflin history? Did your character have a stuffed penguin? This custom board game will keep your friends occupied for hours and put to test who is the true all-time fan.


Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Good: Larry David and the Making of Seinfeld and Curb ($13)

larry david

If there was a Mount Rushmore of Jewish actors, Larry David would be on it (he’d also hate the list). On top of recounting how Seinfeld and Curb were conceived, this game explores Larry’s relationships with Richard Lewis, Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, and the cast of Seinfeld, and contains an in-depth episode guide to Curb Your Enthusiasm. It is a perfect gift for fans of the “chat-and-cut”. Pair this book with a set of “Do You Respect Wood” Coasters for added fun. 


Homesick Candles (Holidays, States & Cities) ($30)


Know a friend who couldn’t make it home for the holidays? Or maybe they have that one special place that they love to visit? These homesick candles trigger those warm memories with scents reminiscent of each destination. Hand-poured, soy wax candles, they were formulated with input from locals in individual states for thoughtfully authentic aromas. Choose from the potato latke, apple sauce smell of the Hanukkah candle, the salty air and sweet shopping scent of Long Island, or the palm trees and orange slices of Miami, to name a few.


Hamsa Mezze Server ($60)


Help your friend serve up good times and delicious food for their Hanukkah party, housewarming or game day with this beautiful Hamsa-shaped serving set. Use the five removable sections for snacks and dips, and the tray is a good size for cheese or mezze spreads. 


Aromatherapy Heatable Slippers ($48)


Ready to sit back? These heatable slippers are the perfectly relaxing finishing touch to help your friends warm up and unwind throughout the cold winter. The insoles are filled with organic lavender and flax seeds. Pop them in the microwave and enjoy a toasty, aromatic treat-yourself moment. 


For more cool Hanukkah gift ideas, visit the I Give Cool Gift’s Hanukkah page and challah at me if you need any Custom Gift Suggestions this holiday season. 



blakeAbout the Author: Blake Band founded and runs I Give Cool Gifts, the ultimate destination for gift giving inspiration. A DC-area native and resident, Blake works for Streetsense, the marketing and design collective based in Bethesda. An avid photography and district explorer, Blake spends his time playing soccer and kicking back with his friends watching movies and sports. 








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.

Meet Matt: Jewish Linguist of the Week!


Allie: What brought you to DC?

Matt: I’m a DC area native. I grew up in Potomac, MD so for me, coming back to DC was a sensible step to be closer to my family. I missed DC after being away for a while in Israel and then Philly. I missed the greenery, the funky neighborhoods, the beautiful architecture, and the incredible bookstores.

Allie: What were you doing in Israel?

Matt: I was in Israel for a year and a half starting in July 2017. I speak a bunch of different languages including Hebrew, Arabic, and Yiddish, and while living there, I got to use these languages almost every day. I was working as a PR freelancer to fund my experience there, and was mostly there to travel and explore. I traveled to 120 different towns and cities in Israel and 10 different European countries. I blogged about all of it, so you can read about some of my adventures

Allie: I hear you recently landed a job as the new director of GLOE. Tell me about that!

Matt: Full disclosure, today is my second day on the job. But, GLOE is the Gay and Lesbian Outreach and Engagement program of the EDCJCC. It’s the only program of its kind through a JCC in the country. It’s social, cultural, spiritual, and offers people an opportunity for queer Jews to really plug into a Jewish space. It also offers Jewish institutions that are not specifically from this community an opportunity to make their spaces more welcoming and engaging for the LGBTQ+ community. If you’re interested in plugging in, reach out to me!

Allie: What are you most excited about for this role?

Matt: I get to be in my space! I’ve spent a lot of time working in refugee and immigrant communities, where I was in a mostly Latino community, so it’s very different that I get to work in a Jewish and gay space where I don’t have to explain anything about myself. I have so many allies around who get it.

Allie: Are there any GLOE events coming up people should know about?

Matt: Nice Jewish Boys is hosting a Latke Cook-off on December 14th. GLOE is hosting a volunteer event at the Edlavitch DCJCC on December 25th as part of the broader D25 community event.


Allie: Describe your perfect DC day.

Matt: First, I’ll go to Torah Brunch at Bread Furst, and then walk around the Hillwood Estate. Then, I’ll go to a few bookstores. Some of my favorites are The Lantern, Second Story Books, and Kramer Books. I might read at Teaism after the bookstores. For dinner, I’ll go to Paragon Thai. The people there are so nice – for my birthday one year, they gave me gifts. I love Paragon Thai – go visit! After dinner, I’d like to go to my favorite language exchange event where you write the languages you speak on a nametag and can walk around and practice with people.

Allie: What are all the languages do you speak?

Matt: English, Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Catalan, and intermediate Yiddish. 

Allie: What about language interests you and how did you ever manage to learn all of these?!

Matt: I love language because it just opens your mind to a different world, you can meet new friends, and you learn about different ways of being and thinking. For me, I’m a big music fan so I will sometimes learn a language because I like the music that it’s sung in. I usually learn languages from a private tutor, and practicing and teaching. I actually teach Hebrew, Spanish, and French. If you want to learn a language – contact me. I think private tutoring is the most effective way to learn, and then you need to use it.

Allie: Are there other languages you want to learn?

Matt: Oh my god, yes. I’ve studied some Greek and am considering taking German or Italian. I found a language exchange person who knows Romanian and wants to learn Spanish, so hopefully we will get together and learn from each other. 

Allie: What’s your favorite language?

Matt: I like Spanish because you can use it almost everywhere in America. French makes me relaxed. But I love all of them.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Matt: They can and should find interesting questions to ask each other besides “What do you do?”


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.

Meet Sam: Jewish Moishe House Resident of the Week!


Allie: What brought you to DC?

Sam: I was living in Indonesia as part of the Boren Scholars, which is a year-long post-grad language program. I went before officially graduating from the University of Maryland because I wasn’t ready to enter the workforce just yet. I decided to go, learn a new language, and then would work for the government in DC when I came back. 

While I was in Indonesia, I felt far removed from any sense of Jewish community, and decided to apply to be a Moishe House resident in DC. I’d heard about Moishe House from my friend Alyssa Silva, a former resident. I applied to live in Moishe House Capitol Hill and unfortunately didn’t make the cut, but luckily they forwarded my application to Moishe House Northern Virginia and I got in! 

Allie: What was your experience like in Indonesia?

Sam: It was a small cohort of 11 people, and was unlike any experience I’ve ever had. I lived with a host family, and spoke Bahasa which is the national language. But, there are hundreds of local languages in Indonesia, and where I lived most people spoke Javanese. 

Before that experience I had always lived in very Jewish environments, growing up in Jewish day school and then going to the University of Maryland. When I get to Indonesia, people didn’t know anything about Jews or if they did, it was likely a conspiracy theory. Judaism is not one of their recognized religions, which is a problem for the underground Jewish communities there. I told my host family about my Jewish religion after the Pittsburgh massacre, because my grandparents live in Pittsburgh and it was a very emotional time for me. I was really lost and didn’t know what to do, and tried explaining to them where I was coming from and how I was feeling. They were understanding about it. 

Allie: Was that your first experience studying abroad? 

Sam: No. After high school, I went to Bar Ilan University for their Israel Experience One Year Program and took college classes and Judaic studies classes. In the evenings I was a volunteer first responder

Allie: Describe your dream day in NoVA.

Sam: Waking up at 9:00am and then finish prepping the food I’d started last night for a Moishe House brunch event. My friends would come and we’d have a lot of people enjoying brunch, and maybe get tipsy on mimosas. Then probably walk around Arlington with my girlfriend Sarah, maybe do some jump roping. I’d end the day going swing dancing in DC.


Allie: Why did you decide to apply to Moishe House?

Sam: At college, I studied International Development & Conflict Management, and Global Terrorism. I dedicated a lot of my academic career to understanding extremism, and how to combat it by taking a whole society approach and mobilizing communities to create acceptance and strive for dialogue. Part of why I joined Moishe House was so I could take what I learned from a community building perspective and put it into practice.

Allie: What is it like living in Moishe House NoVA?

Sam: It’s a surprising adventure every day. It’s been a real growth experience from a personal standpoint and a programmatic standpoint as I learn to create events people actually want to go to, manage a budget, and send newsletters. It wouldn’t be successful if we didn’t put in the effort to build relationships with people, go to other events, and make things happen. I’m eternally grateful for this opportunity. 

Allie: What’s your favorite Moishe House event you’ve planned?

Sam: I love our Shabbat dinners. Our Shabbat dinners can get even rowdier than our parties. Some of our community members aren’t Jewish and come because they’re just interested in exploring Judaism or are in interfaith relationships, and I love opening the door and helping other people experience Shabbos.

moishe house

Allie: Are there any fun Moishe House events coming up you want people to know about?

Sam: Yes, we are partnering with the Anti-Defamation League on Sunday, December 8th to do a Words to Action training on Anti-semitism. The following Sunday we’re hosting a Babka and Bonfires event in our backyard. We’re also looking for a new resident, so if you’re interested, please fill out this application to join the house!

Allie: What’s on your bucket list?

Sam: Go skiing in Switzerland, where my dad is from. This year, I also want to go to more swing dancing classes.

Allie: If you could invite anyone, what three people would you want to invite to your Shabbat dinner?

Sam: I’d want to build the best conversation that can actually go somewhere. So I’d say Barack Obama, Israeli author Etgar Keret, and Harvard professor Ruth Wisse.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Sam: Connections are made. 

moishe house

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.

Meet Alex: Jewish History Buff of the Week!

Alex Fosco is GatherDC’s brand new Community Coordinator and she cannot wait to meet you! Get to know all about Alex’s love of Mesopotamian pottery, costuming, and wine. Email her or comment below to welcome her to the team.

alex f

Allie: What brought you to DC?

Alex: I was planning to move to New York after graduating from Penn State this past May, but came to DC for a job and never wanted to leave. I love all of the food and breweries here. I’m very food motivated.

Allie: What did you study in college?

Alex: I studied history and anthropology. I focused on early history: the Levantine era and Mesopotamian pottery. I like history because I love understanding people. History is very informative in who we are, our current cultures, and the foundations of humanity. I like to see the trends and comparisons overtime between where we are and where we were. This has a huge impact on how I view the world.

Allie: Have you ever been on an anthropological dig?

Alex: Yes! I got to study in Israel and do a dig at Tel Akko, which was an Ottoman city. Fun fact, I broke a field record there by collecting 64 buckets of pottery shards. 

Allie: Walk me through your dream day in DC.

Alex: I’d wake up and have a nice cup of coffee with my french press. Then, I’d leave the house at 11:00 am so I can make sure I’ve had enough alone time before I go out into the world. I’d hop on the circulator and meet up with my partner Tyler in Georgetown, even though it might take him an extra half an hour to get there because he’s always late. We’ll stop at a couple of the bookstores there. I’d walk out with too many books because I have no self control when it comes to buying books. 

After that, I’d go watch a $5 movie at AMC because they have that deal on Tuesdays (on my dream day it’s Tuesday). Then, go to Thunder Burger and stop by the nearby wine store afterwards. I’d like to end the evening in the Mt. Pleasant area so I can visit Tyler’s roommate’s dog, a giant Bernese Mountain dog. I’ll end the day watching something funny on Netflix or Hulu.


Allie: What is on your bucket list this coming year?

Alex: I really want to do an international trip and visit my friend in Norway.

Allie: What is your favorite Jewish holiday or food?

Alex: As an adult, I’d say Purim because of the story and I love going out. From a nostalgic perspective, I’d say Passover. It’s hard because I love carbs a lot. It’s always such a wholesome, familial activity. I’d take Passover over Thanksgiving.

Allie: What are you most looking forward to in your role with Gather?

Alex: I’m excited to meet all of the vibrant personalities in DC. So far, I’ve met so many people in my personal experience and there is so much variety in terms of where people come from, what their Jewish life looks like, what their jobs are. I hope to meet you at our happy hour tomorrow night or if not, definitely email me and we can grab coffee sometime. I love coffee.

Allie: What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?

Alex: I used to do live action role play, which is basically an unscripted play where you get to be a character in the Dungeons & Dragons story. This was part of a full-contact sport that included sword fighting and costuming. I still enjoy costuming. 

Allie: What do you like most about costuming?

Alex: I got into costuming because of my history major, but also like pop-culture costuming as well. It’s a lot of work, but you have a beautiful final product. This year, I want to volunteer with community theater in DC and help them with their costuming.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Alex: There better be bagels.



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.

Giving Tuesday with GatherDC: Yoga and Bagels

giving tuesday banner

It’s almost time for Giving Tuesday and that means we’re feeling all mushy and grateful for our community members who make it possible for Gather to even exist (yes, that’s you).
To show you how much we appreciate you, we’ve decided that instead of celebrating this global giving movement with tons of emails and posts asking for money – we’re just going to invite you to a gratitude themed vinyasa yoga class led by Gather’s in-house yoga teacher Allie Friedman (200 hour RYT) followed by a Call Your Mother bagel breakfast.
What: A 45 minute all-levels yoga class, followed by breakfast and schmoozing
When: Tuesday, December 3rd | Yoga at 7:30am, Breakfast to follow at 8:30am
Where: Our townhouse, 1817 M St NW
Who: Any 20s/30s across Jewish DC
Cost: Free with optional $18 donation (Donate below or Venmo @GatherDC)

If you’re unsure if it’s worth it to wake up early for this gathering, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to provide you with a pro/con list: 

Reasons to come
You’ll enjoy 1-2 hours in your Giving Tuesday that don’t involve being bombarded with emails asking for money
• You’ll start the day feeling calm, energized, and dare we say happier
• When you show up to work at 9am, you can humblebrag to your coworker about how you’ve taken a full yoga class before they had their morning coffee
• You might meet a new best friend
• Call Your Mother bagels (*mic drop*)

Reasons not to come
• You hate getting an early start to the day
• You’ve never left a yoga class feeling better than you did before
• You don’t believe in carbs or caffeine
• You hate meeting awesome people

Oh, and if yoga is not your thing – you’re welcome to just come for the bagels! Convinced? Great. Sign up below.
P.S. We are so grateful to Sunomi and Call Your Mother for generously donating bagels and a special switchel drink to fuel us up after yoga class.



Payment Information


Donated Monthly

atherDC welcomes the participation of people of all abilities, backgrounds, gender identities, and sexual orientations. GatherDC ​fosters inclusive communities​​​ and strive​s​ to accommodate all needs whenever possible. If you require special accommodations, please contact us​ in advance of the event​ at (202) 656-0743, and we will make every effort to meet your needs.

By attending, you understand that photographs and/or video may be taken at this event, and your picture may appear on the GatherDC website, publications, or other media.




Meet Lilly: Jewish Outdoorswoman of the Week!

When she’s not running around to one of the EIGHT different hotels she does HR for, you might find Lilly Andorsky trekking through Harper’s Ferry, biking around the city, or enjoying a delicious Chinese food dinner. Get to know this happy-go-lucky, nature loving woman!


Allie: What led you to DC?

Lilly: I grew up in Columbia, Maryland and went to school in Charleston, South Carolina, and after graduating I decided to come back home. I was having FOMO being away from my family.

Allie: How did you get involved in hospitality?

Lilly: I went to school to be in event planning, and after doing internships with event planners I realized it was not what I wanted to do. So, I started working at a resort in Charleston, South Carolina and realized I really liked the HR aspect of that job. I work for Crestline Hotels and Resorts, and support 8 hotels in the DMV area.

Allie: Walk me through your perfect DC day:

Lilly: I would wake up and have a cup of coffee. It would be a beautiful fall day. It would be a weekday so everyone else is working and it wouldn’t be crowded in the city. I would go for a 20-25 mile bike ride around DC, and then stop for some lunch. I’d like to get in a little hike as well, and at the end of the day have a massage. For dinner, I’d go out for Chinese food.


Allie: Where are your favorite places to hike?

Lilly: I like to hike in Shenandoah, especially Old Rag. I love Sugarloaf because it starts out very woodsy and then there’s a beautiful overlook. I also like Harpers Ferry, my friends and I camp the night before and then do the Overlook Trail in the morning. I just like being being outdoors and around nature, especially when I can be without my phone and computer.

Allie: What’s on your bucket list for this year or goals you have?

Lilly: I don’t really like to set goals. I just want to be happy and keep it simple.

Allie: Who is your Jewish role model?

Lilly: My mother. She’s just great. She enjoys life and makes sure to uphold her Jewish identity. She’s a first generation American and her father was a Holocaust survivor. As I’ve grown older, I’ve gained a deeper understanding about how life wasn’t so easy for her. She had a very different upbringing than normal American children. When I was growing up, my mom made an effort to create a Jewish household and I appreciate that. She’s my best friend.


Allie: What is your favorite Jewish holiday and why?

Lilly: Passover. The second night my parents always host Seder, and I love it because my dad leads us in “Pesach Jeopardy”. We start off with a shot of tequila. It’s just 30 adults having a really great time. He used to do it on notecards but now he does it on a PowerPoint. It’s really fun.

Allie: What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?

Lilly: My birth story is in the Library of Congress. My dad was in Desert Storm when my mom went into labor with me. And through a small coincidence, he was able to come home for my birth. My mom reached out to StoryCorps to tell this story, and everything they record is in the Library of Congress

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Lilly: They laugh.



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.

A Nice Jewish Girl’s Guide to Noshing at Taim

taim falafel

Israeli Chef Einat Admony and her husband Stéfan Nafziger recently opened a new, vegetarian Israeli restaurant called Taïm in Georgetown. I recently went to discover if Taïm truly lives up to its namesake, which means “tasty” in Hebrew. 

I was personally very excited to nosh at Taïm because I’m vegan and appreciated their mostly plant based – and kosher – menu. I was happy to discover that their falafel was so crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, light, and overall delicious! To me, good falafel is like manna from heaven. 

Chef Admony explains:

“I really believe Israeli food is vegetable-centric. It’s also a melting pot of flavors from Morocco to Eastern Europe. It’s all about choices.” 

Taïm highlights the Jewish diaspora cuisine with spices of saffron, cumin, and tahina. Chef Admony proves that there’s so much more flavor to Israeli food than just tahina. She says:

“The difference between Israeli cuisine compared to other cuisines is much like us [Jews], Israeli cooking is a melting pot of flavors. It comes from a lot of different cultures that came together throughout Israel.

What’s nice about Taïm is that although much they prepare is naturally vegan, it’s NOT a strictly a vegan restaurant. So, it’s also inclusive to family members who don’t want to eat a strictly vegan diet.

For example, my mother who is not about that “vegan life” was able to enjoy Taïm’s fries with a saffron aioli, which was sadly not vegan due to the eggs in the sauce. She also loved the Iraqi dish, sabich pita sandwich. It looked so delicious and fresh! If you are an egg enthusiast, then try this fluffy pita sandwich stuffed with tender fried eggplant, sliced hard boiled egg, amba (mango sauce–a personal favorite) tahina, and salad. The staff at Taïm is very accommodating and happy to make any dish vegan if they are asked, including the sabbich. 

Taïm is so much for than falafel and hummus. It’s selection of kosher mezze reflects Admony’s Israeli heritage (Yemenite and Persian). Some other amazing “must try mezzes” on the menu are:

  • Hummus: It is full of zaatar seasoning and freshly made by the batch. 
  • Spanish Eggplant: A delicious compote of eggplant and tomato. Taïm’s Spanish eggplant is not your pre-made glatt kosher eggplant and tomato compote served family simchas and shul onegs. It’s freshly made, and actually tastes a bit like cold eggplant parmesan. 
  • Moroccan Carrots: This incorporates harissa, which gives it a nice little bite. 
  • Tabouli: It’s a good find, full of fresh herbs and is light! 
  • Vegan Baba ganoush: This is my personal favorite on the menu. Most baba ganoush contains egg, making it almost impossible for vegans (such as myself) to enjoy. Like the well-known scene in the movie “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” when Adam Sandler eats the hummus with the spoon, that’s how I enjoyed my baba ganoush at Taïm..

Chef Admony incorporates spices from all over the Middle East. While there are many chefs opening Israeli restaurants, Admony is making her name in a male-dominated cooking world. After all, to be a true balaboosta, you need a whole lot of chutzpah (audacity) and ruach (spirit), both of which Admony has in spades. The pricing of Taïm is reasonable. However, the side mezzes can start to add up and it can be hard to choose which ones to get. Taïm also offers a selection of seltzers. After all, seltzer is the Jewish champagne. 



Editor’s note: Instagram has informed us that if you show your DC Kosher phone card holder, you can get a 10% discount during November. You can get one of these phone backs from Ohev Shalom (@JewsofDC).




micheleAbout the Author: Michele Amira is a nice Jewish girl,  DC based journalist, spoken word artist, and vegan. When not writing, she might be found Israeli dancing,  listening to hip-hop, and enjoying a l’chaim (toast) with her favorite drink – margaritas on the rocks. 





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.