Meet Marissa: Jewish Flag Football Player of the Week!

Marissa Salzman is an event-planner by day (well, also nights and weekends), and flag football player by Sunday. Read on to meet this Purim and Queer Eye loving Jewish woman, and find out her number one event planning pro-tip.


Allie: What’s your perfect Sunday in DC?

Marissa: My perfect Sunday is sleeping in a bit, having a big cup of coffee, then playing flag football with my team, followed by a BBQ.

Allie: Tell me about your flag football team.

Marissa: I’ve been playing with them for years now. We have some solid players who have been on the team consistently, and some who come and go. It doesn’t matter how often you show up, we are always excited to have you play with us. It’s just a great atmosphere and world. Having so many people show up on the mall to play every week is just a really amazing community to be a part of.

football marissa

Allie: What’s your favorite way to relax at the end of a long work week?

Marissa: Shabbat dinner with friends. Or getting together with friends for dinner, drinks, something low key after a long work week.

Allie: If you could invite 3 people to have Shabbat dinner with, who would you choose and why?

Marissa: RBG, because any excuse to interact with RBG is a dream. I am going to cheat here a bit and say the new Fab Five, as the rest of my table. I, like many other people, have binge watched all of Queer Eye and I just love their message of acceptance, positivity, and the need for self worth and care.

Allie: What’s at the top of your life bucket list?

Marissa: Probably going to a race track and learning how to drive a race car.

Allie: What’s your favorite Jewish holiday and how do you celebrate it?

Marissa: I love Purim. I get together with friends, dress up, and go to a local synagogue to celebrate!

Allie: I hear you are really good at planning events. What’s your best piece of advice for planning an awesome event?

Marissa: Be prepared for something to go wrong. If you ever think everything will be exactly how you planned, it just won’t. Being able to think on the fly for solutions is really important.

Allie: What is a quote or piece of wisdom you like to live by?

Marissa: My mom has always said “This too shall pass.” It has always helped me through times of doubt or change.

Allie: What’s your favorite smell and why?

Marissa: Anything cooking or baking. Knowing that really good food is in your future is always a good thing.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Marissa: You will always play Jewish geography and know at least one person in common.


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.

District Shabbat Brings Judaism Back to Southwest

For more than a century, Washington’s Jewish community has thrived in the heart of the city. Since 1995, however, there has not been a Jewish synagogue in Southwest.

That’s about to change.

On Friday, October 19th, Washington Hebrew Congregation (WHC) will debut District Shabbat, a soulful, joyful, and musical Shabbat experience on the third Friday of every month at 555 Water Street SW.

Here’s a quick Q+A about this experience.

Q: What is District Shabbat?

A: It’s much more than a Shabbat service. This is a Shabbat experience led by WHC clergy and folk-rock musicians Dan Nichols and Alan Goodis. It’s a Friday evening that builds community through joyful, musical worship, learning, food, and drinks. If you’ve been to (or heard of) Washington Hebrew Congregation’s Metro Minyan service, you can expect a similar engaging, participatory vibe with District Shabbat, but WHC has incorporated some unique and exciting features. Read on!

Q: Who is it for?

A: Short answer: Everyone. You do not need to be a WHC member to attend!

Q: What happens at this Shabbat “experience”?

A: The night starts at 6:15 pm for a “Shot of Torah,” where drinks and appetizers are the opening to a spirited ­­discussion with WHC’s dynamic rabbis about the week’s Torah portion. That’s followed by a high-energy service at 7:00 pm, led by WHC’s rabbis and musicians Dan Nichols and Alan Goodis.

You can make it a complete night and sign up for one of their optional dinners:

  • Community Shabbat Dinner – An amazing catered dinner for adults held right at St. Augustine’s for $18.
  • The Rabbi’s Table – A prix fixe dinner at a hot nearby restaurant with one of WHC’s rabbis and a small group. It’s $50 and limited to just 20 people.

If you can’t stay for dinner, that’s fine too! There’s no charge for Shot of Torah and the service, but you need to RSVP either way.

WHC Shabbat

Q: Is this just for adults or can I bring my niece and nephew?

A: The Shot of Torah, District Shabbat Service, Community Shabbat DInner, and Rabbi’s Table are just for adults. You are more than welcome to bring your nieces, nephews, and friends with toddlers through kindergartners to “District Shabbat for Tots” at 5:30 pm! This fun and engaging service – also led by the WHC rabbis and musicians – is perfect for little ones. That service is followed by a free family-friendly Shabbat dinner (RSVP required) so both tummies and hearts will be full at the end of your evening.

Q: Where is it?

A: WHC holds District Shabbat (and District Shabbat for Tots) at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church – 555 Water Street SW, Washington, DC 20024 – right across the street from Arena Stage. Looking for public transportation options?  In addition to Metro’s Green Line Waterfront stop and the M-74 bus, which stops one block from St. Augustine’s, check out the free Wharf shuttle from L’Enfant Plaza and the Circulator’s SW Waterfront Route that runs from Eastern Market to L’Enfant Plaza.

Q: How can I sign up?

A: You can RSVP for the first District Shabbat on October 19th here. We hope to see you there!

metro minyan shabbat


About Washington Hebrew Congregation: Founded in 1852, Washington Hebrew Congregation serves more than 2,500 families throughout the region and is one of the most vibrant Reform congregations in the nation. Led by Senior Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig; Rabbis Susan N. Shankman, Aaron Miller, and Eliana Fischel; and Cantors Mikhail Manevich and Susan Bortnick, WHC has a deep commitment to social justice and provides a wide variety of opportunities for worship, community service, engagement, and education for all ages. Learn more at

The above is a sponsored blog post. 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 Emily: Jewish Go-Getter of the Week

Emily Rasowsky runs the Women in Technology Campaign, just opened a brand new boutique DC gym, teaches yoga, and goes running across the city. This is all OUTSIDE of her full time career as a digital customer experience strategist. Safe to say, this Jewish Person of the Week is inspiring everyone around her to seize the day and become go-getters of life. Read on.


Allie: How did you wind up living in DC?

Emily: I grew up living in New York and Las Vegas, and had a lot of family on the East Coast. I came here for college, and got a job at a digital agency right out of school and stayed here ever since. 

Allie: What was it like growing up in Las Vegas?

Emily: Vegas has a huge school district and tons of people live there. The strip itself is one large, concentrated part of town, every other place feels like a normal suburb. The major differences are: 1) You get exposed to things way earlier. Our biggest multiplexes were in casinos. The grocery store has a section to gamble. To go to Nordstrom’s, you have to drive by the World’s Largest Sex Shop. 2) Service industry jobs are huge so their career ambitions are different than in DC. It’s a warped world. but can also feel pretty normal. I do prefer the East Cost. It feeds me more. People are very driven here. Everyone has a purpose. People are interesting and doing interesting stuff for the world. 

Allie: What’s your dream DC day?

Emily: I really like fitness. I’m a yoga teacher. So some of the best days for me are when I have time to do something active. I’d like to wake up and go for a long run throughout the city and stop by the Georgetown waterfront, and run “The Exorcist” steps

Then, I’d grab brunch with my friends and go to an art gallery. I used to love going to the National Gallery of Art when I worked near there. If you sit in the Impressionist Painting Exhibit and find a docent and just listen to the docent’s stories, you’ll hear some crazy stories about wild times [of the artists]. It’s hilarious. The paintings are also so inspiring.

At night, I’d go to a nice dinner at Kyirisan in Shaw. It’s so good. It’s French-Asian fusion. They have some of the best pastries of the entire city. It’s such a a hidden gem.

Allie: Tell me about your side hustle as a yoga teacher.

Emily: In high school I hurt my knee running. So, I got into yoga as a form of physical therapy for that. I got a job at a yoga studio in high school, and then while in college at GW I became a certified yoga teacher. I started teaching at college and have been teaching at Yoga District ever since. I find it really stress relieving and therapeutic.

Allie: I hear you’re adding ANOTHER side hustle to the mix. What’s this one about?

Emily: I do a lot of really random stuff. Right now, I’m helping open up a fitness studio called Pulse. It’s kind of like Soul Cycle with a Versa-climber. You do it to music and you’re climbing at a 70-degree angle. You’re almost crawling at a vertical. It’s the most efficient workout for your body. It’s only a 30-minute workout and you burn the same amount of calories that you do in a 45-minute spin class. (*NOTE: GatherDC readers can get a FREE Pulse class with code EMILY at sign up.*)


Emily striking a pose for Pulse *Use code EMILY for a free class*

Allie: What is the Women in Technology Campaign and what’s your role in it?

Emily: Outside of work (as a digital marketing strategist), I run the Women in Tech CampaignWe identity and connect women in tech and tech adjacent roles across the globe. We provide them with a networking community and do strengths-based assessments to help people optimize themselves. We also work directly with organizations to help them identity people within their teams, and figure out how to to group and pair the right people with the right projects. If you’re only looking at people’s strengths and not their age, race, or gender, you’ll be able to see more impact and build inclusivity. 

Allie: How can someone get involved with Women in Tech?

Emily: Come to one of our quarterly strengths-based workshop, and then just get involved like you would with any other community. There are no strings attached. The goal is to be able to speak to each other in the words of strengths and community. Check it out on our website or on Facebook or Twitter.

Allie: How do you have the time and energy for all of this?

Emily: I’m really hyperactive. I have a lot of high-functioning anxiety and I get very energized by people and by community. I’m least happy when I’m just chilling at home and watching Netflix. That’s why yoga is such a blessing. It allows me to turn my brain off and have that space to relax.

Allie: What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?

Emily: Yom Kippur. It brings my family together in a way that they normally don’t, and is a moment to stop and reflect. Before the New Year, I do a lot of self-exploration and vision-boarding. To me, that’s so important. How beautiful is it that in the Jewish tradition, the most important time of the year is about self-reflection and growth?

Allie: When Jews of DC gather…

Emily: It’s welcoming and fun!



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.

Jewish Dog of the Month: Smushy!


Sarah: What is your name?

Smushy: My full legal name is Smushy Bagels Weinberg. Also known as Smush, The Smush, Smushala, SmushSmush, Smushybear, Lil’ Smush. Sometimes people think my name is Smoosh, but I’m ok with it.

Sarah: How did you get to DC?

Smushy: I moved here from Los Angeles! First my mommy moved to Maryland while I went to Dallas, our hometown, to stay with my grandparents. (They love me. Like, a lot.) Once mommy moved into the city, we went in the sky and then I saw mommy and became a DC girl!

Sarah: What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

Smushy: This is a toughie. In June, though, on a train to Baltimore, the little girl next to us said she’s never met a dog in her life that’s as cute as me, and bet there wasn’t any dog in the whole entire universe with a cuter face than mine. Maybe ‘cause it’s so smushy? But I thought that was really nice.

Sarah: If a genie could grant you 3 wishes, what would they be?

Smushy: Ooh, a genie! Ready? Clearly, I haven’t thought about this at all.

1) A big, giant, fenced, super-green park, just for me. (Was hoping to avoid this topic, because #firstimpressions, but I can be really shy and am nervous around other dogs.)

2) Endless cheese, cream cheese, chicken, salmon, apples…Maybe peanut butter. Strawberries. Omelettes. I’m getting hungry.

3) The third wish would be for no more hardwood floors in my world. I’m really not a fan of surface changes. It’s a thing. Sometimes I trip and fall, or will psych myself out and trip over my own paws. It may look cute, but no thanks. It’s scurry. Sometimes even tile is scary. Why can’t all floors just be carpet? Ugh.

Sarah: What’s your favorite Jewish holiday and why?

Smushy: This is crazy challenging, ‘cause I loove being a Jewish dog. One of my favorite toys is a stuffed dreidel I play with all year long. I love Chanukah, partly because it’s really funny (hilarious, actually) to listen to Mommy sing the blessings all by herself. Ha! I like to stare at her and tilt my head ‘til she laughs and lifts me to see the menorah. Sometimes I try to sing with her, or we’ll video-chat my grandparents to light the candles.

Rosh Hashanah is also a fave. The second I hear mommy start to cut up apples, I make a MAD DASH to the kitchen. I love, love apples. And mommy thinks my apple-crunching technique is precious perfection, so it’s a win-win.

Can we talk about PASSOVER? It’s extra fun if we go back home to Dallas for Seder. I get to sit under mommy’s chair and see my fam, plus there’s all this space to run around and play. Everyone tells me how cute I am, and sometimes they even drop their food just for me! I also have a Passover friend who lives there…Squeaky Frog. My favorite part, though, is the Passover cheesecake. Omg. Guys. If you’ve never had this cheesecake, are you even really living? I look forward to my couple bites all year long. Also, once I got to taste a matzah ball, and cinnamon apple farfel kugel.

Ok last, but not least, there’s Shabbat. However, disclaimer: Sometimes I’m alone – which I do not understand. Liike, have you seen my face? Have you met me? How could you not invite me?

Anyway, I like Shabbat when we share it. I love when mommy cooks and has friends over because she lets me sit at the table after like I’m one of the girls. Sometimes boys come over too. I’m way more open to meeting people here in DC than in LA. Maybe it’s ‘cause mommy’s friends here are so awesome.

Sarah: I get most excited when…

Smushy: Mommy gives me delicious food or when she refills my water bowl. I twirl around in circles really, really fast cause I’m so excited. Also, when I see someone I love who I haven’t seen in a while. I go crazy! I seriously get SO happy.


Sarah: My biggest fear is….

Smushy: Oh dear. Loaded question. The obvious answer would be thunderstorms, but I’m actually quite fearful of maybe most things.

We’ll start with sounds. Loud noises, not-so-loud noises…especially buses and large trucks. Occasionally I’ll decide the sound of the washing machine is absolutely terrifying. Also, if it’s really peaceful, and someone coughs or sneezes outta nowhere? Ah!

Then, other dogs, especially if I am in a room with a barker. Doesn’t matter if it’s a German Shepherd or a 6-lb. maltese, sometimes I’ll start to tremble. What else? When I see Mommy pick up my brush…..I’ll run the other way. If we’re on a walk and a leaf blows my way, sometimes it startles me. Gotta watch out for those killer leaves.

With so many fears, my mom says I’m really special. I am who I am.

(But if you’re a dog whisperer reading this, I’d really love to meet you. Just in case there’s still hope.)

Sarah: What is your spirit animal?

Smushy: Maybe my light purple dinosaur pillow? I don’t really understand the question.

smushy dog


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 Mark: Jewish Camper of the Week!

Mark Nathanson loves being outside. You might find him kayaking around Roosevelt Island, trekking through the Appalachian Trail, or pitching a tent in Shenandoah National Park. That last one, you can actually join him for this October. Read on! 


Allie: What’s your favorite thing about camping?

Mark: I am going to cheat because I definitely can’t narrow it down to just one. I really like the inherent disconnect camping creates, allowing you to appreciate the experience as well as build meaningful relationships without the distractions of day to day life. Also, you get to see some crazy beautiful stuff that pictures can’t even capture.

Allie: How was the GatherDC camping trip idea born?

Mark: I am pretty sure it came out of a discussion with Daniel Wasserman, another one of our fearless leaders, and the one and only, Aaron Potek. We somehow discovered we are all really into camping and were trying to schedule a weekend to go to Shenandoah. We were debating who to invite, and Daniel was like “What if we just invite the entire DC Jewish community?” 

Allie: What’s your favorite way to relax at the end of a long work week?

Mark: Honestly, nothing beats a good ole Shabbat dinner. Enjoying some good food and wine with friends while catching up on everybody’s week. 

Allie: What is your dream day in DC, from start to finish?

Mark: It would start with no rain and no humidity. Then I would basically spend the whole day outside whether that be kayaking around Roosevelt Island, hiking in Rock Creek Park or going on a long run with friends (my marathon is just around the corner). Then, if I can pair up the outside adventuring with a picnic, I am all set.

Allie: What’s your favorite Jewish holiday and how do you like to celebrate it?

Mark: I would have to say Purim. I think it is pretty underrated, but actually one of the most fun Jewish holidays. My favorite part is definitely making and eating hamantaschen. Plus, I recently learned about savory hamantaschen which was a game-changer.

Allie: What’s at the top of your life bucket list?

Mark: Maybe a thru hike on the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) or AT (Appalachian Trail), or some kind of hardcore backpacking adventure. 

grand canyon

Allie: Who is your Jewish role model?

Mark: Definitely my grandfather.

Allie: What is a quote or piece of wisdom you like to live by?

Mark: Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

Allie: What’s your favorite smell and why?

Mark: Nothing beats a deep breath of crisp mountain air!

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Mark: They have the weekend of their lives on the GatherDC Camping Trip!

gatherdc camping

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 Harry: Jewish Hill Staffer of the Week!


Allie: How did you wind up living in DC?

Harry: I’m from New York. I originally moved here for college at GW, and bounced around for a few years before coming back for law and policy school.

Allie: What are the biggest differences between New York and DC?

Harry: I miss New York pizza. But I’m very happy in DC, it’s a very livable city with a lot of hidden gems. You meet people from all over the world who speak about issues that matter.

Allie: I hear you work for the U.S. House of Representatives. What triggered your passion for politics?

Harry: I don’t like politics. I like policy. I don’t like the process of duking it out to make some ideological point. I like it when we can use our collective resources to make people’s lives better. This is very much about doing what’s right and helping people.


Harry’s dreamed of being the Jewish Hill Staffer of the Week for quite some time now.

Allie: What is your dream day in DC from start to finish?

Harry: I would get out of DC and hike Old Rag.

Allie: What’s your favorite way to relax at the end of a long work week?

Harry: I really enjoy spending time with friends – hiking, traveling, going on road trips, doing yoga.

Allie: What is one place you really want to travel to?

Harry: The next two trips I’m thinking of doing are to Guatemala and Thailand. I’m very much looking forward to those. Traveling is probably my favorite thing to do. I like the sense of freedom, the adventure of pushing myself, and rediscovering the humanity in others.

Allie: Who is your role model?

Harry: Without a doubt, it’s John Lewis. He is a civil rights icon who was nearly murdered while fighting for the right to vote. It was partially through his advocacy that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed and he’s now been a member of Congress for quite some time. He is a strong moral voice, that unfortunately we need a lot of right now.

Allie: What is a skill you want to learn this year?

Harry: My goal for the year is to learn how to use chopsticks.

Allie: Complete the sentence: When Jews of DC Gather…

Harry: Things get interesting.




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 Rebecca: Jewish Swapples Maker of the Week

In preparation for the day you’ll be spending dreaming about food you are not consuming, we figured now is the perfect time to introduce you to DC’s resident Swapple maker. “What are Swapples? You may be asking. Swapples are like waffles, except healthy. They’re made entirely from Yucca root and use only whole fruits and vegetables. And, wait for it, delicious.

Founder, owner, and CEO Rebecca Peress is ready to share how she became a food innovator/business owner by age 23 and why she really might be a spy working for the CIA.


Allie: How did you wind up living in DC?

Rebecca: I came to DC in 2010 to start undergrad at GW and never left. I thought I wanted to work for the CIA/FBI, so I came here for that. After an interview with the Secret Service for a summer internship, I almost got it and then they were like “no, sorry”. I didn’t have anything to do that summer, so I interned with a food/beverage director at a golf course and fell in love with food/hospitality and totally changed courses.

Allie: Hold up. You wanted to be in the CIA?

Rebecca: I wanted to serve the country. I’m also a true crime junkie. My cousins still think I am a secret agent and that Swapples is just a cover.

Allie: How did you come up with the idea for Swapples?

Rebecca: One Saturday when I was bored, I was messing around in my kitchen and put Yucca Root in my waffle iron. I wanted to see what would happen. I’ve been interested in nutrition since I took my first health class. I was having really bad blood sugar issues my senior year of college, and my doctor had me take out all sugar for an entire year. That was really hard. But that year changed my palette and brought to light how much bad stuff I was actually eating.

I started eating more plant-based and had taken out grain, but I wanted something crispy and bread-y.

Allie: What was the first flavor of Swapples you ever made?

Rebecca: The Everything Spice was my first flavor because I grew up with bagels in New York and missed them.

Allie: Who was your first customer?

Rebecca: I tell my former boss that Swapples would not exist if not for him asking for a bite of it one day and then telling me he would pay me for them! Then other people started ordering them, and I realized there was a market for this. I was 23. I had no boyfriend, no dog, not a lot of savings, I already worked like crazy so I didn’t really see my friends much. I had nothing to lose.

Allie: What’s the hardest part of starting and owning your own company?

Rebecca: There is no rule book for it. You’re figuring it out as you go. I am not a risk taker; I don’t like the uncertainty of it.

Allie: What’s the most rewarding part?

Rebecca: Being able to share them with people. Getting emails from people about how Swapples changed their life, or helped their gut issues, or how they finally have a gluten-free waffle they can eat with their family. That is why I do it.


Allie: What’s your dream for the future of Swapples?

Rebecca: For it to go national. Then, I’d want to sell it to a larger company so it can be spread wider. If I can put something out in this world that makes it easier to eat whole foods and fruits and vegetables, I want to do that.

Allie: Favorite Swapples flavor?

Rebecca: Garlic and greens.

Allie: Do you serve Swapples at Jewish holiday meals?

Rebecca Swapples can be used in place of matzo because they’re kosher for Passover! I’ve also served them at Shabbats in place of challah, and at Hanukkah parties as latkes.

Allie: What advice do you have for someone dreaming of starting their own business?

Rebecca: Take care of yourself. I get eight hours of sleep every night and work out every day. Working out is so important to me.

Allie: What do you like about working out?

Rebecca: I like high intensity training (HiIT) workouts and boot camps. I like to be dripping in a pool of my own sweat. I don’t drink, smoke, or eat a ton of sugar, so working out is my release. If I don’t workout for more than two days in a row I go crazy. I’ll work out anywhere. Once, I was on a 14 hour plane to China and was going crazy so I started doing lunges, squats and pushups in the middle of the aisle. People were staring at me but I didn’t care it felt so good.

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

Rebecca: I started dating my boyfriend after we talked at a OneTable Shabbat dinner.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Rebecca: They eat.




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.

Jewish Cat of the Month: Golda Meow

Sarah: What is your name?

Golda: My name is Golda Meow, but you can just call me Golda. I was named in homage to the illustrious Golda Meir.  I like to think I live up to her visionary legacy, don’t you? I can see in the dark, after all. 

Sarah: What’s your favorite way to spend a day in DC?

Golda: I like to hang out with Mom before she leaves for work. I’ll follow her around, sit in between the shower curtains and just generally be underfoot to get maximum Mom time. While she’s gone I have a few premium nap spots around the apartment, where I lounge until 1) the automatic feeder chimes or 2) Mom gets home from work. It takes 12-16 hours of daily beauty rest to look this good.

jewish cat

Sarah: What is your favorite human costume to dress up as?

Golda: Humans are the underling. I would never dress up as a human. Next question.

Sarah: What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

Golda: I’ve been told I’m regal.  But don’t tell Mom, I don’t want her taking credit.

Sarah: What is your favorite thing to do when you think no one is looking?

Golda: I LOVE exploring the apartment building. I always try to dart out the front door. All the neighbors leave mats outside their doors for me to scratch. It’s the best adventure.

Sarah: What is your spirit animal?

Golda: Only the king of the beasts, of course. Lions are so majestic.

jewish cat
Sarah: What’s your favorite Jewish holiday and why? 

Golda: I’m a big fan of Passover. Can’t say I love 10 extra pairs of feet stomping around the house, but by the time they’re three glasses deep, and everyone has shuffled out of the kitchen, the brisket is on the counter and I feast! 

Between friends, I’ve been known to lend my image to different holiday greeting cards. Posing with apples & honey is easy, but I get a little curious around Chanukah candles. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m a model, but I do get paid with extra treats and live my best diva life.

Sarah: I get most excited when…

Golda: Someone opens a can of tuna. I’ll come running from anywhere in the apartment. And don’t try to pretend it’s not for me. I see you up there. And you know you’re going to give me some. Who are you kidding? I’m the master, here.

jewish cat



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.

Getting My Jewish Culture On in 5779

If you’re like me, and one of your Jewish New Year resolutions is to try out some new experiences across the city, then this article is for you.

If not, there are a lot of other really interesting articles here. Or you could go watch the new season of Shameless, because Lip.

Back to the article. One way I can make good on my resolution is to check out a few of the local Jewish theater performances in DC. Fortunately, the District is about to be filled with compelling theatrical works featuring Jewish themes and characters, including The Diary of Anne FrankA Shayna Maidel, and The Last 5 Years.

I chatted with Paige Austin, the music director (as well as pianist and composer) behind The Last 5 Years to learn a little bit more about this performance, and explore the influx in Jewish performances this season.

last 5 years

Characters Jamie and Cathy from The Last 5 Years at The Montgomery Playhouse

Allie: What is The Last 5 Years About?

Paige: This is an autobiographical play about the life of Jason Robert Brown. He is Jewish and used to date an Irish-Catholic girl.

The show has only two actors who play Jamie and Cathy, a young interfaith couple. They each tell their story of their 5 year relationship, but Cathy tells it from back to front, and Jamie tells it from front to back. Eventually, they meet in the middle and the continue to go through their separate timelines.

Allie: What makes it worth seeing?

Paige: The characters have very relatable problems. Cathy is the one putting more effort into the relationship, while Jamie is splitting his energy between a lot of different things. Relationships are work, and it’s nice to see a story where this is the case. I’d rather see a story of a couple struggling any day. It also covers gender politics.

Oh, and it’s only 90 minutes with no intermission.

Allie: Is it true that this play is also a movie?

Paige: Yes! For those who are fans of Anna Kendrick, there is a movie version of The Last 5 Years starring Anna and Jeremy Jordan.

Allie: Where can GatherDC readers get tickets?

Paige: You can get tickets on the Montgomery Playhouse website. Tickets are $22.

Characters Jamie and Cathy from The Last 5 Years at The Montgomery Playhouse

Learn more about The Last Five Years and other upcoming plays:


The Pianist of Willesden Lane

September 12 – September 30

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Family Theater

Tickets here


The Last Five Years

September 14 – September 23

The Randolph Road Theater

Tickets here


A Shayna Maidel

October 11 – October 28

Peace Mountain Theater Company at Congregation Har Shalom

Tickets here



September 15 – September 23

The Gaithersburg Arts Barn

Tickets here


The Diary of Anne Frank

September 28 – October 7

Scott Fitzgerald Theatre in Rockville Civic Center Park

Tickets here



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.

Nosh Hashanah: DC’s Best Spots for Your Jewish New Year Feast

The Jewish New Year is upon us, and that means a few things.

First, it’s a time for self-reflection. Just like that scene in “Mulan” – you know the one.

Second, it’s a time to turn that self-reflection into a “resolution.” For most of us this will likely be a “resolut-”, which will be broken before we finish saying the word resolution.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, it’s time for some super special food.

Here at GatherDC, we think about food a lot. Almost as much as we think about coffee. So we’ve decided to do you all a favor and provide you with a guide to the very best in DC’s high holiday food specials. You’re welcome.


Alex Levin’s Rosh Hashanah Pop-Up Bake Shop

Back by popular demand, Alex Levin and his phenomenal team at Schlow Restaurant Group are providing the District with all the best sweet treats for your high holiday needs. These include, but are not limited to, traditional honey challah, handmade pies, apple butter honey cake, hazelnut chocolate crunch rugelach, and artisanal candies. You know what they say about artisanal candies.

View the full mouth-watering menu here and place your orders here.


Alex Levin’s Rosh Hashanah Bakeshop


Sunflower Bakery

Sunflower Bakery is a Bethesda favorite, and their Rosh Hashanah menu is baked goods heaven! From the traditional honey cake loaves and mini apple and honey cupcakes to the creative pies, tortes, and chutneys, Sunflower Bakery has dozens of vegan, gluten free, and nut free options to make you the star of all your dinners and break-fasts!

You can place an order by TODAY, September 5th, for pick-up on September 9th pretty much anywhere in the DMV region, or you can stop by their bakery anytime throughout the high holiday season to grab some last-minute goodies.

Plus, this bakery is an inclusive space that employs young adults with learning differences to prepare them for future employment in food industries. Ask them about this when you stop by to pick up your cupcakes!


Char Bar

Char Bar is a staple in the DC kosher food scene, and their high holiday catering menu is no exception. Highly customizable and insanely delicious (homemade brisket or apricot glazed chicken? Matzo ball or butternut squash soup?), this package serves 10-12 people and is a verified feast worthy of ringing in 5779!

Check out the order form here.

Hill Country BBQ Brisket

Your favorite Texas-themed-DC-BBQ-hotspot is serving up some tender, juicy, delicious brisket this Rosh Hashanah. Grab some grub, get some drinks, and sing some karaoke. 5779 is the year of no regrets.


Joe’s Stone Crab Rosh Hashanah Menu

We know, this seems like a disconnect. Joe’s Stone Crab has a Rosh Hashanah menu? Yes, you read that correctly. This DC institution is offering a special multi-course menu just for the Jewish New Year. There are classic faves like gefilte fish, matzo ball soup, brisket, and couscous – the rice so nice they named it twice.

View their entirely delectable menu here.

Mon Ami Gabi

Joignez-vous à votre bistro français préféré pour un repas multi-cours sur le thème du nouvel an juif. Challah aux pommes et au miel, poisson de gefilte fait maison, foie haché, soupe de boule de matzo, etc. Traduction française non incluse.

**Translation: Join your favorite french bistro for a special Jewish New Year themed multi-course meal. Challah with apples and honey, homemade gefilte fish, chopped liver, matzo ball soup, and more. French translation not included.

Check out the full menu here.


Alex Levin’s Rosh Hashanah Bakeshop

Summer House

Summer’s not over yet! Summer House Santa Monica is keeping our spirits sunny and warm by offering an extra sweet Rosh Hashanah dinner menu complete with challah with apples and honey, brisket, matzo ball soup, and gefilte fish. It even comes with a Jewish mother who keeps pressuring you to eat more and incessantly asks when you’re getting married.

Teddy and the Bully Bar

Did you know Teddy Roosevelt was the first U.S. President to appoint a Jewish cabinet member? Celebrate his legacy of inclusion and head on down to Teddy and the Bully Bar on September 9th and 10th for a prix fixe, three-course meal incorporating traditional foods like apples with honey, house-made gefilte fish, and challah bread, along with modern twist dishes like handmade potato and butternut squash latkes, golden and red beet tzimmies, and more!

Delicious menu can be found here. Big stick not included.

Dino’s Grotto

A local artisan Italian restaurant may not have been your first thought when deciding where to ring in the Jewish New Year, but if you haven’t seen their high holiday menus, you better think again.

With menus for Rosh Hashanah, Kol Nidre, and breaking the fast, Dino’s Grotto is shaping up for a high holidays trifecta! With items like latkes with mascarpone and apple-dried compote, noodle kugel, duck fat matzo ball soup, and of course, round challah and honey roasted apples, you surely won’t go hungry this season.


Photo by Dino’s Grotto


Is your favorite restaurant doing something special for the holidays that you don’t see on here? Email with why you think it should be featured, and we’ll add it to this post!


About the Authors

Rachel Nieves

As GatherDC’s Community Coordinator, Rachel helps connect those new or new(ish) to DC and help them feel at home. She loves meeting new people, and connecting them with each other to help build thriving friendships. When she’s not in the GatherDC office or grabbing coffee with community members, you can find her dancing (more like flailing) to the nearest live cover band, admiring dogs that aren’t hers in Meridian Hill Park, watching reality television, and hanging out and laughing with her friends.


Julie Thompson

Julie helps keep GatherDC’s wheels turning behind the scenes as the Office Manager. When Julie isn’t at the GatherDC office, she’s probably out with friends trying a new restaurant across DC, planning her next big trip to explore a new corner of the world, or snuggled in with a good book and her rescue cat, Chloe.




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.