Want to work for GatherDC?

were hiring

Attention Jewish DC: It’s time to dust off your resumes for the chance to work with the coolest team of frolleagues (that’s friends/colleagues) around.

GatherDC Community Rabbi

GatherDC is looking for a bold, pluralistic Jewish educator with a passion for building meaningful relationships and inspiring young adults to discover authentic Jewish identities. If you see yourself as a creative visionary with a deep knowledge of Judaism and passion for building a stronger Jewish community among young adults – run, do not walk to this job listing.

Apply for the Community Coordinator role now.

GatherDC Community Engagement Director: Jewish 30s

This is a BRAND NEW position. *pause for applause* Could you be the tenacious, enthusiastic people-person to transform Jewish life for 30s across the DMV? Send us your resume & cover letter for a chance to become Gather’s first-ever Community Engagement Director for Jewish 30s to connect hundreds of 30-somethings across the DC-area to one another, to Jewish opportunities, and to a meaningful adult Jewish identity.

Apply for the Jewish 30s Community Engagement Director role now.

GatherDC Community Coordinator: Northern Virginia

Another new role on the Gather team is a Community Coordinator for Northern Virginia (NoVA) Jewish life. This is a people-facing, innovative, and very fun role for someone who is a friendly, energetic human with a passion for building Jewish community. Will you be Gather’s OG in the NoVA?

Apply for the Jewish NoVA Community Coordinator role now. 

 

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For any and all job application related questions, email info@gatherdc.org.

 

A Camp Love Story by Roey Kruvi

This 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.

camp nnn

My love story starts with an anonymous Post-it Note.

“Would you go to the camp dance with me? Yes, No, Maybe.”

I paced by her room, nervously twirling the square neon paper in my hand. Sliding the note under her door, I ran down the hall to avoid being seen. My sticky note was anonymous. If it was meant to be, she would know who it’s from.

post it

It was the first night of Camp Nai Nai Nai, a Jewish summer camp for adults. More than 125 ‘campers’ in their 20s and 30s were asleep in their bunks ready for a weekend filled with nostalgia, joy, self-exploration, and for her and I – an entirely unexpected love story.

Camp Nai Nai Nai is an incredible place where you can be yourself, explore new creative outlets, get locked in a camp-themed escape room, dance, play soccer in a giant bubble, or compete in a game of human hungry hippos. You can be in a sea of white for Shabbat and in a huddled drum circle with hundreds of new friends singing Havdallah. It’s a place where you can explore your Jewish identity in a creative, playful, and adventurous community.

And, turns out that being in this kind of space makes us more attractive to potential partners! The Washington Post reports, “researchers at Pennsylvania State University asked 250 students to rate 16 characteristics that they might look for in a long-term mate. ‘Sense of humor’ came in first among the males and second among the females, ‘fun-loving’ came in third for both, and being ‘playful’ placed fourth for women and fifth for men.”

I love camp because I love to play. I believe it is an essential part of who I am and I love to share that with others. I believe that our Jewish community (and those who love us) can be transformed by the power of playfulness, creative expression, and authenticity – and you can find it at camp.

She came to camp for the flash mobs; I came for the glow in the dark laser tag.

We met somewhere in the middle. Nearly two years and three Camp Nai Nai Nais later – we’re still together – and Camp will forever be our special place. I invite you to come make it yours.

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camp nnn

About Camp Nai Nai Nai

Camp Nai Nai Nai is the ultimate Jewish summer camp for young adults in their 20s and 30s! A radical experiment in Jewish community-building – where what you do for a living doesn’t define you, everyone is welcome, and spontaneous adventures await. Join us for bonfires, bubble soccer, yoga, aerial skills, epic dance parties and more! Camp is a “choose your own adventure” experience, so whether you’re outgoing, shy, geeky, artsy, sporty, creative, spiritual, all of the above, or none of the above, there’s something for everyone.

Camp Nai Nai Nai – East Coast

Memorial Day Weekend
Friday – Monday, May 24-27, 2019
Waynesboro, PA (1.5 hours from DC)

Early bird registration is almost over!

Save $30 when you register before April 10th at 11:59PM. Grab your friends and sign up as a group of 4+ people and you’ll save an additional $25 off per person at checkout. Hurry, space is limited!

Check out photos from last year on our Facebook page and Like us for updates!

Meet Josh: Jewish Wikipedia Editor of the Week

When he’s not working at innovative digital art space ARTECHOUSE, creating DC-themed pins, or eating avocado BLT bagels, you might find Josh hanging out with his sister who may or may not have invented the flat iron. You’ll just have to find out…

josh

Allie: What brought you to our great nation’s capital?

Josh: I grew up in Rockville and have basically spent much of my life in the DC area. I spent four years in Hartford for undergraduate before I wound up back in DC. Coming back to DC was kind of a scheme planned by my friend Marc Friend [Editor’s note: Yes, that’s his real last name!].

Allie: How did you wind up working at ARTECHOUSE?

Josh: I took my wife to an ARTECHOUSE exhibit last year for her birthday and fell in love with it. I just started working there last August. It’s a very cool space that bridges the gap between art and science technology through immersive installations. We’re doing a cherry blossom exhibit right now. I can give GatherDC readers a discount on tickets! [Editor’s note: He’s not lying! Use code GatherDC for 10% off from 4/8-4/14, excluding Saturdays. Max 2 tickets per household.]

artechouse

Allie: Describe your dream day in DC.

Josh: I’d wake up and get a Bethesda Bagel, an avocado BLT on a salted bagel. I know it’s not kosher. Then, I’d go to the farmer’s market and one of the record stores in the area. Then, I’d grab lunch. I’m a big fan of BIBIBOP in Dupont. I’m also a big fan of board games or having Netflix marathons with friends. In the evening, I’d grab at a cocktail at El Techo in Shaw.

Allie: I also hear you are lowkey a famous Wikipedia editor. Tell me about that.

Josh: Okay, so when my sister was in high school she was trying to cite Wikipedia for a paper. I was trying to show her that Wikipedia was not a credible source. To prove this point, I purposely edited the Wikipedia page about the flat iron and listed her as the inventor.

Today, it is an international conspiracy that my sister, Erica Feldman, invented the flat iron in the 1800s. If you Google “who invented the flat iron?”, her name will come up. She has been listed as the inventor of the flat iron by Conair, in books, tons of websites, and weird magazines even have odd conspiracy theories about it.

Allie: Are there any other strange facts people might be surprised to know about you?

Josh: I was partially responsible for changing the birthday song at Buca di Beppo. I went to school for art’s management, where a huge piece of my education was learning copyright law. I had just written a paper about the copyrights surrounding the Happy Birthday song when my family and I went to celebrate my dad’s birthday at Buca di Beppo. At the end of the meal, the waiters came over and sang the “Happy Birthday” song to us. Since I had just written this paper, I decided to go up to the manager and tell him that he should know they shouldn’t be singing that song. Flash forward to a week later, I was in touch with the Buca di Beppo corporate lawyer and I sent them proof and evidence about it. I didn’t hear anything back, but then a few weeks later I saw this YouTube campaign came out about Buca di Beppo’s new birthday song.

Allie: What are you favorite hobbies outside of copyright law and Wikipedia editing?

Josh: I collect pins, I think it’s a fun way to show a piece of your personality. I actually co-own a pin company with my wife and two of our friends called Federal Pins. It’s all DC-influenced things that a local would connect to. 

josh

Allie: What’s your favorite Jewish food?

Josh: Latkes with applesauce. I don’t like sour cream.

Allie: What’s a piece of wisdom that inspires you?

Josh: My grandfather always taught me to soak it up and never take anything for granted.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Josh: Hilarity ensues.

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.

Hebrew, Hindi, and a L’Chaim with Whiskey: A Look Inside Jewish India

Visiting India has been my dream for as long as I can remember. I always imagined posing in front of the Taj Mahal, decorating my hands and forearms with henna, and indulging in all the Indian delights from authentic chai to fresh mango lassis.

Last month that dream had come true, and while it included these touristy activities, my journey could not have been planned using a Lonely Planet guidebook. It was a unique kind of trip, one that exceeded any expectation for my first visit to this beautiful country. That’s because it was led by JDC Entwine, organized with elements of Judaism in mind.

jdc india

JDC Entwine is the young adult engagement initiative of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Jewish humanitarian group. JDC Entwine hosts trips all around the globe to connect Jewish communities from around the world, with a focus on global responsibility. Inside India, JDC Entwine’s one-week program based in Mumbai, focused on meeting local residents of the Bene Israel community and seeing how JDC is making a positive impact with their local NGO partner, Gabriel Project Mumbai, which improves the lives of women and children in slums and rural villages.

When I told people I was going on a trip to meet Indian Jews, their responses were the same: “Jews… in India?!” I had the same reaction as well, which was why I knew I had to travel there and meet them myself.

The Bene Israel (“Children of Israel”) Jews, the largest of the three groups of Jewish people living in India, are believed to be one of the lost ten tribes of Israel who fled from the land of Israel around 175 BCE. It is said that they are survived from seven men and seven women whose ship crashed off the coast of Mumbai in the 4th century, ending up in surrounding villages. They’ve lived in Mumbai since the mid-18th century. Today there are 4,000 Jews in India, most of them Bene Israel in Mumbai.

The culture of the Bene Israel Jews is a harmonious blend of regional Indian customs, such as speaking Marathi and eating local foods, with the familiar Jewish traditions of keeping kosher, observing the Sabbath, and circumcision.

We visited synagogues dating back to the mid-19th century that are still in use today. These grand, ornate structures are protected by security guards 24/7 due to regulations by the Indian government, for which there is no great demand: India has virtually no anti-Semitism.

Still, I felt grateful for the ability to observe Shabbat safely in a foreign country. Attending a service at the Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue, one of the nine synagogues in Mumbai, was an experience I will never forget. I was in awe not only of the interior painted sky blue with gold trim and the long Victorian stained glass windows, but of the collective Jewish community I saw before me. It didn’t matter if you were a tourist who traveled from miles away, or one of the locals who was keeping his or her community alive: you were welcome with open arms to pray there.

jdc

On the Sabbath, we learned about special traditions of the community, such as reciting Kiddush with a banana and a date to symbolize plants and fruits. Another ritual that stood out was that while many of us are accustomed to covering our eyes when we recite the b’racha after lighting the Shabbat candles, the Indian locals in our group brought their hands to their lips to give them a kiss, while their eyes focused on the flames before them.

They also have a particular way of blessing someone on Shabbat, a greeting I found most endearing. You place your hands over someone else’s, look the other person in the eyes, wish them a Shabbat Shalom, and then bring your hands to your lips to kiss them, all while maintaining eye contact with the person before you. Partaking in this intimate tradition made me feel incredibly close and connected to people I had only just met.

The Bene Israelis also drink whiskey instead of wine during their Shabbat dinners and lunches, which is another tradition I can get behind!

A glimpse into Jewish India wouldn’t be complete without a visit to India’s only JCC, the Evelyn Peters Jewish Community Centre, founded by JDC. Here we learned about the Jewish educational programming they offer, as well as some Bollywood dance moves! The community graciously fed us a dinner of chapati (unleavened bread made from whole wheat flour), lentils, paneer, bread rolls, and gulab jamun, a popular dessert consisting of fried dough balls soaked in cardamom syrup.

Engaging with fellow Jews from another part of the world is an enlightening and eye-opening experience. It is a reminder of how far our people have come, and where we continue to thrive, no matter the size of our communities.

Another important aspect of the trip was the emphasis of Jewish global responsibility. We saw this through Gabriel Project Mumbai, an NGO started by a Jewish man by the name of Jacob Sztokman, which works to improve healthcare, education, and nutrition in the slums and rural villages.

We had the opportunity to teach and play with the children in their classrooms, as well as learn about the many services GPM offers in the slums, including a new medical center, a water filtration system, and soap and paper recycling.

JDC did an excellent job of bridging the gap and bringing two sides of the world together through shared Jewish ancestry. We not only filled our bellies with biryani and made friends for life, but also saw examples of how to make a lasting impact in the world around us.

On the rooftop of our hotel on Friday evening, surrounded by palm trees and the warm glow of sunset, we lit candles and sang “Kol Ha’Olam Kulo” collectively, first in Hebrew and then in Hindi. During the song, we noticed an older couple approach our table of Shabbat candles. The man wore a Kippah, and both he and the woman wore grins on their faces.

Together they lit candles, and when our song came to an end, the man said to us, “We thought we were alone.”

Someone from our group responded to him: “You’re never alone”.

kids india

 

 

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mirandaAbout the Author: Miranda Lapides is the deputy director of communications for the pro-Israel think tank The Endowment for Middle East Truth. Miranda graduated from George Mason University in 2015 with a B.A. in psychology. Her claim to fame is being named GatherDC’s Jewish Instagrammer of the Week. You can find her serving up lattes at Coffy Cafe in Columbia Heights on the weekends, and trying new food around the city.

 

 

 

 

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.

Falafeltaschen Recipe

With Purim gone and Passover coming up, I decided to make a savory Purim treat that will both be delicious and help me use up the puff pastry dough in my freezer before Passover.

Falafeltaschen

Ingredients

  • Puff Pastry
  • Falafel
  • Egg
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Choice of toppings (hummus, tzatziki, etc.,)

Enter the Falafeltaschen

  • The first step is frying the falafel balls in oil on the stove as you would usually.  I used the Osem Falafel Mix for mine, but you’re welcome to use a different mix or even make your own from scratch.  While you’re doing this, I recommend defrosting the puff pastry dough sheets as they need to be quite defrosted to do the folding.
  • Once the falafel balls are fried, preheat the oven to the puff pastry’s required oven time and start folding!  I found it easiest to put the falafel ball in the middle first and fold from the back, forming the long end of the triangle first before pressing the front point together and rounding out the sides so it forms a familiar hamantaschen-like shape.  After you do this and line all of your falafeltaschen up on the oven tray, crack the egg in a bowl and brush the egg wash on the surface of the puff pastry – followed up a generous sprinkling of sesame seeds.
  • After this, place your falafeltaschen in the oven for 15 or so minutes, until the puff pastry has properly browned.  Once you pull them out, be sure to let them cool before adding your desired toppings as you don’t want your toppings drying out.  I had used Sabra brand Olive Tapenade hummus, but you’re welcome to be creative here – Israeli salad, different hummus, tahini, skhug, and tzatziki are all great choices for them.

A special thanks to Aimee from JSwipe.  Without your baking expertise, this couldn’t have worked out like it did.

 

 

brett borenAbout the Author:  Brett Boren is a Conservative Jewish guy who loves his mother’s challah, but could do without her latkes.  Originally from Miami, he appreciates arroz con pollo as much as double-chocolate babka, though preferably not together.  When he’s not experimenting in the kitchen, he can be found with his cat, Youpi, or sampling shawarma at Max’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Arlingtonian of the Week!

I met Emily Mathae back when I worked at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. Since then, I’ve been blown away by how her presence has brought so much sunshine to Jewish DC and Northern Virginia. Besides making our bellies happy with her incredible talent for whipping up Jewish baked goods, she also makes our community happy with her warm smile and contagious kindness. Although Emily is soon moving out of the Moishe House Northern Virginia (MoHo NoVA), she’s not going far. So if you don’t know her yet, now is your chance!

P.S. If you’re interested in taking Emily’s spot in Moishe House NoVA, let them know!

emily

Allie: What brought you to Arlington?

Emily: I was born and raised in Arlington; I’m what you call an Arlington native through and through.

Allie: I hear you’re soon moving out of in Moishe House NoVA! What’s been the best part about being a Moishe House resident?

Emily: I’ve been living there for almost two years and it’s been amazing. It’s been a life-changing experience. I get to create really meaningful relationships with community members and put on programs that I’m personally excited about.

Allie: What programs have you hosted at Moishe House that you’re most proud of?

Emily: I love to bake, so it’s been incredible to host programs related to that. I’ve hosted a round challah bake for Rosh Hashanah, babka-making, sufganiyot, hamantaschen, and traditional challah baking events.

I also love Rosh Chodesh and celebrating Jewish women and our lives together as a community. We’ve been doing Rosh Chodesh events since last July. It’s a very strong group of women who are very supportive of one another. I’m curious to see how things will turn out when I move out, but I’m hoping to continue to do the Rosh Chodesh events with Moishe House Without Walls (MHWOW).

moho

Allie: What’s your perfect DC – or Arlington – day from start to finish?

Emily: It would be April 25th; not too hot, and not too cold. All you need is a light jacket! Yeah, hopefully it would be a beautiful day outside, but not too much sun because I get sunburnt very easily. I would go out to Leesburg and visit a couple of wineries and just relax. Maybe I’d go for a long walk or hike. If my favorite band Judah and the Lion was in town I would go see them. That’s one of the bands I will never get tired of.

Allie: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Emily: I had struggled with my faith for a long time. I was very active in my former faith community, but started questioning some of the things that were told to me and asked some really deep questions that they just didn’t have the answers to. It felt like destiny that I wound up doing my study abroad in Israel where I studied conflict analysis and resolution. While there, I also worked at BINA and loved it so much.

When I returned home, I wrote my senior thesis on young American Jews and their relationship with Israel. This was so impactful for me that I wound up applying to work at some Jewish nonprofits after graduating. At that point, I was halfway through my conversion process. I got the job [that I currently have] at The Jewish Federation and have constantly worked to become a leader in the Jewish community since then. By working at Federation and living in the Moishe House, I feel like I’ve found my place.

Allie: What’s your favorite Jewish food?

Emily: I have a fabulous challah recipe that I stole from the Mega Challah Bake I went to in NoVA. I also love bagels.

Allie: What’s your perfect bagel?

Emily: An everything bagel with vegetable cream cheese, with onion, cucumber, and tomatoes. Please don’t hate me for not liking lox…

Allie: Favorite Jewish holiday?

Emily: Shavuot. I love dairy and because of the story of Ruth. It connects back to my own Jewish journey and I feel like I’m Ruth in a way.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Emily: They have a grand old time.

emily

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: Sammy!

sammy

Sarah: What is your name?

Sammy Ruth.

Sarah: Where did your name come from?

Sammy: I’m originally from North Carolina, but my mom and dad took me in after I was rescued from a hoarding situation.

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

Sammy: I love meeting other dogs and sniffing their bums. I also love watching my mom and dad play softball. My favorite thing to do is swim, especially at the Shirlington Dog Park. I’m not very coordinated on land, but in the water I’m a doggy olympian.

sammy

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

Sammy: People tell me that I’m so pretty all the time. I know people check me out when I’m walking around Arlington with my owners. I’m a catch and I know it.

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

Sammy: Eat trash off the street. It’s the best!

Sarah: Who is your best friend?

Sammy: My dad. He wrestles with me, which is so much fun!

Sarah: What is your spirit animal?

Sammy: A sloth, I’m super lazy.

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

Sammy: Passover. I really like the yummy fish we get to eat!

dog of month

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.

Your DC Passover Guide 2019

passover

If avoiding carbs and retelling a several hour long saga about slavery – while indulging in horseradish and shank bone – doesn’t qualify for the best holiday ever, than I don’t know what does!

Since this beloved holiday is right around the corner, it’s time to start making your seder plans. Because, lucky for us Jews, we get not one – but TWO – nights of seders. WOO WOO! Can you say PARTAY?! Alright, enough small talk. On to the Passover happenings.

But first, Jon Stewart.

Oh, and if you know of an awesome Passover shindig not on this list, let us know.

PRE-PASSOVER EVENTS

Sunday, March 31st

Tuesday, April 2nd

Monday, April 8th

Tuesday, April 9th

Sunday, April 14th

Tuesday, April 16th

Wednesday, April 17th

Thursday, April 18th

 

PASSOVER SEDERS

Friday, April 19th (Seder, Night #1)

Saturday, April 20th (Seder, Night #2)

 

POST-SEDER EVENTS

Wednesday, April 24th

Friday, April 26th

Saturday, April 27th

Sunday, April 28th

 

PASSOVER RESOURCES

 

Local Restaurants with Passover Menus/Catering

 

P.S. If you’re not sure which of these events is the right fit for you? Email the GatherDC team!

P.P.S. Want to host your own Seder this year? Check out Moishe House Without Walls or OneTable (either to get nourishment to host your own or find seders to attend).

Meet the Israeli Couples Coming to DC to Get Married at “Three Weddings and a Statement”

We confess we have a soft spot in our hearts for a good love story. We also have a soft spot for Israel. Unlike chocolate and peanut butter in a Reese’s candy, however, love (and marriage) in Israel don’t always go great together. You see, the State of Israel will only recognize a marriage if it’s performed by the State-sanctioned religious authority. For Jews, this means that a wedding must be an Orthodox ceremony performed by an Orthodox rabbi. In today’s modern times, when love comes in all shapes and sizes, some 800,000 Jews are unable to obtain a legally recognized marriage in the Holy Land.

This rigid control over marriage forces many Israeli couples to go abroad to say, “I do.” When any couple is legally married abroad, their marriage IS recognized by the Israeli government.

We want to introduce you to three couples who will be traveling next week to get married. Rather than traveling to get married in Cyprus or Europe (common choices for many Israeli couples), they are schlepping all the way to Washington, DC, where they will be officially and legally married on Tuesday, March 26th at a once-in-a-lifetime TRIPLE WEDDING at Washington Hebrew Congregation.


The event, a partnership between the Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist Movements, is called “Three Weddings and a Statement” and will bring people from around the world (and around the corner!) to celebrate love and show their support for marriage equality in Israel.

So, without further ado, let’s meet the lovebirds who will tie the knot here in our nation’s capital on the 26th…

Ilia and Sahar

Ilia, who was born in Russia and made aliyah to Israel with his family in the late 1990s, and Sahar, who was born in Netanya and raised on a moshav (cooperative farm community), met at a conference for alumni of the Shlichut program run through the Jewish Agency for Israel. As schlichim – young Israeli emissaries who live and work in the diaspora – Ilia was based in Toronto, and Sahar spent two years here in DC – at Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation, Ohr Kodesh Congregation, and Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital. (Welcome back, Sahar!)

Despite their different backgrounds, worldviews, and perspectives on Israel – from inside and outside the country – Sahar and Ilia both feel a strong connection to Judaism and feel strongly that Judaism should embrace equality and tolerance. For these reasons, they want to have a Reform wedding, which is something they can’t do in Israel.

They hope that by participating in “Three Weddings and a Statement” they will inspire others to have a wedding ceremony that works for them, rather than the one sanctioned by the Israeli government. On the lighter side of things, Ilia and Sahar are big foodies who love picnicking in the park and sunning along the Mediterranean beaches.

Aviad and Tsion

Aviad and Tsion grew up a 10-minute walk from each other but didn’t meet until eight years ago when they were college students. It was at the Be’er Sheva Pride House, an LGBTQ organization in the south of Israel that organizes social gatherings. Their connection was instantaneous!

They fell in love, graduated from university, and began their careers: Aviad is a pharmacist at the headquarters of Maccabi Healthcare, and Tsion, a chemist doing research and development work as he pursues his Ph.D.

The couple wanted to be married, had a commitment ceremony in Tel-Aviv surrounded by family and friends in 2014. Sadly, their marriage is not recognized by the State of Israel, and their IDs still say “single,” but they live as if they were married. They have purchased a home in Be’er Sheva and have an adorable dog named Archie.

Both men are very active in Be’er Sheva’s LGBT community and with the Be’er Sheva Pride House in particular, where Tsion served as a board member, and Aviad was a youth guide. In their spare time, they enjoy being with friends and family, walking Archie, and snuggling on the couch, watching TV. They are ready, not just for their official wedding, but for their next journey – parenthood – and are exploring the option of surrogacy.

Anat and Shmuel

Anat, a special education teacher from Kiryat Yam, and Shmuel, an assistant manager at a computer and technology store in Haifa, met online and have been together for nine years.

Shmuel was born in Israel to a deaf couple originally from Romania. His mother, who was Christian, converted to Judaism before marrying his father. Together, made aliyah, were given Israeli citizenship, and raised a Jewish family.

It was only when Shmuel’s mom passed away and he went to make funeral arrangements that he discovered the State of Israel did not recognize her conversion to Judaism back in Romania. This is because, according to the ultra-Orthodox Chief Rabbinate’s interpretation of Jewish law, people who are hearing-impaired cannot convert.

Since his mother was not considered Jewish, Shmuel was classified as a “person without religion.” So, despite being circumcised, becoming a bar mitzvah, and serving in the army, Shmuel could not marry Anat in Israel unless he had an Orthodox conversion. Shmuel did convert, but it was a Reform conversion – a movement where both he and Anat feel more accepted – and they want to have a legally recognized Reform wedding.

In their free time, Anat and Shmuel love movies and always make time for weekly family dinners. They also love to travel and will be heading to Japan for their honeymoon.

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About the Authors: Samantha Loss and Jennifer Millstone are Communications Managers for Washington Hebrew Congregation. Jennifer is a firm believer that chocolate can help turn around any bad day and Samantha is usual happiest when she’s up in the air — rock climbing or swinging on the flying trapeze!

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All are invited to come celebrate with these couples on March 26th at Washington Hebrew Congregation. Learn more and RSVP. If you are unable to attend, you can live stream the ceremony.
Three Weddings and a Statement is generously supported by the Elizabeth & Richard Dubin Family Heritage Fund. It is presented jointly by Washington Hebrew Congregation and Adas Israel Congregation in partnership with the Israel Religious Action Center, the Union for Reform Judaism, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association.

Really Remarkable Hamantaschen Recipes You Need to Try

I love hamantaschen. However, I’m not a huge fan of the traditional version, because I’m not what you’d call a traditional Jew. I’m a new-ish MOT (member of “the Tribe”) and I ate my very first hamantaschen about four years ago. It was so mind-blowing that a couple weeks later, I decided to go all out and make seven different recipes: triple chocolate, mint chocolate chip, pumpkin chai, s’mores, fluffernutter, cookies n’ cream, and of course traditional.

Only one of those recipes really stood out to me though – fluffernutter! It’s a well-known fact that I am a HUGE fan of peanut butter, so this was immediately my new favorite version of hamantaschen. I have now made my fluffernutter recipe every Purim because it’s so gosh darn delicious. It’s chewy, yet a bit crispy, and the filling is to die for.

I am currently a resident of Moishe House Northern Virginia, and we recently hosted a hamantaschen baking and mishloach manot (sending gifts) making program, where we made both the fluffernutter recipe and a super duper simple and delicious traditional recipe. The cookies were a total success and were so much fun to make with friends! Below are both of the recipes we made. I hope you’ll try them out and enjoy them as much as I do!

hamentaschen

Fluffernutter Hamantaschen

Originally by Miriam Pascal

Makes about 40 cookies

Ingredients

  •       ½ cup oil
  •       1 cup peanut butter
  •       ¼ cup light corn syrup
  •       ¾ cup sugar
  •       1 cup light brown sugar
  •       1 teaspoon baking powder
  •       1 teaspoon vanilla
  •       2 eggs
  •       2⅓ cups flour
  •       1 cup peanut butter for the filling
  •       1 cup marshmallow fluff for the filling

Instructions

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the oil and peanut butter until smooth.
  • Add the corn syrup, sugar and brown sugar and beat until smooth. Mix in the baking powder, vanilla and eggs. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour. Beat until the flour is incorporated.
  • Make the filling by combining the peanut butter and marshmallow fluff until smooth. Set aside.
  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about ⅛ inch thickness.
  • Cut out circles of dough and place about a teaspoon of the filling in the center of each one. Fold the corners together to form the hamantaschen shape. (Dough will be delicate, so handle with care.)
  • Place hamantaschen on a greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.
  • Hamantaschen will be soft when they come out of the oven, but will firm up as they cool, so don’t be tempted to overbake them.

luffernuter hamantashen3

Super Duper Easy Hamentaschen Recipe

Originally by Marsha Golden

Makes about 2 dozen

Ingredients

  •       4 eggs
  •       1 cup oil
  •       1 ¼ cups sugar
  •       1 tsp. vanilla
  •       3 tsp. baking powder
  •       ½ tsp. salt
  •       1 tsp. almond extract (optional)
  •       5 ½ cups flour

Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients except flour.
  • Add flour gradually and mix thoroughly. Knead until smooth.
  • With floured hands, take a piece of dough the size of a large walnut, roll it into a ball, and flatten it into a circle with your palms. (Note – You don’t have to do it by hand. If you’re a perfectionist, go ahead and use a rolling pin and a cookie cutter!)
  • Place 1 teaspoon of filling (whatever you want!) into the middle and pinch the edges together to form a triangle.
  • Place hamantaschen on a greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until pale gold at the bottom.

hamantashen3

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emilyAbout the Author: Emily Mathae lives, breathes, and oozes Jewish community building, through working at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and living in Moishe House Northern Virginia. She is NoVA girl through and through and absolutely loves DC and the young Jewish community within it. Outside of Moishe House and The Jewish Federation, you can find her at trivia night, heading to concerts/singing in her car at the top of her lungs, baking delicious treats, crafting, or at events around the DC area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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