Spotted in Jewish DC: The Jewish Planner

Amanda Herring (former Jewish Shabbat Host of the Week) and Mo Golden met in graduate school and are both Jewish experiential educators. They wanted a Jewish planner, and it didn’t exist. So…they made one!

amanda planner

Allie: How did The Jewish Planner come to fruition?

Amanda: I was doing the JOFEE Fellowship and had just gotten back from my cohort training at the Isabella Freedman Retreat Center. [During this training], I did so much cool learning about the Jewish calendar and how it connects to the agricultural calendar and the seasons. I love planners, but found that there was not a single planner out there that’s Jewish, easy to use, and pocket-size. Mo is a friend from graduate school and is an amazing artist and designer. She had used Kickstarter before, and told me, “we can do this!”

Mo: Amanda’s been making the content with the monthly teachings and dates, and I’ve been working on illustrations and design layouts. It’s been exciting to see how our skills complement each other’s, and how we are in different communities that are all really excited about this.

Allie: What are your dreams for future of this planner?

Amanda: That people will use this planner and give us feedback on it so we can adjust and make it even better for next year. In future years, we’d love to work with Jewish organizations to make specific planners for them.

Mo: I hope this planner can reframe the way we connect to Jewish education, and make people feel less marginalized and more cohesive. It can help people find more connection and meaning in the Jewish community.

Amanda: It’s one of those things that can bring a little bit of Judaism to your day, every day.

Allie: Where can I buy one?

Mo: We’re live on Kickstarter! [Pledge $30 or more to get a physical copy of the planner shipped to you.]

Allie: What do you want people to feel when they use this planner?

Amanda: Alignment. It’s not two separate lives that you’re living between work and Judaism.

Mo: A sense of belonging, connection, and centeredness.

jewish planner



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.

Spotted in Jewish DC: Alex Levin’s Rosh Hashanah Pop-Up Bakeshop!

We’ve smelled, er spotted, something delicious baking in Jewish DC. It’s a pop-up bakeshop for Rosh Hashanah complete with things like hazelnut chocolate rugelach, caramelized apple pie, whipped ricotta cheesecake, honey challah with raisins.

Your stomach grumbling yet?

The man behind the pastries, Chef Alex Levin, took a quick break from the kitchen to chat with us about the best things to order from this bakeshop, his New Year resolutions, and where he eats when he’s not working.

P.S. GatherDC-ers can get their hands on these baked goods for 10% off with code GatherDC at checkout.

chef levin

Allie: What number pop-up bakeshop is this for you?

Chef Alex: This is the 3rd Annual Rosh Hashanah Pop-Up Bakeshop. Each year, the interest and popularity of this grows exponentially. We have increased our production potential to make sure we have challah and desserts for everyone who is interested. I’ve also done pop-ups in the past for Thanksgiving and other holidays. This year, we’re considering extending the pop-up to offer some items for Yom Kippur too. Stay tuned!

Allie: What item(s) are you most excited about whipping up for the public to nosh on?

Chef Alex: When the Rosh Hashanah meal starts off with an fabulous challah, the year begins on a high note. My challah recipe started with my beloved grandmother. Then, it got a “pastry chef” upgrade after I learned how to make bread professionally. The bread is rich in flavor with a dark, golden crust. We use honey, wheat flour, raisins for those who wish, and shape the bread in the traditional circle.

I love rugelach.  So does everyone else! We have the very popular Hazelnut Chocolate Crunch Rugelach available.

We also organized “The Ultimate Rosh Hashanah Spread” which gives you one of everything. 


Allie: How can GatherDC readers can their hands on these goodies?

Chef Alex: Click here or click on the link in my Instagram profile @chefalexlevin and enter promo code GatherDC for 10% off your order. You can have everything delivered to your home or pickup your order in person from a couple of central locations in the city. If you have any special requests,or if price is an issue for anyone, reach out to me on Instagram. I will make it work for you.

Allie: What is your favorite way to celebrate the Jewish New Year?

Chef Alex: I love spending the holiday with my family. Right after the last delivery is made from the pop-up, I hop on a quick flight to New York to spend two days with them. My parents host a large gathering on the second day of Rosh Hashanah for lunch and I usually have the privilege of baking challah and desserts for that.

Allie: Do you have any personal resolutions for the Jewish New Year?

Chef Alex: To host Shabbat dinners on a regular basis. 

Allie: What’s your favorite restaurant in DC…that you don’t work at/for?

Chef Alex: Little Serow. When you walk in the front door, the team gives the warmest greeting. And of course the food is delicious – full of heat, bright flavors, and always changing.

Allie: Do you have any other plans to curate Jewish holiday related menus throughout the year?

Chef Alex: For Hanukkah, I have a big party planned at Casolare Ristorante + Bar for all of the synagogues in the city to come together and celebrate the holiday with all the staples (e.g. crispy latkes, sufganiyot). Alta Strada will host a Hanukkah dinner that Michael Schlow, Matt Adler, and I will cook for. For Passover, we will have a Passover Seder Feast at Riggsby and Alta Strada. Also, anyone that ever wants a special holiday meal in their home or a shabbat dinner in their home, just reach out to me.

Allie: I heard you traveled to Israel this year, how did that trip inspire you and your role as a chef in the city?

Chef Alex: The trip was called REALITY Taste and organized by the Schusterman Foundation. While it’s impossible to properly answer this question in any short way, what I can say is that the trip imparted a warrior-level need to impart the value of tikkun olam (repairing the world) into all of my activities as a human being, and my duty as a leader in the community. So, this pop-up bakeshop – in this context – is an opportunity to bring a delicious and sweet Jewish New Year to anyone that is interested. 


Allie: What are you most excited for in the year ahead?

Chef Alex: This past year has been a hugely foundational moment of time. I just moved into a new condo in Bloomingdale, have been lucky to become super close with family and friends and have had the exciting pleasure of becoming an uncle. This year I am looking forward to settling down even more, getting involved in the board of a nonprofit here in the city and of course baking my head off for everyone that I can find!


challahYou can place an order from Chef Alex Levin’s Rosh Hashanah Pop-Up Bakeshop here. Delivery and pickup options available on Saturday, 9/8 and Sunday, 9/9. For questions, email

*Use promo code GatherDC for 10% off.*







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.

Spotted in Jewish DC – Rosh Hashanah Pop-Up Bakeshop

This week in #SpottedInJewishDC: we talked to Alex Levin, renowned DC pastry chef at restaurants like Tico, Alta Strada, Casolare and the Riggsby. To ring in the Jewish New Year, Alex is set to debut DC’s most — and only? — mouthwatering Rosh Hashanah pop-up bakeshop at Alta Strada complete with honey raisin challah, apple-butter honey cake, apple pie, rugelach…need we say more?

Oh, and NBD or anything but as a GatherDC insider, you can get 5% off your order with promo code NOSH.


Allie: How did you come up with the idea to create a Rosh Hashanah pop-up bakeshop?

Alex: It is a dream come true to be able to bring delicious food into people’s homes for the holidays. Last summer, I was filled with so many memories of my beloved grandmother; I decided to honor her memory by bringing many of her delicious treats that we made together into the homes of as many people as I could find. With Alta Strada having so many wonderful neighborhood regulars, we thought it would be the perfect spot to host the pop-up.

The first pop-up, in 2016, was wildly popular. I was very tickled to see one of my challah breads and honey cakes at a table at a home that I was graciously invited to – a coincidence really because I came as someone’s “plus one.” I saw how much of an impact I was able to have – in action. This year, I decided to try and make an even bigger impact with a larger offering and continue the tradition going forward.

I am so grateful that I work as a chef today and am supported by restaurants that allow me to participate in a broad scale in the holiday feasts of so many people.

Allie: Tell me about some of your favorite desserts that the pop-up is offering.

Alex: It’s so hard to pick favorites! I love challah – I love rugelach – I love apple pie – I love apple butter honey cake — but the newest noshis the hazelnut chocolate crunch rugelach. It’s made with Nutella and Dark Chocolate Crunchy Pearls from Valrhona. It’s pretty fabulous…

Allie: How can I get my challah once I order it?

Alex: For all orders, you can have everything delivered to your home on Wednesday 9/20 in the afternoon (if you live within the beltway), or you can stop by Alta Strada DC (465 K St. NW) on Tuesday, 9/19 or Wednesday, 9/20 from 3-6PM. Just visit the website for details!

Allie: What is your favorite Jewish dessert?

Alex: Hands down my favorite Jewish dessert is Rugelach. I hope that everyone will find my take it on here to be special and delicious!

Allie: What inspired you to become a pastry chef and start baking Jewish food?

Alex: My grandmother spent Friday afternoons with me every week when I was 4 years old and until I was a teenager. She prepared lavish feasts every Shabbat and Yom Tov (the Jewish High Holidays), and I was by her side helping her and learning from her. She instilled a special love of food in me, while also cultivating an unusually beautiful bond between grandmother and grandson. I feel that all that I do today is a testament to her memory and our relationship.

Allie: You must get pretty busy running this pop-up and making pastries at top restaurants across the city…how do you like to spend your free time?

Alex: The musician Marc Anthony said “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Changing careers 6 years ago enabled me to turn what I do into what I love. That being said, I prioritize making time for my family and friends, love the restaurant scene, my gym routine, and traveling around the world when I can. I am grateful to live in Washington, DC which is so rich in culture, entertainment, and politics. I hope to settle down one day with a special guy and build a family together.

Allie: Who is your Jewish food role model?

Alex: Besides my grandmother, Martha Hadassah Nadich, I constantly am inspired by my mother, Shira Nadich Levin…and also icons like Joan Nathan and Bonnie Benwick both of whom are friends that I adore. I also love my other Jewish buddies in the food world in Washington, DC – particularly Nick Wiseman (owner, DGS Delicatessen).

Allie: Is there a discount code our GatherDC readers can use when they order the baked goods?

Alex: Input promo code NOSH for 5% off your order.


NOTE: The foods prepared for this pop-up bakeshop are not certified Kosher.

Photos courtesy of Alex Levin.

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.

Spotted in Jewish DC – Poppy’s Stuffed Bagel Holes

This week on #SpottedInJewishDC: we talked to Grant of Poppy’s Stuffed Bagel Holes. They’re a new, exciting kind of bagel that come in many flavors. Yes, they’re a lot like donut holes. Yes, you should try them. They’re in many different locations all around DC. Go get them yourself!

Don’t forget to tag us on Insta using the hashtag and get some GatherDC swag – bonus points if you take a picture or boomerang of yourself eating one of these!

Shaina:  How did you come up with this idea?

Grant:  I was working at Ted’s Bulletin, and someone called a Donut Hole a d-hole and so I said, “You’re a b-hole.” Then I looked at that person and smirked and said, “bagel hole.” That then turned into a year of research and developing the product. My girlfriend at the time, Julia Greenberger, then became the best business partner ever–and we started the company. The product over the last year has continuously improved, to the point that we now believe we provide the best bagel and bagel experience in the world!

Since my epiphany of B-Holes, we have rebranded to our new company brand Poppy’s Stuffed Bagel Holes. Even though

 I loved people’s reactions to the name B-Holes, it became apparent that some people were turned off by the name. I just want people to try my food, and this new name helps bring my product into more people’s mouths. I named it after my Grandpa because he was the one who taught me to bake and the one who always gave me the itch to start my own business.

Shaina: Is there a flavor you like the best?

Grant: The Original. It is the everything bagel that I love, filled with a robust–but simple– cream cheese. I don’t normally like cream cheese, but I love our cream cheese.

Shaina: My mouth is watering.  When’s the best time to pick them up?

Grant: We are at Petworth Market on Saturday mornings and have a great pop up on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Prego Again.   They are $2 for one, 6 for $10, or $20 for a dozen.

As a special to GatherDC readers, stop by our Prego Again stand and say you read this article to get your first bagel hole free.  Tell them Grant sent you!

We sell at some retail partners too…We are continuously adding to the list!

Also, we urge people to follow us on social media, as we are going to start shipping nationally shortly.

Shaina: How do you connect to being Jewish in DC??

I’ve been Jewish all my life, and I have continually found it a very important part of my life. I have found a great niche of friends to participate in the High Holidays with. I have not gotten involved with a temple, but I am a member of the DCJCC fitness club. However, like temple, I have rarely gone–because fitness is hard and I’m tired.

Spotted in Jewish DC – Make Your Own Judaica

Did you just move into a new place and need a mezuzah? At All Fired Up, this week’s #SpottedinJewishDC, you can make it yourself. Along with mugs, plates, pitchers and more, this decorate-it-yourself pottery store has all of your Judaica covered. You can use paint, mosaics or fused glass to decorate anything…from menorahs, to kiddush cups, to tzedakah boxes. Most of their Judaic items are in the store at all times, but owner Liz Winchell, recommends calling ahead just to make sure they have what you need.

Until the end of July, they’re offering 10% off for GatherDC readers at their Cleveland Park location, so go in, mention us at checkout and start crafting. Tag #SpottedinJewishDC when you make your masterpiece!

Spot something particularly Jewish in DC? Let us know about it by emailing or snapping a photo and posting it on social with #SpottedinJewishDC. You may see it 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.

Spotted in Jewish DC – Shouk

If you’ve walked around Mt. Vernon Square lately, you may have run into our latest #SpottedinJewishDC, Shouk. Shouk, a fun (and delicious) spot, refers to itself as a “modern eatery and market offering a new take on comfort food.” What’s the “new take?” Well, for Shouk, it means everything served is plant-based. Vegans and Vegetarians rejoice!!!  And carnivores, don’t worry…our tasting indicates that your palettes will be satiated too!

Named after the open-air markets of Israel, where founder, Ran Nussbacher grew up, Shouk opened just over a year ago in May 2016. Both Ran and his Executive Chef, Dennis Friedman, are Jewish. When we asked them about how Jewishness plays into their restaurant, they said, “In typical Israeli – and Jewish – fashion, Shouk is all about playing with tradition and mixing up culinary influences.”

We highly recommend their cashew labneh, which has just as much cream and tang as the traditional yogurt dish, and, the Shouk Burger, which contains 15 different veggies and beans. So head there today and take an Insta-worthy picture and tag us (@Gather_DC), we’d love to see your creations!

Spot something particularly Jewish in DC? Let us know about it by emailing or snapping a photo and posting it on social with #SpottedinJewishDC. You may see it here!

Spotted in Jewish DC – Challah at Bread Furst

#SpottedinJewishDC this week is a holla at Bread Furst Bakery‘s challah, located in the Van Ness neighborhood. These braided beauties are hand-rolled every Thursday from 9am to 11am, and are then put in the proofer overnight. You can watch this time-honored tradition in their open-kitchen while noshing on their other baked goods. Note – none of their baked goods are certified Kosher.

The recipe is from Head of Production, Ben Arnold, former Range Bread Baker. When we asked General Manager, Eun Yim, about the challah flavor profile, she said they’re “not on the sweet end in terms of the challah spectrum. I may be biased but they’re the best challah I’ve ever tasted.”

Since this bread is only baked Friday mornings, you’ll need to get to the bakery before they run out. Depending on demand, this could be before the end of the day. But, Yim says, you can always call ahead and request for them to put one on hold for you.

Try one of your very own for $7 before tax. And, if you try it, post about it with #SpottedinJewishDC. We want to know what you think!

Spot something particularly Jewish in DC? Let us know about it by emailing or snapping a photo and posting it on social with #SpottedinJewishDC. You may see it here!


Spotted in Jewish DC – National Museum of American Jewish Military History

Memorial Day, when America remembers men and women who died serving our country in the U.S. Military, is this coming Monday.  In honor of this, our #SpottedinJewishDC this week goes to the National Museum of American Jewish Military History, located in Dupont Circle. We sat down for an interview with Michael Rugel, the museum’s Program and Content Coordinator to learn more about the museum’s history and what you can find within its walls.

How did the museum come to be?
The museum was founded by the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. The JWV originated in 1896, when a group of Civil War Veteran in New York formed the Hebrew Union Veterans Association. One of the organization’s goals was to disprove the anti-Semitic stereotype that Jews don’t serve in the military. When JWV moved their headquarters to DC, they created the National Shrine to the Jewish War Dead. In 1958, the museum was created by a Congressional Charter as the Jewish War Veterans National Memorial, Inc. In 1984, under the Reagan administration, the museum opened at its current location. George H. W. Bush nailed the mezuzah to the doorpost at the building dedication.

Why do you think it’s important to focus on Jewish, U.S. military members?
It’s important to show that Jews participated in virtually every aspect of American history. In my opinion, the stereotype of the American Jew as intellectual nebbish is still alive today. We want to show that Jewish Americans are very accomplished in a field that some might not expect. When Americans think of Jews in the military, they often immediately think of Israel. People lose sight of how many Jews have contributed to the American military, going back to the colonial era. Over 500,000 served in World War II. These are important stories.

Most of the time, the stories of Jewish service members are the same as service members of any other religion or ethnicity. But there are times when it was very significant that these men and women were Jewish.This includes Jewish brother fighting against brother in the Civil War, Jewish immigrants who left Russia specifically to escape military service – but came to America and volunteered to join the Army, and Jewish American soldiers who liberated concentration camps during WWII.

How long has the museum been at the Dupont Circle location?
Since 1984.

Any tips for our readers who may want to visit?

There are three good upcoming opportunities to check us out:

Friday, May 26th – We’re sponsoring a Memorial Day Shabbat service at Sixth and I (not at the museum). A representative will read the names of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sunday, June 4th – During the Dupont-Kalorama Museums Consortium Walk Weekend, we’ll be open from 11 am – 4 pm, along with 4 other museums in the neighborhoods: Anderson House, Dumbarton House, The Phillips Collection, and the President Woodrow Wilson House. All of us are open free of charge, with special programming. We’ll have a genealogy expert on hand to answer questions.

Sunday, July 16th – At 1:00 pm, we’re having a talk on Jews and Baseball.  Phil Wood is the host of Nats Talk Live and a long-time radio personality in the D.C.-Baltimore area. He’ll join us to discuss the history of Jews in baseball including Hank Greenberg and others who served in the military.

What do you think the most interesting things to see are in the museum?
That’s hard because there are so many, but I’ll list them!

  • A trepanning kit used by a Civil War surgeon to cut into skull and bone.
  • A WWII POW diary kept by Louis T. Wigdortz while a prisoner at Stalag Luft III. It prompts the question of what it was like to be a Jewish prisoner of the Nazis.
  • A listening station with a first-hand account of liberating concentration camps. Many of the American Jewish soldiers were Yiddish speakers and the only ones who could communicate with the Holocaust survivors.
  • Fallen Heroes – a touchscreen display listing the identified American Jews killed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
  • A portable ark and altar created by Chaplain Martin Weitz to honor the “swords into plowshares” theme. The ark and altar used artillery shells and other elements of war to create the ark. He used it to lead Jewish services in the Pacific
  • Hall of Heroes – Features the 17 identified Jewish recipients of the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military honor, dating from the Civil War to Vietnam.

The museum is open Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm. Memorial Day (5/29) hours are 1pm – 5pm. The museum is open Sundays by appointment for groups of 6 or more, and the museum also hosts Sunday and weeknight programs on a regular basis.

Spot something particularly Jewish in DC? Let us know about it by emailing or snapping a photo and posting it on social with #SpottedinJewishDC. You may see it here!

Spotted in Jewish DC – On Rye’s Awesome SWAG

Whether you’ve tasted their modern take on Jewish deli food or not, you’ll certainly have a craving for On Rye‘s creative piece of SWAG, which happens to be our #SpottedinJewishDC feature this week.

This awesome design that pays homage to the Helvetica List shirts of 2012.  It makes your mouth water on the front and then sports an “On Rye” logo on the back. While this beauty only comes in a sweatshirt (not ideal for summers in DC), pick up one now either in store on online. Or, enter to win one through our contest!

We asked Co-Owner, Ilyse Fishman Lerner, about the sweatshirt’s origin. She said she wanted to create something modern but comfortable. Comfortable it is, made from Bella + Canvas fleece, which is super wearable and soft.

 Want to win a sweatshirt of your very own! Enter the contest! We’ll announce the winners Friday!

Spot something particularly Jewish in DC? Let us know about it by emailing or snapping a photo and posting it on social with #SpottedinJewishDC. You may see it here!

Spotted in Jewish DC – The Den’s Cookbook Recipe of the Month

Depending on your interest, The Den is either the coffeehouse/wine bar in Politics and Prose, or the coffeehouse/wine bar with Politics and Prose in it. Wherever your loyalties, chances are you’ve been to bothand love them for the community and cultural epicenters they are.

This week, we’re spotlighting The Den’s ‘Cookbook Recipe of the Month’ for our #SpottedinJewishDC feature. If you’re not familiar with this fun monthly menu special, the chefs at The Den select a recipe each month from a cookbook that Politics and Prose sells, and adds it to their menu. This month, they’re featuring the Cauliflower Salad from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem: A Cookbook.

The recipe features celery, parsley, hazelnuts, pomegranate, spiced vinaigrette on a bed of local greens and is $9.50 before tax. This is not a bad price considering buying all of the ingredients to make it at home will be at least that. They will be featuring it for a limited time only, so hurry in!

Spot something particularly Jewish in DC? Send it our way via email or tag it on social media with #SpottedinJewishDC. You may see it here sometime soon.



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.