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Passover Guide 2018

Attention DC-area Jewish young adults – Passover is around the corner.

Translation: It’s time for matzah pizza, Manishevitz (or grape juice) overload, and the best excuse to re-watch A Rugrats Passover.

This year, Passover takes place from Friday, March 30th – Saturday, April 7th. And no matter how you celebrate, DC’s amazing Jewish community has something for you. We’ve compiled the best in Passover happenings across the DMV so you can dig into the holiday with new friends, delicious food, and beloved traditions. Oh, and if you’re having a Passover event that’s not listed — submit it here!

P.S. Not sure which of these events is the right fit for you? Email the GatherDC team!

P.P.S. Planning to host your own Seder this year? Check out Moishe House Without Walls, OneTable, or EntryPointDC (to be matched with other young adults looking for Seder). OneTable is nourishing Friday and Saturday night seders with help from Whole Foods Market. Whole Foods Market will be providing seder hosts with their own seder plates to use at their tables! OneTable is a great place to post your seder and find seders to attend.

Eh, I strongly dislike meals that start with homemade matzo ball soup and highly encourage consuming four cups of wine.” Said no one ever.

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Passover Related Events

First Night Seders

Second Night Seders

Passover Recipes, Videos, + More!

Restaurants with Passover Menus/Catering

Words & Ideas: 1:1 Interview with EDCJCC CEO Carole Zawatsky

On March 15th the Edlavitch DCJCC will host, as part of the Words & Ideas program, a discussion on “Compassion, Love and the American future” featuring Rabbi Shai Held in conversation with Martha Nussbaum, world renowned author and philosopher. This will be the first event of the series that I will be able to attend, and I am very much looking forward to it! I studied philosophy, so it’s always exciting to listen to  contemporary thinkers expressing opinions on today’s issues.

While checking out the Words & Ideas program, I discovered several amazing events and got curious about the history and goals of this initiative. I also started to wonder: are words more important than ideas? Or vice versa?

To curb my curiosity, I spoke over the phone with EDCJCC’s CEO, Carole Zawatsky.

EDCJCC CEO Carole Zawatsky

Daniela: Can you tell us something about the Words & Ideas program and how it got started?

Carole: Edlavitch DCJCC has a wonderful and rich history of doing intellectual programs at a very high level and I, together with our Board of Directors, wanted a new program this year, that really focuses on vital issues that are relevant throughout the community, featuring writers, artist, scientists, and thinkers.

Daniela: Last October, you had a Words & Ideas 3-day-symposium. How did it go?

Carole: It went very well and addressed the issue of “how we age”. It was called “Getting Older, Getting Bolder” because, like many other people turning toward their 60s…I don’t feel older, I feel bolder! The experiences we encounter in life make us much more comfortable speaking out, and using our experiences in positive ways. I wanted to do something that would address age from a very positive prospective.

Daniela: On March 15th the program will feature Rabbi Shai Held in conversation with Martha Nussbaum. What will they be talking about?

Carole: This upcoming event is with Martha Nussbaum, one of the most prominent philosophers, and an incredible writer for The New Yorker. We will be looking at compassion, which is definitely a relevant issue in everyone’s life.

Daniela: Why is it important to focus on and talk about contemporary issues through a Jewish lens? In other words, do you think that programs such as “Words & Ideas” are particularly significant nowadays?

Carole: As a community we have shared values, shared concerns. We think about the finite resource of our environment, the finite resource of our time, getting older–they are universal concerns. All faiths and religions have something to say about these universal issues. But looking at these topics through a Jewish lens brings the values of Jewish tradition to bear on issues that are important for us, and which we think about together. One of the most wonderful ways to learn about any faith is to see its best values shining forward.

Daniela: Last question – Are words more important than ideas, or vice versa?

Carole: I love that question!! Both — words, and ideas, can bring you up and tear you down. I think that the word is the expression of the idea but I would love to hear what other people think!

My dear readers, since we would also love to hear your opinion on Words & Ideas – please let us know what you think and leave a comment below.

 

 

 

 

About the Author: Daniela Enriquez is a part of our “Gather the Bloggers” cohort of talented writers who share their thoughts and insights about DC Jewish life with you. Daniela is Italian and comes from the only Jewish family in Palermo (population: slightly higher than DC). Things she likes about America include: the price of clothing, Internet coffee houses and ice rinks. Among the less desirable things are: the obsession with air conditioning, American “espresso,” and root beer. Feel free to contact her for advice on real Italian food in DC!

 

 

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Top Five Reasons to Go to AJC’s Winter Party

Meet other Jewish young professionals

This night is for you to meet other Jewish young professionals across the DMV. Don’t worry, we won’t let you mingle on an empty stomach. Your ticket includes delicious appetizers and sweet and savory crepes from 2-star Michelin chef, Gerard Pangaud. Start your weekend off early with drinks, a live DJ, and dancing!

Learn about AJC ACCESS DC

AJC has been around since 1906. It is the leading global Jewish advocacy organization with unparalleled access to government officials, diplomats, and world leaders. We take a nonpartisan lens. Some call us “the state department of the Jewish people”. We work with the few that affect the many.

ACCESS DC empowers Jews in their 20s and 30s to develop strong relationships with these key contacts so they can advocate on behalf of the Jewish people here in Washington, D.C., and around the world.

Get involved with ACCESS

ACCESS supporters can attend insider events like our Marshall Society Insider Series. This is a great opportunity to hear from foreign policy professionals. Past speakers covered the political issues in Turkey, German elections, genocide in Bosnia Herzegovina, and trade in Singapore.

Join for local and international ACCESS

ACCESS offers young leaders unique domestic and international travel experiences, enabling them to hone their diplomacy skills at high-level meetings and conferences. Recently we sent groups to Morocco and Japan! We have an upcoming trip to Greece and Cyprus in June!  

Party with a purpose

Support an organization thinking ahead about the safety and security of the Jewish people. In 2015, AJC launched the Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism campaign, inviting U.S. mayors and municipal leaders to sign on to a statement that calls upon their European counterparts to publicly address and take action against anti-Semitism in their communities. To date, more than 350 U.S. mayors and municipal leaders from all 50 states and D.C. – representing nearly 86 million people – have signed on, along with nearly 200 European mayors from 31 countries representing more than 70 million people.

 

No matter what your reason is for showing up, we can’t wait to dance the night away with you on Thursday, February 8th! Get your ticket now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Spots for the Fall 2012 NeXus, Filling Fast!

Andy Kirschner is an Associate in the Young Leadership Division at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

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“I just want to get involved.”  Working in Young Leadership at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, I get to hear those words from young Jews across Greater Washington pretty much every day.  Well Greater Washington, how do you want to get involved?  Where do you want to get involved?  Does the idea of supporting the Jewish community now and for the future inspire you?  Maybe NeXus is a good place for you to start this next chapter in your Jewish journey.

NeXus is an interactive program that will teach you about the work of The Jewish Federation, further develop your leadership skills and introduce you to other leaders in the DC Jewish community.  Through six sessions that run from September through November, you will explore what it means to be an influential Jewish young adult and find ways to make a true impact on the world through your involvement with The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

Interested?  Visit www.shalomdc.org/nexus to learn more and register.  Spots are filling quickly and as of this post, the course was already half full.

Still unsure?  Here is what some alumni of the program recently wrote about their experiences:

Jodi Tirengel

The program gave me a great opportunity to learn from inspiring speakers-I loved it!

Liza Lewis

NeXus was a great way to get involved in the DC Jewish community and meet a lot of new people. I would definitely recommend it!

Danny Rubin

I was impressed with the variety of topics we covered. By the end, I felt like I had a solid understanding of the Federation and its impact in DC. I also think the program is really well organized. All in all, time well spent!

Ariella Brodecki

[It’s a] great way to meet people, get involved in the DC Jewish community and learn about Federation! NeXus opened lots of doors both networking and activity-wise – if you have the opportunity to be a part of NeXus, take advantage of it!

Rosh Hashanah Event for Jewish US Troops in Afghanistan

The Chesed Project is hosting an event to donate food items and make holiday cards for US troops stationed in Afghanistan over Rosh Hashanah.  We did a similar event this past Chanukah and it was so successful, so for our final event, we wanted to support the troops again!

We are asking you to bring something from the following list of donations (cash is also welcome and checks can be made to Kosher Troops — donations are tax deductible):

  • Healthy snacks with a reliable hechsher (granola bars, trail mix, dried fruit).
  • Instant coffee or tea with a reliable hechsher.  These guys are adults and appreciate more adult creature comforts (although no alcohol is allowed).
  • Rosh Hashana related candy (not sure if this exists, but it if does, how excited will our Jewish servicemen/women be?!)
  • Construction paper, markers/crayons, scissors, glue, glitter — things to make some decorations and also cards for the soldiers. We’ll have some, but if you have extra supplies you’d like to donate, they are welcomed.

The event will be THIS SUNDAY, August 12, from 2-5pm, in the basement party room at 2000 N St NW (The Flats).

This will also be Samantha’s last Chesed Project event, before going to Israel, so we hope you’ll be there to help make it successful. Contact Samantha with any questions at daydreambeliever82 at gmail dot com.

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To learn more about Chesed Project, see these past GTJ posts:

Survivor Initiative launch raises $14k.

Yael E. is a community member and was a co-host of this event.

Upon learning that nationally, approximately half of all Holocaust survivors are living below the national poverty line—including over 200 in the Washington, DC area—and that many are facing an even more dire situation with funding and assistance shortfalls this year, a small group of Jewish professionals in Washington, DC decided to do something about it. They launched The Survivor Initiative to raise funds and awareness in the community and to help the Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA) continue its critical 20-year old Holocaust Survivor Program. The Initiative held its inaugural event on July 5th, raising $14,000. The 170 attendees heard a survivor speak of her family’s escape from Germany after the infamous Kristallnacht of 1938 and her journey to a life as a refugee in Kenya. The community was educated about JSSA’s ongoing programs and the different ways to become personally involved beyond financial contributions.

Until now, critical social services for Holocaust survivors in need in the Washington area have been funded by grants from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, matching JSSA funds, and donations.  Recently, a decrease in funding from many of these traditional revenue sources combined with a substantial increase in aging survivors applying for more intensive services has placed JSSA’s Holocaust Survivor Program in jeopardy. Due to unprecedented increases in survivor applications for services as this population nears the last few years of their life, their growing needs for basic safety net services including personal care, homemaker, health, social services, and financial assistance are currently outpacing available funding. Changing demographics, increasing frailty, the downturn in the economy, and changes in eligibility criteria for Claims Conference funding have contributed to this dire situation. This year alone, JSSA is facing a $200,000 shortfall, and this deficit is expected to grow annually for at least another 10 years.

The Survivor Initiative’s inaugural event was one of a number of community outreach efforts  in what will be a continuing campaign to ensure that every Holocaust survivor in need will be afforded the necessary care. While fundraising will remain the Initiative’s top priority, the group also strives to educate and inspire the community to become personally involved through a variety of volunteering opportunities, including:

  • JSSA’s Holocaust Survivor Volunteer Visitor Program: Volunteers bring a warm and engaging presence into the homes of survivors who are unable to leave or travel distances from their residence. Together, survivors and volunteers can discuss photographs, music, art, books, memories from the past, family stories, hobbies, interests – and more. Training will be held on Wednesday, July 25 from 6 – 8 pm at the Embassy Suites in Chevy Chase. Interested participants can contact Marissa Neuman at mneuman@jssa.org or 301-610-8345.
  • Pro Bono Legal Assistance: JSSA currently has generous legal assistance to help local survivors with documents for restitution payments made directly by the German Government.
  • Interpreters: JSSA needs help translating German-language legal documents. JSSA is also looking for Russian speakers to translate for Russian-speaking survivors at JSSA events or during additional activities.
  • Corporate Letter Writing Team: The Survivor Initiative will form a team to seek corporate donations of both money and necessary personal items, such as financial assistance for prescription glasses and dental hygiene needs.
  • Rosh Hashana Fundraising “wish” through causes.com: Through this website, individuals can create a fundraising wish, posted through Facebook, to ask friends and family for donations to help ensure a sweet, dignified new year for survivors in need.

More information about the program and how to donate or volunteer can be found at JSSA’s website, http://www.jssa.org/holocaust-survivor-program.

 The importance of JSSA’s work stretches far beyond any one segment of our community. As voiced by one recent donor: “I am glad to donate to this worthy cause.  I am Armenian, and I know how important it is to help those who survived such horrific experiences. This is in memory of my grandparents who survived the Armenian Genocide. Keep up the good work!”

 

 

 

Jewish Community Day leads Nats to victory!

Thanks largely to the Empire kosher chicken that they ate before the game, the Washington Nationals held on to win the Jewish Community Day game against the Colorado Rockies, 2-0.  The Nats improved to 46 wins and 46 losses.

For those of you who didn’t make it, you missed out on a pretty sweet deal. For $35, you got:  1) Access to pre-game Jewish music and a history of Jews in baseball, 2) Access to a pre-game make-your-own-kosher-sandwich-bar, 3) A Jewish Community Day Nationals t-shirt, 4) $10 voucher to concession stands, and 5) a pretty good seat.

Other highlights included: My trip to the Gelato stand, the schwag I picked up from the Federation’s booth at the game (including a giant Guide To Jewish Life in DC), the Nats homerun late in the game, the milkshake from Shake Shack (from Sara S!  Yes, a day of great nutrition), meeting Greg F. (the brains behind Jewish Community Day), and a visit from the Nats mascot (the eagle… see below).

Disappointments: My favorite president of the four regular runners — Jefferson — took an early lead in the President’s Race, but he got knocked down by Washington on the final stretch, and Washington wound up winning it all.  Jews for Jesus stood outside the metro for the Ballpark; I’m guessing this had something to do with Jewish Community Day…  My second Jews for Jesus spotting in 4 days.

 

Good seats in left field. Shame no right-handed hitters went deep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Eagle (I'm guessing he has a special name) stopped by our section.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yay Empire Kosher!


Taking advantage of the last minutes of the kosher deli sandwich bar before the game starts...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They're always friendly at least...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USA: The Jewish promised land

We Jews have always looked to Israel as our promised land. The dates 586 BCE and 70 CE (the destruction of the first and second Temples and the start of the Diaspora communities) are etched into the collective Jewish mind, and we end each Yom Kippur and Passover with the saying: “Next year in Jerusalem.”

But in many respects, we Jews found our promised land when we first stepped foot on American soil (Boston, 1649, Solomon Franco), and later when we came in larger numbers during the 1800s (250,000 Jews by 1880). For the first time, Jews had a home country devoid of a history of Jewish expulsion or systematic Jewish bloodshed. For the first time in history, Jews had a country that – from the beginning – gave de jure acknowledgement to the right to practice to Judaism and the right to be an equal citizen as a Jew.

One Jew – Haym Solomon – quickly recognized the opportunities that the liberal values of the American Revolutionaries might afford future Jews. Solomon put his money where his thoughts were and gave $20,000 to George Washington’s army, making him the largest financier of the American Revolution.

Success ensued. Jews have made gold out of lead in many countries – think of Muslim Spain from 711 to 1492 or Nineteenth Century Germany – but none of these accomplishments can hold a feather to what is truly the golden age of Jewish history: Twentieth Century United States. American Jews freely practiced Judaism; American Jews set up Jewish schools; American Jews ran large corporations; American Jews climbed to the top levels of politics; American Jews became top performers and entertainers; and, as we often proudly boast, American Jews won a whole load of Nobel Prizes. We often decry the anti-Semitic canard that “Jews run the country, or at least Wall Street,” but at the same time, we take some pride in knowing that, yes, we Jews have climbed to positions of great power in the United States. By the end of the century, the average American Jewish household earned $8,000 more than the average American family. Imagine what our ancestors would have said had they known that there would be a country in which Jews were not only tolerated, but in which many Jews were the bosses, the ones hiring and firing their gentile peers without fear of violent retribution.

Has the United States been perfect for Jews? No. Obvious examples include anti-Jewish immigration quotas in the 1920s, anti-Jewish quotas at universities around the same time, Jewish bans from country clubs even in the 1960s, and of course the Jewish-filled ships that fled the Holocaust only to be turned back at American shores. The micro Jewish narrative also speaks of Jewish hardships in America – Jewish bullying at school was commonplace during our parents’ childhood, and it still exists in parts of the country today. Additionally, more hate crimes are committed in the United States against Jews than against any other religion (by far – 71.9% of religious motivated crimes were anti-Semitic in 2009).

But imperfection doesn’t preclude greatness. And the American Jewish history is the greatest tale the Jewish people have to offer in the past 2,000 years. Maybe the Israeli Jewish story will someday surpass ours, but if I had to point to a thriving Jewish culture that is free and – to use my favorite saying – “really dominating at life,” I would point to United States, and perhaps I’d even point to right here in Washington, DC, as a place where Jews are having a blast and making the world a better place.

Rock on, American Jews. Happy Fourth!

Stephen

 

Stephen Richer is a co-founder and director of Gather the Jews.  He can be reached at stephen@gatherdc.org.

 

 


Jews at work

On Sunday, June 26, Jewish philanthropy group Yachad repaired houses in northeast DC.   The effort — as advertised in this previous GTJ post — was part of Yachad’s Mitzvah Day for young Jewish professionals.

Below are pictures from Sunday’s event.  Contact Kendra (kendra@yachad-dc.org) if you’re interested in other Jewish volunteer opportunities in the DC area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry AIPAC!

Image from Graphics Hunt

As noted in a recent post to this blog, AIPAC host its first Summer Seminar this Thursday, June 30.

Unfortunately, the GTJ Giant Summer Happy Hour is also this Thursday.

How did this happen?  Didn’t we recently complain about too little summer Jewish programming?  Now there are two awesome events on one night?!

It’s our (GTJ) fault.  When we first learned of the AIPAC event, we understood it to be only for interns, so we thought we were free to schedule a happy hour on the same day.  We were wrong.  The AIPAC event is for both interns and young professionals.

We assure you we did this with the best intentions, but sometimes the best intentions pave the road to hell…   Also, despite the fact that I studied in the department of John Mearsheimer, rest assured that this the GTJ happy hour is not a secret plot to sabotage AIPAC – we certainly don’t have that type of power, and we definitely respect AIPAC as a valuable contributor to Jewish programming.

Fortunately for you the Jewish audience, this only represents an increase in consumer choice.  Think iPhone and Droid – two phenomenal brands that offer fairly similar products.  At both events you will get to meet fellow young Jewish professionals, and at both events you can probably strike up an informed conversation about Israel.

So which one should you go to?  GTJ obviously, but if I had a time machine, I would definitely go to both!

Sorry AIPAC!

Stephen is a co-founder and director of Gather the Jews.