Meet Jillian: Newest Jew of the Week!


Allie: How did you wind up living in DC?

Jill: When I graduated from college, I was looking for a job in DC, which made sense because I’m originally from Virginia. I got a job working for a luxury lifestyle magazine in DC and then switched directions. I’ve been working for an IP software company for the past four years.

Allie: Describe your perfect Sunday in DC?

Jill: I would wake up and have coffee at A Baked Joint. Then, I’d go to Solidcore and eat a fabulous meal at Fancy Radish. I love that place because I’m a vegetarian and can eat everything on the menu! Even my boyfriend Joel, who is an avid meat eater, loves it. At night, I’d want to see a movie and then go to Timber Pizza (Editor’s note: Timber is owned by the Jewish Deli Owner of the Week!). Also, I’d definitely want to scooter around the city.

Scootering is my secret obsession. It’s so fun, I highly recommend it.

Allie: I hear you recently converted to Judaism. What was the best and toughest part of that process?

Jill: I’m still in the process of converting. I did my conversion class at Temple Sinai, and am doing my conversion with Rabbi Evan Krame who runs The Jewish Studio. The conversion process can be very intimidating. Not being Jewish, I was scared about fitting in and being accepted. Going through this process for the past 9 months, the Jewish community has been so welcoming and taken me under their wing. They’ve always been open to my questions and have helped me be involved.

Allie: What motivated you to convert to Judaism?

Jill: As Joel and I plan for our future together, I want to make sure that we are a united front when it comes to religion and how we want to raise our future family.

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

Jill: Hanukkah! As part of my celebration I will be eating my weight in latkes.

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

Jill: Cooking and baking. I like to know what is going into my food so when I can, I cook. Now that it’s fall, I like making pumpkin bread, apple pies, and different fall desserts.

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

Jill: In the U.S., I want to go to Seattle, which I’m doing for Thanksgiving. I want to go to Austin, Santa Fe, Jackson Hole, and Maine. Abroad, I’d love to do Brazil, Croatia, and Ireland.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Jill: There’s never a shortage of food.

Special note from Jillian: If you or anyone you know is under the age of 50 and wants to play Canasta or Mahjong, comment below!

jill joel



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

Meet Alex: Jewish Fashionista of the Week!


How did you wind up living in DC?

I came here for grad school after living in New York for eight years. I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York and then worked in fashion for a few years. But, at the end of the day, I realized that I wasn’t contributing to the world in a positive way. I felt like I was putting forth more product into the world that wasn’t helping anyone. I had to rethink how I wanted to spend my days, and that involved a transition to graduate school in DC.

What did you go to graduate school for?

I got my master’s in International Peace and Conflict Resolution and focused on gender at American University. Right now, I’m working as a sustainability consultant for fashion startups. I work with them on developing sustainable and innovative business plans, goal setting, and brand alignment initiatives – among other things. I would really like to grow that.

That’s a great combo of fashion and sustainability. I hear you also have a side hustle as a personal fashion-guru for your friends. Tell me about that!

I love working with my friends on their closets. I help them re-organize and minimize their wardrobes so they can better use it in their daily lives. A lot of people don’t like to shop, and in DC, which has a very typical wardrobe, it can be sometimes be demoralizing to figure out how to fit your personality into your work wardrobe. I love helping people shop for their work day, their body type, and understand how to make their wardrobe more sustainable. (Editor’s Note: Email Alex if you want some fashion help!)

What’s one fashion tip you can give for fall?

It’s really important to have a staple outfit. Since Fall is about layering, zone in on a few key pieces of outerwear. Invest in that coat or scarf that you love and can wear as it continues to get colder. We live in a city where we walk a lot- so think of your outerwear like another outfit!


What do you like most about DC’s Jewish community?

I like how diverse it is. I’ve met a lot of  amazing Jewish people that come from all different areas of life and don’t fit into a stereotypical box.

What’s your favorite way to celebrate Shabbat?

Having a lot of food, great people, and good conversation.

Who is your Jewish role model?

My aunt. She passed away last year from Leukemia. She was the matriarch of our family and such a  strong, beautiful, and very fashionable woman. She embodies all the things that I really admire. I think of her all the time.

How do you destress at the end of a long week?

Hair mask. Face mask. I do that every week. I’m all about self care.


What’s something you want to learn this year?

French. I’m always working on becoming a better French speaker, but it gets put on my back burner a lot. 

When Jews of DC gather…

There’a a lot of Jewish geography.

alex t

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 Rachel: Jewish Extrovert of the Week!

Rachel Shabad loves being around people, and dreams of hosting a Shabbat dinner with 2 of her favs – John Krasinski and Hillary Clinton. Also, it’s her birthday this week, so be sure to wish her HBD in the comments below.


Allie: How did you wind up living here?

Rachel: I went to American University where I studied Political Science, and then stayed in DC to pursue a career in politics. I graduated four years ago, so I’ve been here about 8 ½ years. I love it.

Allie: Why have you stayed in DC all these years?

Rachel: I’ve stayed because of the community. The Jewish community, my AU community, and all the different people I’ve met have kept me here. In DC, you meet so many people from around the world.

Allie: What is your perfect DC day?

Rachel: I’d love the weather to be a nice fall day. I enjoy taking day trips out of DC. I’d go apple picking and to a winery, which is what I’m going to be doing for my birthday celebration this weekend. (Editor’s note: Rachel’s birthday is October 23! Wish her a happy birthday in the comments below.)


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

Rachel: Meeting up with my best friend and drinking a bottle of wine. I’m super extroverted, so I like being with people and immersing myself into things that will totally distract me from a stressful day. Yesterday, after a long day of work I went to Moishe House Columbia Heights’ Italian Cooking Night, which was really fun! We made our own pasta.

Allie: Who would you invite to join your Shabbat dinner?

Rachel: John Krasinski and Hillary Clinton.

Allie: What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?

Rachel: I love the High Holidays. Every day should include some self-reflection, but when you are doing it as a community, it’s really special. Thinking about the past year together, how we can better ourselves. I’m not big into services; I never went to Hebrew School and never have a Bat Mitzvah, so going to a service is just me memorizing the tunes, and I’m not really sure what it means. I feel more comfortable having a nice dinner to celebrate the Jewish holidays.

What’s at the top of your bucket list?

Rachel: I’d love to take a solo trip. I don’t like being alone and love traveling, so I’ve always wanted to face my fears and take a trip and explore a new place by myself.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Rachel: They gather over wine.

rachel 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 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.

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.

Meet Bryan: Jewish Swimmer of the Week!


Allie: What’s your favorite thing about living in DC?

Bryan: There’s always something new to discover and explore. I really enjoy trying new restaurants, and taking in as much culture as I can, whether it be a show, museum, or monument. DC has become such a world class city. I also live near the zoo so I go to the zoo all the time. Every morning around 5, I begin to hear the noises from the animals waking up. It’s an inspiring way to start the day.

Allie: Describe your perfect day in the city from start to finish.

Bryan: I travel a fair amount, so a day off in DC with no agenda is a great luxury. I’d get up early and go for a swim. I was a competitive swimmer growing up, and have tried to recapture a bit of that recently. I’d get some reading in (fiction on the weekends) and would definitely want try to catch up on any news I may have missed during the week. Then, I’d go out to dinner with friends. I love having no agenda on my days off and just seeing how the day unfolds.

Allie: What kind of swimming do you like to do?

Bryan: I was a sprinter- I actually raced Michael Phelps when I was younger. The mental and physical toughness you need to be a great swimmer is something I’ve always respected and been humbled by. My grandfather was a swimmer up until he passed away, and he inspired me to find a sport I could have for life. These days, I try to go as far as I can. In June, I did an open-water swim in Cape May, New Jersey. The race began by jumping fifteen feet off of a ferry into the Delaware bay, and when I hit the water, I promptly lost my goggles. Not the greatest experience, but I finished. 

Allie: Other than swimming, what’s your favorite thing to do after the work day?

Bryan: I recently started playing tennis regularly. A few of my coworkers and I actually started a tennis club at work. We have a group that gets together each week to play, and we don’t talk business. It really is fun. I like being active and being outside.

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

Bryan: I don’t like New Year’s resolutions, but I make pretty solid resolutions throughout the year. I make goals for myself each quarter. I’m always trying to take everything I do to the next level. And frankly, I’ll often fail. Sometimes, that’s the most important part: failure. My failures often lend greater insight into how I can improve my performance as a human. My resolutions are often based around self-improvement. It’s a never-ending pursuit, but it yields great results. 

Allie: You recently participated in GatherDC’s Beyond the Tent. How did you decide to go on that retreat?

Bryan: My first experience with GatherDC was the Giving Circle. I was looking for a way to give back in a meaningful way and found GatherDC online. I didn’t know what to expect, but the Giving Circle experience led me to realize there are multiple ways to make an impact in the surrounding community and in my own life. Mollie (one of the Giving Circle facilitators) brought up Beyond the Tent at the last Giving Circle meeting and I was hooked. It was something I’d never done before. At this stage of my life I’m trying to challenge myself in every way I possibly can.

Allie: What was your experience like on Beyond the Tent?

Bryan: It was a transformative experience. We discussed a wide variety of important topics, we shared our experiences, but the real reflection happened afterwards and continues to happen as we move forward on this journey. I came away with a bunch of new friends and some really difficult ideas to grapple with. Rabbi Aaron has a unique ability to be thought-provoking and bring up ideas that while sometimes uncomfortable at first, engage the mind and take you out of your comfort zone.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Bryan: Jewish moms are happy.




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 Steph: Jewish Fitness Buff of the Week!


Allie: How did you wind up living in DC?

Steph: I’m from Montgomery County – born and raised. I went to New Orleans for college, then lived in San Francisco for a job, and then decided it was time to come back to my roots. I’ve been in DC for three years now.

Allie: I hear you just started a cool new job – tell me about it!

Steph: I’m the U.S. Marketing and Communications Manager for Leon, which is a mediterranean-inspired place that serves naturally fast food.

Allie: Hmm..why have I never heard of this place?

Steph: It’s not open yet! Leon is opening in early September.

Allie: Once it opens, how do I get there and what should I order?

Steph: It’s on 1724 L Street in Farragut North, and any of our sandwiches are delicious – they’re served on challah buns. We also have really good falafel and lamb kofta. (NOTE: Follow Leon on Facebook and Instagram for updates)

Allie: Can you offer a deal to GatherDC-ers?

Steph: On September 5th and 6th, you can come in for free food if you give us feedback on it. RSVP to Also, if you sign up for our Leon club you can get 40% off after 5:00pm once it opens.

Allie: At the end of a long work day, what’s your favorite way to relax?

Steph: Yoga. But definitely not hot yoga. I really like The Yoga Shala in Shaw.

Allie: Besides The Yoga Shala, what are your top 3 favorite workout classes or studios in DC?

Steph: Oh there’s too many to pick just three! I’d say Off Road for boxing, FlyBarre for barre, and Reformation Fitness for HIIT/TRX.

Allie: What’s your resolution for this coming year?

Steph: Keeping a good work-life balance. I want to find time to work out as much as I’d like while crushing my new job.

Allie: How do you motivate yourself to workout so often?

Steph: The prospect of one day obtaining a 6-pack keeps me going.

Allie: When and/or where are you the happiest?

Steph: When I’m snuggling my Australian lab Sophie, while outside of course.steph and dog

Allie: Who is your Jewish role model?

Steph: My grandpa. He’s a Holocaust Survivor. He lost half his family and came here when he was 16 knowing no English. He had to make a life for himself and his family. Today, he volunteers for The United States Holocaust Museum once a week.

Allie: If you could have 3 celebs in your entourage, who would you choose and why?

Steph: Anna Kendrick, everyone tells me I look like her and she is awesome. Gal Gadot, because woman power. Channing Tatum, because he’s always been my man crush.

Allie: What is your favorite Jewish food?

Steph: My grandpa’s potato kugel and my mom’s noodle kugel – really all types of kugel.

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

Steph: Being with my family. Eating lots of apples and honey.

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

Steph: They make and eat good food while kvelling or kvetching.

steph g

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 Daniel: Jewish Restaurant Owner of the Week!

Ever stepped into Duke’s Grocery for some truffle mac n’ cheese and an Old Fashioned?

If yes, or if no, but you happen to be a human who enjoys delicious food, it’s time you get to know the man behind it all.

This week, we were lucky enough to score an interview with the managing partner of Duke’s Grocery, Duke’s Counter, and the upcoming DC Korean BBQ joint. Get to know this Jewish restaurant owner extraordinaire – Daniel Kramer!

daniel kramerAllie: How did you wind up living in DC?

Daniel: I came to do the politics thing in late 2008. Frankly, I did not enjoy the same success in that field as I had in other cities but I liked DC so I figured out something else to do.

Allie: What’s the biggest difference between living in DC and LA?

Daniel: Logistically, weather and size. Culturally, almost everything.  

Allie: How did you decide to open up Duke’s Grocery?

Daniel: We just rolled up our sleeves and went to work with not too much more than an idea and a willingness to learn. The idea came from prior trips to East London but the menu is influenced by all the places we’ve been, so there is constant evolution.

Allie: Who would you be most excited to see dining in one of your restaurants?

Daniel: When our guests bring in their families, that is the biggest honor for us.

Allie: Does Duke’s have any special plans for the Jewish high holidays?

Daniel: Nope. Open for business as usual, though I will be at services.

Allie: I hear you are opening a Korean BBQ joint! How did that idea come about?

Daniel: It’s a delicious, fun style of cuisine and there are a ton of exciting flavors. Growing up in L.A., it’s everywhere and I could no longer understand why we don’t have it here. So I decided to change that.

Allie: What is the hardest part of being a restaurant owner? What’s the best part?

Daniel: The hardest part is the constancy. There is no let up. But I take great satisfaction in knowing we are creating and sustaining jobs for our employees while serving hearty meals and stiff drinks to our guests.

Allie: If someone goes to Duke’s Grocery or Duke’s Counter only one time, what should they order?

Daniel: The easy answer is the Proper Burger, but this question assumes they will only visit once – and I’m not ready to concede that.

dukes grocery

Allie: What are you most looking forward to this coming year?

Daniel: The opening of the third Duke’s location (at 2000 Pennsylvania Ave NW in Foggy Bottom) and the opening of the Korean BBQ (at 8th & Florida in Shaw).

Allie: What is your dream day in DC from start to finish (if you have absolutely nothing scheduled and perfect weather)?

Daniel: Wake up with no alarm. Turn phone off. Make a smoothie and some breakfast. Take a jog and hit the gym for some weights. Steam, shower. Cruise over to the Phillips Collection and chill. Grab lunch at Sushi Taro. Pick tomatoes at my garden plot. Read a good book under a tree with a light breeze. Go to the farmers market for dinner ingredients. Open a good bottle of wine. Make dinner for friends on the rooftop. Be grateful for a care-free day. Go to sleep. Then repeat.

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

Daniel: Heading to the airport with my passport in hand.

Allie: When are you the happiest?

Daniel: Exploring a new culture and learning about its people, cuisine and customs.

Allie: Who is your role model?

Daniel: My grandfather, Ernest Hagler. He recently passed just 3 weeks shy of 97. He was a total mensch and extremely humble.

Allie: What is one piece of wisdom or a quote that inspires you?

Daniel: “There was a beautiful miracle this morning but you may have missed it: the sun came up.” – Abraham Joshua Heschel

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

Daniel: …good things usually happen.



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