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DID JEW KNOW? It’s already time to dust off that shofar and wake up your soul

did jew know

For all the shofar lovers out there, you may be pleased to know that blowing the shofar is a ritual that can be done well before Rosh Hashanah. In fact, starting this Sunday, when the new Hebrew month of Elul begins, there is a tradition of sounding the ram’s horn every single day for a month up until and including the first day of the next month, a.k.a. Rosh Hashanah, a.k.a. the Jewish New Year. 

Just as you would train for a marathon or practice before performing with your band, it makes sense that we would spend time emotionally preparing ourselves for the High Holy Days. These essential days are a time for making amends with the people we have hurt (including ourselves) and recommitting to our moral values. 

Personally, I’ve come to appreciate having some lead time to gauge where I am in my life and plan for how I can, to the best of my efforts, set myself up for success moving forward. 

I like to think of the High Holy Days as a mirror that reflects back at us an honest reflection of who we are and what we’ve done. However, when I don’t give the necessary thought and emotional energy to where I want to be, how I can get there, and what my realistic obstacles are before the High Holy Days arrive, I wind up feeling more overwhelmed by Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur than is helpful. By spending time in self-reflection throughout the entire month leading up to this time of year, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur can ultimately be days I am able to fully honor and uplift my process of renewal and forgiveness. 

Judaism recognizes how hard it can be to observe and change our behaviors, as well as reconcile our personal relationships.Therefore, with innovations over time, Jewish tradition has come to offer us a whole High Holy Day season, rather than just two or three days to think about and embrace real change. 

This is why the practice of personal introspection has evolved as a central part of the month of Elul. Some call this practice cheshbon hanefesh, or soul-accounting, and it includes mindful reflection through journaling, conversation, meditation or prayer, and, you may have guessed it, blowing the shofar. (Side note: therapy works, too!)

Personally, I love the blowing of the shofar (evidence below). I love the eerie, loud cries that emanate from it. I love how it makes us uncomfortable and alerts us to the urgency of addressing what feels broken in our lives. The shofar is there to guide us so we can be motivated to take positive action for the sake of improving our own lives and the wider world. 

Since the mitzvah, or commandment, around the shofar is to actually hear its sounds rather than blow it, I’m including a video of me blowing the shofar that you can listen to once a day during your own period of cheshbon hanefesh. Give it a try, and let me know how it’s going!

As we begin this new month and start sifting through the messiness of our lives, remember to embrace the many good things you’ve done and the parts of you that you absolutely cherish. It is by recognizing and accepting who we are fully, that we can take steps to become more whole, more loving, and more effective in this work of soul-accounting and in our lives.


 

ilanaAbout the author: Rabbi Ilana Zietman is GatherDC’s Community Rabbi. She loves meeting new people and exploring Jewish ideas that are relevant and alive for people in their 20’s and 30’s. When Rabbi Ilana isn’t officially Gathering, she can be found cooking in her kitchen, practicing yoga, going on hikes, desperately searching for good pizza in DC (seriously, help her find some!) and watching a lot of tv.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DESSERT

Alex Levin’s Rosh Hashanah Pop-Up Bake Shop

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

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

dessert

Alex Levin’s Rosh Hashanah Bakeshop

 

Sunflower Bakery

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

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

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

CATERING

Char Bar

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

Check out the order form here.

Hill Country BBQ Brisket

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

DINE-IN

Joe’s Stone Crab Rosh Hashanah Menu

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

View their entirely delectable menu here.

Mon Ami Gabi

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

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

Check out the full menu here.

challah

Alex Levin’s Rosh Hashanah Bakeshop

Summer House

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

Teddy and the Bully Bar

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

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

Dino’s Grotto

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

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

brisket

Photo by Dino’s Grotto

 

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

 

About the Authors

Rachel Nieves

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

 

Julie Thompson

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

 

 

 

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

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. 

challah

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. 

dessert

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!

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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 alevin@schlowrg.com.

*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.

DC High Holiday Guide 2018!

5779 high holiday guide

THIS GUIDE IS OLD! See the new one here.

High holiday time is one of our top 4 favorite seasons of the year here at GatherDC. And guess what…it’s back!

DC kills it every year when it comes to having fun ways to ring in the Jewish New Year. Don’t believe us? Check out the list below. Whether you’re looking for a Reform Erev Rosh Hashanah service, a Conservative Second Day Rosh Hashanah service, or a an alternative Kol Nidre experience, this list has it. (Don’t see anything you like? Email us. Let’s talk.)

  1. First, explore the list of events below that are happening across the DC-area.
  2. Then, email us at info@gatherdc.org if you’re not sure which event is right for you, and/or want a friendly face to go with.
  3. Finally, watch this video with the sound ON.

Happy New Year from GatherDC! from Allison Friedman on Vimeo.

 

Boom. Done. You’re welcome.

Actually, HOLD UP. Before you dive in this list of fun, here’s a few important things to note:

a) High holiday tickets sell out quickly, so make your Jewish New Year plans early. Also, The EDCJCC has discounted high holiday tickets for young professionals here.

b) Don’t see your event high holiday event listed? Know of a Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur service that should be on here? Submit your Jewish New Year event here.

c) When a high holiday service/event is crossed out, it’s sold out.

d) Need to exchange your ticket? Want to go to a service that is sold out? Use our handy-dandy Jewish High Holiday ticket exchange!

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HIGH HOLIDAY PREP

Saturday, September 1st

Tuesday, September 4th – Wednesday, October 3rd

Wednesday, September 5th

Thursday, September 6th

Saturday, September 8th

Saturday, September 8th – Sunday, September 9th

Sunday, September 9th

Thursday, September 13th 

Saturday, September 15th

Sunday, September 16th 

Monday, September 17th 

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ROSH HASHANAH: September 9th – 11th

Sunday, September 9th (Erev Rosh Hashanah)

Monday, September 10th (Rosh Hashanah, Day 1)

Tuesday, September 11th (Rosh Hashanah, Day 2)

NOTE: If you need to exchange your Rosh Hashanah service ticket – or want a ticket to a sold out service, use our High Holiday Ticket Exchange here.

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YOM KIPPUR: September 18th – 19th

Tuesday, September 18th (Kol Nidre)

Wednesday, September 19th (Yom Kippur Day)

Wednesday, September 19th (Neilah/Break Fast)

NOTE: If you need to exchange your Yom Kippur service ticket – or want a ticket to a sold out service, use our High Holiday Ticket Exchange here.

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SUKKOT: September 23rd – 30th

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SIMCHAT TORAH: October 1st – 2nd

Monday, October 1st – Tuesday, October 2nd (Simchat Torah)

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HIGH HOLIDAY INSPIRATION

Elul

Rosh Hashanah

Yom Kippur

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RECIPES

 

 

The High Holiday Guide on this web page will keep you informed of activities and services you can attend in the Washington, DC area. Scroll through for all events around the High Holidays in Greater Washington including Erev Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Kol Nidre, Break the Fast, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, high holiday recipes, high holiday inspiration, and more. For questions or assistance, please contact us at info@gatherdc.orgGatherDC welcomes the participation of interfaith ​individuals, and people of all abilities, backgrounds, gender identities and sexual orientations. GatherDC ​fosters inclusive communities​​​ and strive​s​ to accommodate all needs whenever possible. If you require special accommodations, please contact us​ in advance of the event​ at (202) 656-0743, and we will make every effort to meet your needs.