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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.

GatherDC’s Alternative Yom Kippur 2018

alt yk

GatherDC invites Jewish and Jew-curious 20s + 30s across DC to celebrate Yom Kippur together. We’re hosting a range of alternative Yom Kippur experiences in non-traditional spaces to make it easy for Jewish young adults to reflect and observe this holiday in a fun and meaningful way. 

We invite you to choose one – or all – of the following programs to take part in this Yom Kippur.

Alternative Yom Kippur Experience

For many American Jews, the three words most associated with Yom Kippur are: synagogue, prayer, and fasting… but that’s actually not what Yom Kippur is about. It’s about reflecting on your relationships, confronting the fact that your time on earth is limited, and asking yourself – how do I want to live my life? Come to GatherDC’s second annual Alternative Yom Kippur experience. We’ll try to connect to the major themes of the day through thought-provoking talks, small-group discussions, personal reflection, and music. Not in a synagogue. No liturgical prayer. No denominations. No knowledge of anything Jewish required.

  • When? Wednesday, September 19th from 9:30am – 12:00pm
  • Where? Franklin Hall (1348 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC)
  • How much? $18
  • Questions? Email Jackie at jackiez@gatherdc.org
  • Who is it for? Post-college and pre-family, 20s and 30s who are Jewish or Jew-curious. Come with a partner, friends, or by yourself!
  • Sign Up Here

“Lunch Time” Meditation and Journaling

Yom Kippur is our chance to take a step back from the craziness of our daily lives and spend some time reflecting on who we are, who we’ve been, and who we want to be. Join other 20s+30s at GatherDC’s townhouse as we pause to do just this – through mindful meditation and journaling. No meditation experience needed. Just a desire to learn, connect, and grow.

  • When? Wednesday, September 19th from 12:30pm – 2:00pm (Your “lunch break”)
  • Where? GatherDC’s Townhouse, 1817 M Street NW
  • How much? Suggested $5 donation
  • Questions? Email Julie at juliet@gatherdc.org
  • Who is it for? Jewish and Jew-curious 20 and 30 somethings in the DC-area.
  • Sign Up HereSpace is limited to the first 30 people who register.

Service Project at DC Central Kitchen: THIS EVENT IS NOW FULL

This Yom Kippur, join us as we take part in a meaningful service project to help combat hunger. Prepare the afternoon meal at DC Central Kitchen that will be distributed to nearby homeless shelters, transitional homes, and nonprofit organizations.

NOTE: We’re excited to host a service project to switch up the Yom Kippur paradigm from focusing on fasting to focusing on helping those in need. If you plan on fasting, please use discretion if you feel that you cannot be around or prepare food. Out of respect for those who are fasting, we ask everyone to refrain from eating on site.

  • When? Wednesday, September 19th from 12:45pm – 3:00pm
  • Where? DC Central Kitchen
  • How much? Free
  • Questions? Email Mollie at mollies@gatherdc.org
  • Who is it for? Jewish and Jew-curious 20s and 30s in the DC-area with a passion for giving back.
  • This event is full. Registration for this event is now closed. If you’d like to attend future service projects, click here.

Gather the Food: A Potluck Style Break FastTHIS EVENT IS NOW FULL

WE CAN EAT! Let’s celebrate with good friends and great food. We’re ordering a huge bagel spread, stocking up on drinks, and opening up our townhouse to our amazing Jewish DC community. We can’t wait to break the fast with you and whatever delicious dish you choose to bring along. Space is limited so sign up ASAP.

  • When? Wednesday, September 19th at 6:30pm
  • Where? GatherDC’s Townhouse, 1817 M Street NW
  • How much? Free. Please bring a vegetarian food or drink to share.
  • Questions? Email Rachel at racheln@gatherdc.org
  • Who is it for? Jewish and Jew-curious 20s and 30s in the DC-area.
  • This event is full. Registration is now closed. Please check out our High Holiday Guide for other Break Fast experiences.
yom kippur

Last year’s Alternative Yom Kippur Experience

For a full list of Jewish High Holiday offerings across DC, check out our 2018 High Holiday Guide.

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GatherDC welcomes the participation of interfaith individuals of all abilities and background. GatherDC fosters inclusive communities and strives 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. By attending, you understand that photographs and/or video may be taken at this event, and your picture may appear on the GatherDCwebsite, publications, or other media.

 

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.

 

An alternative view of Yom Kippur

For most Jews, the two words “Yom Kippur” evoke two other words: fasting and synagogue. I decided to lead a Lunch-and-Learn outside of a synagogue to see what would happen. Everyone who came was fasting (at least at that point), and most had come from synagogue, so it wasn’t the counter-cultural group of rebels I might have expected. Nevertheless, we challenged these two main associations, and in doing so opened up new avenues through which to connect to the day and Judaism more broadly.

First – fasting. On Yom Kippur day, nearly every synagogue reads the section of Isaiah that seemingly mocks the very approach of everyone listening. “Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves?” he asks. “Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”

Isaiah wasn’t against fasting, so this probably isn’t an endorsement of the Broad City approach to Yom Kippur. But his words push us to rethink our understanding of piety. Is the point of fasting to transcend our physicality, feel holy and connect to God? Or are we supposed to be out in the streets, feeding those who are hungry year-round? There are obviously ways to reconcile this tension, but given the lack of social pressure to volunteer in a soup kitchen on Yom Kippur, it seems we might be overemphasizing the spiritual. Isaiah’s model for Judaism is one rooted in service, not services.

Which brings us to our second idea – synagogue. There is a debate in the Talmud about which is more sacred: a house of prayer or a house of study. While the conclusion, perhaps intentionally, is left unclear, what’s significant is the very question itself.

When I was working on a college campus, I would hear students say “I want to get more involved with Hillel,” or more often, “I feel bad I don’t come to Hillel.” I soon realized that “getting involved with Hillel” or “coming to Hillel” meant, to these students, going to services on Friday night. So ingrained is the idea that Judaism equals synagogue that even Hillel becomes one. This attitude continues after college, where “getting involved in Jewish life” for most Jews in their 20s means exploring the different synagogues in the area.

But it wasn’t always this way. There was a time when a synagogue was not the central avenue for religious expression but rather was part of a larger religious ecosystem, balanced by the equally-if-not-more-important house of study. That institution has more or less been lost in American Jewish life today, and with it, the space to wrestle, learn and grow. This is especially sad given the high number of younger Jews who are craving personal meaning through Jewish texts. According to one Chassidic rebbe (the Netivot Shalom), the only purpose of the book of Genesis is character development. But that can’t happen without spaces to engage with the text.

Our sages describe three distinct religious approaches through three types of relationships: person and God, person and self, and person and others. When we say there are different ways to be Jewish, we often distinguish between being religious and cultural. But there are different ways to be religiously Jewish, too. We’ve focused on the first approach (person and God) at the expense of the other two. Let’s honor the diversity of our religious expression by encouraging the exploration of these alternative paths.

2015/5776 High Holiday Guide

This is the guide from 2015! Be sure to check out the one from 2017 here.

The coconut provides a nutritious source (2)

Erev Rosh Hashana—Sunday, September 13

Rosh Hashana (1st Day)—Monday, September 14

Rosh Hashana (2nd Day)—Tuesday, September 15

Kol Nidre—Tuesday, September 22

Yom Kippur—Wednesday, September 23

Other Resources:

  • High Holiday ticket exchange! Have high holiday tickets that you are not using? Enter them here and check out what tickets are available here!
  • EntryPointDC High Holiday Tickets – Many of the congregations in the area sell their tickets through EntryPointDC, get your tickets today!
  • 10Q – 10 Days. 10 Questions.
  • Jewels of Elul – Daily inspiration every day of the Jewish month of Rosh Hashanah (Elul)
  • Educational materials – from AJWS
  • My Bubby – offering a 20% discount off their honey card of the month. Just enter the code “sweetrosh” upon checkout by August 31.
  • JSSA – Support JSSA volunteers as they deliver baskets of traditional holiday items and food to Jewish families and individuals who are unable to afford these items on their own.
  • Jewish Food Experience – Top 10 Recipes for a Scrumptious Year

A Break with Tradition: Over 1,200 High Holiday Visitors Flood the Outdoor, Musical Worship Experience at Adas Israel

Kol Nidre at Adas IsraelOver 1,200 eager Jewish High Holiday visitors descended on the outdoor plaza at Adas Israel Congregation, the oldest and largest conservative synagogue in Washington, DC,  to experience an innovative and free Kol Nidre (Yom Kippur evening) service this past Friday. It was led entirely by Adas clergy-member Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt – an increasingly popular and dynamic young woman Rabbi. Accompanied by a professional live band, this unique High Holiday service boasted reflective eastern music, a pattern of dancing lights in the plaza trees, a fully-lit moon, and over a thousand voices singing and chanting reflectively in unison. This alternative Yom Kippur service drew both synagogue members and non-members alike, and was particularly well attended by DC area Young Professionals, as well as unaffiliated Jews seeking a “less conventional” worship experience for the Jewish High Holidays.

The service reflected a major break with the more traditional High Holiday services most have come to expect from the Conservative Jewish movement – which traditionally charges a great deal of money for High Holiday tickets and wouldn’t permit musical instruments to play on Sabbaths and Holidays. The many guest and visitors (which included Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, among others), as well as synagogue members described it as one of the most unique and powerful evenings in the life of the 144 year old synagogue.

Adas Israel Congregation, a historically traditional American synagogue, has just completed a major synagogue renovation and rejuvenation project known as the Vision of Renewal. This Renewal Initiative included the fifteen million dollar renovation of the synagogue’s building and facilities – the major premise of which was to change the “feeling” in the building by creating warm, welcoming, natural worship and gathering spaces flooded by natural light. The initiative also includes the creation of new and innovative programs and learning opportunities designed to meet the needs of an ever-evolving 21st century religious landscape.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASenior Rabbi Gil Steinlauf says “innovative new programs and worship experiences like this exciting new Kol Nidre service are exactly the tools we need to change the way we experience ‘synagogue.’ By meeting people right where they’re at spiritually, as well as creating an open-minded, non-judgmental atmosphere that is open to everyone, regardless of their relationship to God, we are confidently meeting an ongoing “Customer Service Problem” many American churches, synagogues and other religious institutions are facing today.”

Adas Israel billed this enormous outdoor worship gathering as “Return Again to Kol Nidre, and it was co-sponsored by the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington at Adas Israel, which offers programs and workshops designed to help deepen the Jewish experience of the “spiritual” through Jewish meditation, yoga, chanting, mindful learning, and spirited Shabbat & Holiday programs, all within a uniquely Jewish context. The synagogue also offered a more “traditional” Yom Kippur service inside its new newly renovated Charles E. Smith Sanctuary, which also drew close to 1500 members and families.

Shortly before the service began, Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt announced to the growing crowd as they eagerly anticipated the start of the music and chanting, “Let this be a sacred space, a safe space, a space of dynamism and welcome. Let this be a space where we can all raise our voices in prayer and song before the sky, before the earth, before God, and before each other.”

Despite uneasiness from the more traditional sects of Conservative Judaism, the clergy and leadership at Adas Israel are confident that these new approaches to Jewish life and ritual are exactly the ingredients needed to revitalize the increasingly dwindling movement. Through these renewal initiatives, Adas is betting future generations of Jews  – who aren’t Orthodox, and therefore not bound to show up at a synagogue  –  but are genuinely interested in embracing modern Judaism, are free to meet and explore their innermost beliefs and ideas.

Rabbi Steinlauf says, “Today’s Jews are looking to meet other like-minded people and find an authentic Jewish identity. They are open to sharing new ideas, and they want ‘the real thing.’”

This wildly successful, alternative High Holiday experience represents the next step in the ongoing evolution of this traditional American synagogue, which has played host to the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Israeli prime ministers, US presidents and vice-presidents, and more recently, the Dalai Lama.

Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, creator of the “Return Again” service, says, “After experiencing this past Yom Kippur service, I don’t believe it’s an overstatement to say it may well represent the next step in reviving the Conservative movement of Judaism and synagogue life as a whole.”