Mitzvah Maker – Rabbi Berkman

Tell us about Mesorah, DC.
Mesorah DC is an organization committed to enhancing the Jewish experience of the young professional community in D.C. Over 10 years ago Rabbi Teiltelbaum saw an opportunity to connect with, and serve a community that was not really being serviced at the time. Since then, countless numbers of young professional Jews have participated our events. We take pride in trying to make all Jews from all affiliations and backgrounds feel comfortable and welcome at our programs.

Where can we find you on a Friday night?
On the first and third Friday night of each month Mesorah DC hosts Shabbat services and dinner at the beautiful 6 & I Historic Synagogue. Services start at 6:45 and dinner follows at 8. We often have guest speakers or special events at our dinners and it always guarantees a good time. This week, in fact, is our kick off Shabbat for the season. We are privileged to have world renowned relationship expert Mort Fertel as our guest speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to personally invite all GTJ readers to join. For more info or to RSVP check out our new website www.mesorahdc.org.
How many people come to Mesorah Shabbat dinners?I would say that in an average shabbat, we probably expect about 120 people. If we have a special event or speaker, we can host between 180 and 200 people. This coming shabbat, we are preparing for a big crowd.

What if we are Jewish, but have never been to a Shabbat, can we still come?
Absolutely! That is why we are here. If you are apprehensive or feel funny about just showing up to services, please feel free to contact myself or any of the Mesorah rabbis any time throughout the week. We would be happy to talk to you or meet with you sometime before Shabbat if that would make you feel more comfortable.   What is your personal role in Mesorah DC, and how do you view youre roll in the community in general?I am fortunate to work with a very talented staff along with Rabbis Lefkowitz and Motzen and under the direction of Rabbi Teitelbaum. We very much work as a team, and I feel very fortunate to be a part of that team.  On a personal level, I want to be whatever the community needs. Even outside of regular Mesorah events, I am available throughout the week. If you want to learn, but Cafe Nite doesn’t fit into your schedule, let me know and we can make a different time to study. If you want to start a special class or study group during the day for friends or colleagues, I would be happy to help that happen as well. I am really here for the young professional Jews in DC, committed to making your Jewish experience a positive and enriching one.

How do we contact you (facebook, email, website…)?
I have about ten different email addresses, but the easiest one to reach me at is rabbiberkman@gmail.com. I feel kind of funny giving it out online but it’s on our website anyway so my cell phone is 443-538-3606.

Also I am kind of new to the face book community, so i could use some good friends.

Any parting shots or  piece of wisdom can you share with young professional Jews in DC?
D.C. is a great community with awesome potential. Make the most of your time here and the resources available to you. It’s amazing to thing that I am talking to Gather the Jews, a website focused on the options for Young professional Jews in D.C, that receives over 2000 hits a week. Its been a pleasure to watch GTJ grow to what it is now in really a relatively short time. You guys used to come to Mesorah events as participants now you come as community leaders. It is a testament to your hard work but also to the community you serve. Young professionals in D.C. are hungry for Jewish enrichment. We at Mesorah DC are here to provide what you are looking for. Please join us soon!