Mission Statement

Gather the Jews facilitates Jewish life in Washington, DC by providing up-to-date and accurate information about all of the city’s Jewish social, religious, and learning opportunities.  At Gather the Jews, we bring Jews to organizations, organizations to Jews, and Jews to Jews.  We bridge the gap between young adults (22 to 39) and the DC Jewish community.

Gather the Jews does not promote one form of Judaism over another (see our policy of non-discrimination).

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to contact us at info@gatherthejews.com.

Our Staff


Rachel Gildiner
Director, Gather the Jews

Rachel works to engage young adults in Jewish life by building deep relationships and helping people facilitate Jewish community and Jewish experiences. Previously, as Director of Learning and Assistant Director of Student Engagement at Hillel International, Rachel led Hillel’s initiatives to engage an increasing number of previously uninvolved Jewish students in Jewish life on college campuses in North America. Rachel has a BA in Sociology from Columbia University, a BA in Modern Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary (List College), an MA in Higher Education Administration from GW, and a Certificate in Experiential Jewish Education from Yeshiva University. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, breathing in the fresh air of the Colorado mountains, and dancing. Rachel lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband, Adam, and their two children, Samuel and Vera.

aaronRabbi Aaron Potek
Educator, Gather the Jews

Rabbi Aaron Potek is the Community Rabbi at Gather the Jews. Aaron is from Saint Louis Park, MN and graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Industrial and Operations Engineering. After graduation, he spent two years living in Israel, where he studied Jewish texts, volunteered with the Israeli Red Cross, and worked with various peace-building groups dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He received ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, an Orthodox rabbinical school in Riverdale, NY. For the past two years he served as the campus rabbi at Northwestern University’s Hillel. In his free time he enjoys running and doing improv.


jackie asdfJackie Zais
Senior Associate, Gather the Jews

Jackie was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, surrounded by her large family and 20 first cousins. She is a graduate of Brandeis University, where she studied anthropology and psychology. After her dreams of moving to New York were crushed, she settled in DC where she lives with a roommate and dying plants. At Gather, she loves meeting new people and helping them make new connections to their Jewish DC. When not in the office, you can catch her reading in the zoo or cooking a feast for friends.



Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 12.16.37 PMShaina Dorow
Community Coordinator, Gather the Jews

Shaina is from Montclair, NJ and recently graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in Sociology. She spent the majority of her time in college doing volunteer work as co-President of the Waltham Group. Shaina moved to DC for her role with Gather, and she is excited to explore the city. In her role, she will be welcoming new people to DC. When not at work, you can find her discussing sociological theory, reading books, or looking at art.



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Organization History

Gather The Jews launched in late February 2010, just before Purim.  The original effort was the result of a long brainstorming and snowball-building session during D.C.’s “Snowpocalypse” between Joshua Kaller and Aaron Wolff, who then joined forces with Stephen Richer and the Jewish events listserve that he had started with his friends.

The organization at first featured a calendar of events, a weekly newsletter, and Jewish Girls and Guys of The Week.  Unlike Genesis, Gather’s first person of the week went to a female (Aliyah).  The first male (Eddy) followed shortly thereafter.

In September 2012, thanks to a grant from Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies, Gather was able to hire its first ever full-time staffer Rachel Giattino.

Thanks to the continued support of Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies and the Friedman-French Foundation, Gather found a home with GW Hillel on April 24, 2013.  GW Hillel will provide Gather with the stability and support it needs to continue to grow and thrive.

Following a transformative grant from a funding collaborative that includes The Morningstar Foundation, Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies, and the The Jewish Federation’s United Jewish Endowment Fund, Rachel Gildiner was hired as Gather’s new Director.

Why we’re called Gather the Jews

In the book of Esther, Chapter 4, Verse 16, Esther tells Mordechai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Shushan, and fast for me.”

This passage – issued in opposition to the genocidal plots of Haman – represents the fighting spirit and strength of the unified Jewish people.

It is this same spirit that Gather the Jews tries to capture.  Founded just days before Purim – the holiday during which the book of Esther is read – Gather the Jews seeks to unite the Jewish community for positive effect.

Read more about why we chose to reclaim the term “Gather the Jews” for positive association. And about what it means to “Gather the Jews.”