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Are You Obsessed with Online Dating? – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 96)

For many people, online dating is a means to an end. A person wants to, say, end up in a long-term relationship. So, he or she goes on a site like JDate or OkCupid or Coffee Meets Bagel, dates any number of people, truly connects with one, and decides to ultimately cancel his or her account. Success! (Of course, some people don’t want a long-term relationship, in which case, Tinder away!)

Then, there are other people who send messages day in and day out trying to see just how many dates they can line up. They know that if Monday’s date doesn’t work out, then Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s are right on the horizon. To be clear, I’m all for dating multiple

people to see who the best fit is, but once you find that person, cool it with the every-five-minute log-ins. As a college boyfriend of mine said at the ripe old age of 21, “There’s another bus around the corner.” As you might imagine, that’s not exactly what you want to hear from your significant other. Thanks, Geoff. ;)

If you are, in fact, looking for something serious or long-term, then you might want to assess whether you’re actually looking for the best mate for you (A-okay) or whether you’re kind of obsessed with the process of online dating, getting a case of “Grass is Greener Syndrome.”

A client of mine recently asked me this question:

“How do I manage two women and the launch of a promising relationship with one of them, while at the same time protecting myself if things don’t work out?

Things with Sherry (name changed) are really going well; we communicate all day and have several dates lined up. As she wrote, ‘I’m really looking forward to getting to know you to see if we have the basis for a long-term relationship. So far, so good.’ But there are no guarantees and I’ve been blindsided before.”

This happens all the time. Things are going well with one person, but you want to “protect” yourself in case it doesn’t pan out. How are people protecting themselves these days? They’re doing it with the shield of online dating. This shield provides the comfort that someone else (another bus, if you will) is out there for you should the budding romance not work out.

Many people use this online dating shield as a way of making themselves feel special again simply by logging back on to see the other eligible bachelors or bachelorettes. It makes them keep wondering if there is someone even better out there and often unable to recognize a great fit when that person may be sitting right next to them.

Online dating sites are not blind to this, either. While they, of course, want to promote their success stories, they also allow you to reactivate your account with one simple click. While that’s great if things don’t work out, it’s almost too easy to go back on “just to see,” or worse, out of spite.

Online dating is amazing for the options it provides—getting to meet people whose paths you wouldn’t normally cross—but I wouldn’t recommend using these options to the detriment of having a new relationship blossom, which is usually the goal to begin with! Wouldn’t you want to get off the site and not keep making plans to get back on?

My job is to help people put their best foot forward when online dating, either through working with me individually or through reading my book, but the job is supposed to have an end point—my client meeting someone with whom he or she is compatible. I don’t want you to online date forever! I want you to online date effectively so you can meet wonderful people, one of whom may just be exactly what you’re looking for.

erika e-1405-4

 

Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people navigate the world of online dating, and author of Love at First Site.  Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.

 

 

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Jewish Girl of the Week – Ariella

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Want to recommend an outstanding leader to be featured on GTJ? Nominate him/her at rgildiner@gatherthejews.com.

Rachel: What brought you to DC? How long have you been here?

Ariella: My family moved here from Minnesota in 1988. I grew up in the area and went to college and grad school in DC. Currently, I teach in Montgomery County Public Schools and run a calligraphy business. My notes home to parents are impossible to forge!!

Rachel: What do you love to do in the city?

Ariella: Anything having to do with food or sports. I also love to  explore  different neighborhoods, go to concerts, museums, etc… when  I can, I  get out of the city to travel!

Rachel: We heard you’re co-chairing Reverse Mifgash.Could you tell us more about that?

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Ariella: YES! This November 3-12, Reverse Mifgash will bring 12 Israeli Taglit-Birthright Alumni for an unforgettable experience in DC. NEXT DC of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, my co-chairs Max and Rachel, and an amazing committee of DC-area Birthright alumni have worked hard to plan 10 full days of jam-packed fun! There are tons of events that GTJ’ers will love, including a volunteer project, Election Night Viewing party, a comedy night with Benji Lovitt, a special Shabbat experience at Sixth and I, and A Night of Israeli Music at Tropicalia on 14th Street. For more information and to register, click here.

I served on the RM committee two years ago, and I can tell you — whether you went on birthright or not — it is a series of events you definitely don’t want to miss! This year will be better than ever!!

unnamed (1)Rachel: What is your favorite Jewish food?

Ariella: Matzo Balls :)

Rachel: Who is the coolest Jew?

Ariella: This guy Joe. He’s a financial adviser who led the campaign to raise  the $200 million to create the U.S. Holocaust Memorial  Museum. Also, he  just happens to be my father, but I  promise I’m not biased! He’s the best, and  an inspiration to my involvement and growing leadership in the Jewish  community.

Rachel: Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather…

Ariella: The “Nelson France Fan Club” must be having a chapter meeting!

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GTJ named by Slingshot as one of Most Innovative DC Jewish Non-Profits!

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Press Release: GTJ named by Slingshot as one of Most Innovative DC Jewish Non-Profits!

GATHER THE JEWS (GTJ) NAMED ONE OF WASHINGTON, DC’S MOST INNOVATIVE JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS 

Slingshot Guide Highlights the Best of the Thriving Jewish Nonprofit World

Washington, DC – Gather the Jews (GTJ) has been named one of 18 leading Jewish organizations in the Greater Washington, DC area in the first-ever DC Edition of Slingshot: A Resource Guide for Jewish Innovation. The DC Edition was released today, alongside the tenth annual Slingshot Guide (Slingshot 2014-15), a Midwest Edition, and a supplement highlighting Jewish organizations that impact the lives of women and girls. The Slingshot DC Edition will help the selected organizations carry out their missions, as well as expand the resources available to volunteers, activists and donors looking for new opportunities and projects. 

More than 100 professionals with expertise in grant-making and Jewish communal life reviewed a competitive pool of proposals in order for to select the Slingshot to select the recipients. The DC Guide praises Gather the Jews: “With no denominational or political agenda, GTJ has emerged as the agreed-upon atlas for the DC Jewish community.” Organizations included in this year’s Washington, DC Edition were evaluated on their innovative approach, the impact they have in their work, the leadership they have in their sector, and their effectiveness at achieving results. 

“Gather the Jews is honored to be among the 18 organizations included in this brand new edition,” said Rachel Gildiner, Gather the Jews’ new director. “The organizations highlighted in Slingshot’s Washington, DC Edition represent the many ways that Jewish life in DC is thriving. Gather the Jews, which began as a local grassroots effort and maintains its grassroots mission, is thrilled that Slingshot has chosen to highlight the amazing work of organizations in the Washington, DC area. We are proud to now be part of the community of innovative organizations that have benefited from the Slingshot Guide over the last ten years.” 

The DC Edition was supported through a generous partnership with the Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies.  Simone Friedman Rones, Executive Director of the Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies, said, “One of our goals was to highlight the exciting Jewish projects happening here in the Washington, DC region. Without a doubt, DC is one of the centers of gravity for Jewish innovation. The Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies is providing a grant for every program in the guide this year, and our hope is that our friends in the community will join us in supporting those programs that speak to them.” 

To increase the impact of the Guide, the Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies is sponsoring several launch events in Washington, DC. These events, happening October 19th to October 22nd, engage DC area Jewish professionals, college students, and young adults in workshops about innovation and philanthropy. Event participants will have the opportunity to allocate grants of approximately $500-$1,000 to organizations featured in the Washington, DC edition of Slingshot.

Julie Finkelstein, Associate Director of Slingshot, said, “While innovative organizations based in DC have been listed in the national Slingshot guide before, we are excited to publish a resource that better demonstrates the depth and breadth of DC’s Jewish innovation. Our upcoming events are a way to engage the many stakeholders in DC Jewish life that may not yet know about the amazing things happening in the community.”   

Being listed in the Guide is often a critical step for organizations to attain funding and expand their work. Selected organizations are eligible for grants from various DC-based networks of young donors. These donors, who represent the next generation of philanthropists, are focused on identifying and advancing causes that resonate with their peers. The Guide is a frequently used resource for donors seeking to support organizations transforming the world in novel and interesting ways.

About the Slingshot Guide

The Slingshot Guide, now in its tenth year, was created by a team of young funders as a guidebook to help funders of all ages diversify their giving portfolios to include the most innovative and effective organizations, programs and projects in North America. The Guide contains information about each organization’s origin, mission, strategy, impact and budget, as well as details about its unique character. The Slingshot Guide has proven to be a catalyst for next generation funding and offers a telling snapshot of shifting trends in North America’s Jewish community – and how nonprofits are meeting new needs and reaching new audiences. The book, published annually, is available in hard copy and as a free download at www.slingshotfund.org.

About Gather the Jews

Gather the Jews (GTJ) facilitates Jewish life in Washington, DC for singles and couples (in their 20s and 30s) by serving as a portal for up-to-date and accurate information about the city’s robust offerings of Jewish social, religious, and learning opportunities. GTJ connects Jews to organizations, organizations to Jews, and Jews to one another. GTJ has been the preeminent resource for young adults seeking a connection to DC Jewish life through information provided on its website, a 4,500+ person listserv, and monthly happy hours. GTJ emphasizes its role as a resource and partner to communal organizations and individuals.  

This year, GTJ will usher in a bold new phase for DC Jewish young adults by creating a relationship-based model to enable individuals to further explore their Jewish connections and create community within the robust offerings of DC. Using relationship-based engagement, GTJ will expand its platform through which individuals can connect to each other, connect with Jewish institutions, and create their own Jewish lives based on personal interests and desires. GTJ will provide high-quality training and professional development for young Jewish adults, with the intention of enhancing the social fabric of Jewish life in DC and helping DC become an exceptionally dynamic and inclusive city for Jewish life.   

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A Fall Guide To Produce At Local Farmers’ Markets – From DCist.com

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASukkot is a time for harvest and hosting! Check out this great guide to local farmers’ markets and the best seasonal produce.

Photo by Jordan Anthony-Brown.

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Stylish Suggestions For Your Sukkah

SukkahLooking for some interesting ways to spice up your sukkah this year?  Check out these creative ideas on Pinterest.

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Online Dating Emails – Your Questions Answered

When you’re in my line of work, you get all kinds of dating questions, ranging from how to contact someone before the date to when it’s appropriate to call yourselves exclusive… and everything in between (and I do mean everything).  Many of these questions revolve around the emailing process on the various online dating sites.  Let’s take a peek at some of them:

Question: Some of the emails are obvious that I will not be answering, but I’m wondering what I should do about winks and the emails that are not so obvious what to do with. For example, several guys wrote something to the effect of this: “You seem interesting. Write me.” How do you recommend that I handle those? ~ Cheryl, 37, Arlington, VA

Answer: For the ones who either wink or write short messages, it’s up to you whether to write/respond after reading their profiles. If they sound appealing, it can’t hurt to respond. On the one hand, maybe they are just lazy by doing that, and on the other, maybe they’re clueless as to how this thing works, too. The good ones will send (or respond with) an email showing that they at least read some part of your profile. Or, you could always prompt them with something like, “Thanks so much for writing! I’m curious to know what piqued your interest in my profile.” Then, they’ll either answer that question or they won’t.

Question: A problem I’m currently having with guys is the “date follow-through.” Guys will ask me out on a date online, usually saying something like “Let’s get drinks next week.” I say something like, “That sounds great. I’m free on Tuesday and Thursday after work around 6:30.” Then sometimes, they don’t get back to me. Or (in the case of the one guy I had a great date with) he said, “Let’s hang out this week.” I gave him my schedule in the same way as above. Then he tells me that he’s busy this week. I say, “Maybe the weekend.” Two days later and no response.

I think that I might be too forward with guys. I’m a very forward and direct person in general and have to make sure that I limit this trait because guys want to be in control. When guys casually ask me out on a date online, is there a better way to make it happen without scaring them off by being too forward? ~ Chelsea, 23, Washington, D.C.

Answer: You actually remind me of myself in terms of being a planner, and there is nothing wrong with that—it’s just your personality. Doesn’t it annoy you when a guy doesn’t follow through or drops the ball? Well, if it annoys you now after one date or even before the date, it’ll annoy you throughout life. So, rather than changing your tactic (giving two choices, like Tuesday or Thursday, as you said, is what I would recommend as well because it tells him when you’re free but ultimately lets him pick the final date), it’s more about finding a mature guy who actually takes the lead and doesn’t just casually ask you out with no intention of putting something on the calendar.

If you do want to soften it a little, you could say, “That sounds great. Tuesday or Thursday might work for me if that works for you.” It’s a little less forward and more “cool” with the word “might” in there and removing the time (after 6:30). But, to be honest, the way you responded was more than appropriate.

Question: It’s been my experience that women sometimes read into things that men simply don’t. For example, if a guy sends an intro email at 2:30 AM, it may be perceived in a negative context… something along the lines of “what is this idiot doing up at 2:30AM on a Tuesday?” Is there a good, or should I say politically correct, time to be sending these things? ~ Matt, 37, Washington, D.C.

Answer: It’s true—people (although, it’s both men and women) read into things that we shouldn’t sometimes. I’d try to email back at night (maybe before midnight) to make things look a little more “normal.” But if that stops a woman from responding, that’s just silly.

Any other burning questions?  Feel free to leave them in the comments!

Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people navigate the world of online dating, and author of Love at First Site. Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.

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Help Jewish International End Domestic Violence

1 in 4 women are affected by Domestic Violence. You have until midnight of Thursday, October 3rd, to donate to JWI’s Purple Purple Challenge and make a difference. Help women receive the tools they need to rebuild their lives.

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Come gather at the GTJ October happy hour!

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The GTJ October Happy Hour @ Buffalo Billiards

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Rosh Hashanah Greetings from the White House

This message was previously published on the White House Website:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/09/23/wishing-you-sweet-happy-and-healthy-new-year. 

Read the transcript:

Hello. As Jews across America, Israel, and the world gather together for the High Holidays, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to you and your families for a sweet and happy new year.

My good friend Elie Wiesel once said that “God gave human beings a secret, and that secret was not how to begin, but how to begin again.” These Days of Awe are a chance to celebrate that gift, to give thanks for the secret — the miracle — of renewal.

In synagogues and homes over the coming days, Jews will reflect on a year that carried its share of challenges. We have been reminded, many times, that our world still needs repair. So here at home, we continue the hard work of rebuilding our economy and restoring our American dream of opportunity for all. Around the world, we continue to stand for the dignity of every human being, and against the scourge of anti-Semitism. And we reaffirm the friendships and bonds that keep us strong, including our unshakeable alliance with the state of Israel.

So let’s approach this New Year with new confidence, and new hope. Let’s recommit ourselves to living out the values we share, as individuals and as a country. Above all, let’s embrace this God-given miracle of renewal, this extraordinary opportunity to begin again in pursuit of justice, prosperity, and peace. From my family to yours, Shanah Tovah.

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Gathering Voices: Free Coffee for a Sweet New Year

rosh hashanahDear Friends,

From Gather the Jews (GTJ), I wish you a happy, healthy and sweet new year ahead.  May it be filled with good friends, personal growth, and new DC adventures!

And I hope GTJ can be a part of it.

To start the Jewish new year with some extra sweetness, let me treat you to a new years coffee on me in your neighborhood!  Just e-mail me at RGildiner@GathertheJews.com or sign up HERE.  Feel free to sign up with friends as a group, too.

As part of GTJ’s listening tour (Gathering Voices), I am excited to meet you, hear your story, and learn from your DC experiences.  I hope you’ll add your voice to these conversations!

Warmly,
Rachel Gildiner at Gather the Jews

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Rosh Hashanah from NEXT

NEXT RHThe Jewish New Year is this week! Find a local event where you and your friends can celebrate on NEXT’s interactive map: http://bit.ly/5775Events. Want to create your own celebration? Birthright Israel alumni can host a holiday meal for friends, with resources and some funds from NEXT: http://bit.ly/DIYNewYear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Online Dating: Past and Present-GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 95)

online-datingOnline dating has been around for quite a while now.  In fact, JDate first opened its proverbial doors back in 1997, when I was in high school!  As you may know, I was actually a very early adopter of online dating, using JDate back in 2000 or 2001, before people really had any idea what it was all about.  My parents, naturally, flipped out, thinking I was going to meet some psycho-killer, or worse, someone who wasn’t worthy of their daughter!  The worst that happened, of course, was a few bad dates with some socially awkward men… er… boys who were clueless as to what dating actually involved.  But why not try it out?  I was technologically savvy.  I mean, I did have a cell phone in college before anyone else did, even if it was this ridiculously large blue thing that I didn’t want anyone to know I had.  (It was very uncool to have a cell phone back then.)

I thought we’d take a stroll down memory lane and compare online dating in the early 2000s to online dating today.

Then

Person 1: Um… I’m going on a date with this guy Sean.

Person 2: That’s great!  Where did you meet him?

Person 1: Well, we haven’t actually “met” yet.  I found him on JDate.

Person 2: What?!?!  You’re not that desperate, are you?  Geez—protect yourself!  Tell me all the details.  Let me know where you’ll be.  I just hope you’ll be safe.  You never know what psychos are hiding on those sites.  Wow—I didn’t know anyone I knew would actually try online dating!

Now

Person 1: Um… I’m going on a date with this guy Sean.

Person 2: That’s great!  Where did you meet him?

Person 1: On OkCupid.

Person 2: Cool!  My sister met her husband on Match.com.  Have fun!

——

Then

OMG—I think that guy across the room at the dessert table looked at my profile on (whisper) JDate.  I can’t even look at him.  How embarrassing!

Now  

I think that guy and I matched on Hinge the other day.  I think I’ll go say hi!  Maybe it’ll speed up the process of him asking me out. ;)

——

Then

Which four pictures should I use for my JDate profile?  I guess I’ll have to upload the pictures from my new digital camera to my computer to post them on the site.  Or, I guess I can scan some of the other ones I have.  I hope it works.

Now

Which 12 pictures should I use for my JDate profile and six for my Tinder?  Let me check out some pics on Facebook and my phone to see which ones I want to use.  Actually, I think there’s a really good one on Instagram that someone tagged me in!

Side note: I still only recommend posting three to five photos

——

Then

Person: How did you two meet?

Couple: Um… well… haha… it’s a long story.  (Look at each other embarrassingly.)

Now

Person: How did you two meet?

Couple (in unison): On JDate!  I hear that if you have a JBaby and you let them know, they actually send you a onesie!

The stigma is gone, and online dating is here to stay.  Daily Mail UK predicts that in 20 years, half of all couples will meet online, and this number may rise to 70% by 2040.  If you’re not already playing the online dating game, now’s the time to give it a whirl.  Why not?

——

erika e-1405-4Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people navigate the world of online dating, and author of Love at First SiteWant to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.

 

 

 

 

 

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AJWS DC Action Team Launch Party

ajws_logo_large15 years ago, I took a chance by using my summer break to travel with American Jewish World Service (AJWS) to the developing world. I only knew about AJWS because the then-new President, Ruth Messinger, was a prominent New York City politician that I greatly respected and I was curious about this organization with which she was involved, but had no idea that it would inspire such passion in global social justice in me.

I ended up spending 7 weeks working side-by-side with community-based organizations on projects that helped build infrastructure and economic sustainability. For 5 weeks in Zimbabwe, I helped the local rural community we lived with construct a dam and reservoir to preserve their water supply during the frequent droughts. While performing this physically laborious work, we also managed to conduct a cultural exchange program, sharing sports, song and dance, and to document the stories of the community members in an area where AIDS was diminishing the population rapidly. Then, for 2 weeks in Israel, we had day projects with various different communities, ranging from Ethiopian children to Druze teenagers and even Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

When I returned, I was determined to stay involved with the organization, as I credited the experience with sparking my own interest in social justice. Over time, I have followed the development of a partnership with AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, engaged the DC community through involvement in its DC City Team, spoke out for food justice as part of its Reverse Hunger campaign at Global Hunger Shabbats, and joined the organization for a White House Community Leaders Briefing Day with the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable. Additionally, I have listed to Ruth Messinger herself and recipients of AJWS grants when they have spoken at local synagogues and community centers about the work of the organization.

While AJWS no longer offers volunteer service programs like the one in which I participated, there are now amazing opportunities to get involved in social justice changemaking with AJWS in DC through its strong advocacy and campaigns and organizing departments. The We Believe campaign has action opportunities to promote passage the International Violence Against Women Act and the International Human Rights Defense Act, and to urge the appointment a special envoy on Global LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) rights. This campaign calls on the U.S. government to stop violence against women and girls, to stop hate crimes against LGBT people, and to empower girls to end child marriage, in order to help improve the lives of people in the developing world. And you too can be part of this changemaking by joining me and other members of the DC Action Team at our launch party on October 1st!

Timed to fall between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, this party is an open invitation to our local community to attend a party to celebrate both the Jewish New Year of 5775 and our new team. Ruth Messinger will discuss our work and ways for you to take action here in D.C. to advance justice around the world. Nikki Mawanda, an AJWS grantee from Uganda who advocates for transgender rights, will talk about the grassroots activism AJWS supports that is creating lasting change for the most marginalized people. And members of our team will address opportunities for direct involvement in international human rights advocacy!

So, if you are at all interested in enjoying some food and drinks and meeting others in the area who share this passion for international human rights and believe in taking action on its behalf, please join us at the 5th & K Busboys and Poets between 6pm and 8pm on Wednesday, October 1st!

If you would like to RSVP or have any questions, please contact Mike Salamon at either 202-379-4265 or msalamon@ajws.org.

 

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