Jewish Guy of the Week: Nathaniel

Jackie: What brought you to DC?

Nathaniel in ChileNathaniel: A job with the federal government. I had been working in New York for the state part-time during law school and then gratefully had this opportunity to take a federal job right after graduating! A lot of my extended family was already here, making the transition nice and smooth!

Jackie: What do you do at the Department of Labor?

Nate: I am an attorney there and enjoy the work that I do on behalf of the American people (which I’d rather not elaborate on here), but am also glad for a flexible schedule and leave so that I can also maintain an active volunteer life while off duty.

Jackie: I heard that you are very involved with the social justice organizations around town can you tell me more about that?

Nathaniel at Greater Washington Urban LeagueNathaniel: I am very happy to do so! I am currently on the AJC ACCESS DC Board, where I am focusing on the interfaith, intergroup, and international relations work of the organization. I am also the co-chair of the American Jewish World Service DC Action Team, which is focused on trying to get the International Violence Against Women Act passed and in general focused on improving the condition of women, girls, and the LGBT community internationally. I have also been involved with Jews United for Justice (JUFJ) in several of their campaigns over the years, including the current focus on paid family leave. And I coordinate a tutoring program at the Central American Resource Center for aspiring U.S. citizens, inspired by my work with HIAS (formerly known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society). Additionally, I remain involved with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Entwine DC Planning Group and the Anti-Defamation League’s DC Young Professionals Division.

Nathaniel at Shabbat in GermanyJackie: What’s your favorite way to spend Shabbat?

Nathaniel: I am grateful to have a lot of family and friends in the area and do enjoy mixing it up every so often, but, by far, the Shabbat options at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue are my favorites. It’s truly a place where, the more you go, the more part of the community there you can feel.

Jackie: What is your favorite Jewish food and/or holiday?

Nathaniel: Passover is by far my favorite holiday, Jewish or otherwise. The structure of the Seder to teach us empathy, viewing ourselves as if we personally had been enslaved and then freed from bondage in Egypt, is a powerful tool in our heritage to remember in every generation. And I am glad to note that will be used this year in two social justice programs with which I am assisting leading up to Passover: The 14th annual Jews United for Justice Labor Seder at Adas Israel on March 22nd and the 1st annual AJC ACCESS DC Black-Jewish Seder at 6th & I on March 30.


Jackie: Who is your favorite Jew?

Nathaniel: That’s an easy one: Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. He approached his Judaic studies as a guidepost for social justice work and was extremely active in the American Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s. He is an inspiration to me and many others with his letter to Dr. Martin Luther King that, when he marched in Selma, he felt that his legs were praying.

Jackie: Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather…

Nathaniel: tremendous social change can happen!

If there is someone you would like to nominate for Jewish Girl/Guy of the Week email Jackie!



What does it mean to “Gather the Jews”?

wooden-groggerGrowing up, my family did not pay much attention to Purim. While my brothers and I were in Hebrew school, we listened to the reading of the Megillah, booed at the name of Haman, and attended the Purim Carnival each year. Following my Bat Mitzvah, Purim receded to the back of my memory, regarded as a second-class Jewish holiday in my mind. It was not until I began working as the Director of Gather the Jews in August 2012 that I began to consider Purim again.

People have very strong feelings about the name ‘Gather the Jews’ and they are not afraid to express their opinion. Whether I was being told, “The Jews were gathered once before and it didn’t end so well for us,” or being asked at events, “Did you GATHER the Jews?” the name struck a chord in our community. However, being founded around Purim, the name actually comes directly from Megillat Esther.

gather_the_jews_rectangleIn the Megillah, Haman refers to the Jews as a “scattered and dispersed” people (3:8). It was true of the Jews of  the time- the bonds that had held us together as a people had long been frayed. Ironically, it was Haman’s quest to destroy the Jewish people that ultimately reunited them. Upon agreeing to approach the king, Esther tells Mordechai to “Go, gather together all the Jews who are present in Shushan…” (4:16). Together the Jews fasted, Esther saved the day, and the Jewish people were saved. Or as we might say around my Seudat Purim table, ‘They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat.”

However, just as in the Purim story, the name ‘Gather the Jews’ suggests a disparate people. There is no denying that DC has some dynamic, inspirational Jewish programming, but many times someone new will come to an event, make some small talk, then leave without being engaged or having a meaningful interaction. We are missing a wealth of unaffiliated Jews who are on the outside of this community. The goal of Gather the Jews has always been to make it easier to connect to the DC Jewish community, and new initiatives like the Open Doors Fellowship are aiming to give Jewish young professionals greater resources do so.

As you celebrate Purim this year, I challenge you to consider, how are we creating an inclusive yet intimate community? How are we making newcomers feel welcomed and engaged in our community? How can we do better?

Rachel Giattino



Chag Purim Sameach.

Rachel Giattino is the Senior Associate for Programming and Engagement at GW Hillel and the former Director of Gather the Jews.





Should We Take Relationship Advice from #TheDress?

erika e-1368 (1)Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or in an equally sad and lonely place with no internet), then you know what I’m talking about when I mention “the dress.” I first saw it when I was in bed, reading the news on my phone like I always do first thing in the morning and at the end of the day. (I know—not good for my sleeping habits.) At any rate, I thought it was a joke at first. That dress is obviously white. While I didn’t see the stripes as gold, per se, but more of a camel brown, there was no way in my mind that the dress was blue. Then I started reading the comments, the analysis, the arguments, the scientific rationale… I fell down the rabbit hole of #thedress.

What does all of this have to do with dating and relationships, you ask? As it turns out, a lot. In any relationship, you and your partner are bound to have some differences. Oftentimes, both of you think you’re right, and that the other is disagreeing with the obvious truth. Can both of you really be right? And, if you’re in the party who is a little less right, then how do you react when you find out that your partner is a little more right? Communication is the key.

Let’s say I’m looking at the dress with my partner, and I insist on the dress being white and gold and he instead insists on it being blue and black. After I’d properly had a good laugh because I thought he was yanking my chain, how would—or should—I react? And how should he?

In too many relationships, one person is made to feel small, wrong, and invalidated. Maybe it’s over something small like this dress or how you load the dishwasher, or maybe it’s something big like how you choose to spend your money or how you want to raise your children. No matter the size of the issue, it’s important to hear out the other person’s thoughts before jumping to any conclusions.

The conversation above could go an infinite number of ways, but let’s look at two:

Scenario 1

Me: It’s obviously white and gold.

Partner: Are you out of your f**king mind? It’s blue and black! There are no two ways around it. You’re wrong.

Scenario 2

Me: It’s obviously white and gold.

Partner: That’s odd. I see it as blue and black. Think there could be two ways to see this? I’m trying to see it from your angle, too, but I don’t for some reason.

I don’t know about you, but I’d venture to say that most of us would rather be with the partner in the second scenario. This partner listens, takes into account the other’s feelings, and doesn’t jump to conclusions before knowing all of the details. No one feels belittled here.

In the end, it’s just a dress, but it can also teach us many things about how our loved ones deal with disagreements, conflict, and the possibility of two rights and no wrongs. If you do find yourself in a relationship where you feel that the other person is not listening to your argument, it’s something to make note of and work on for when the more important issues—the shoes?—come down the pike.


Have you tried Cove?


DC Purim Events 2015/5775

purim dudeDid you know that here at Gather the Jews we got our name from the Purim story? Having been founded days before the holiday (and this Purim will mark our fifth birthday!), our founders chose to name their organization based on the Purim story.

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. Gather the Jews tries to bring together the members of the DC Jewish 20s and 30s because we believe in the strength of unification and the positive power of connection.

In that vein, Purim begins Wednesday, March 4th at sun down. Do you know where you’ll be celebrating? There are many opportunities in the coming weeks to celebrate with the DC Jewish Community.

Did we miss anything? Submit events here and/or leave a comment on this post.

Wednesday, February 25th

Saturday, February 28th

Monday, March 2nd

Wednesday, March 4th

Thursday, March 5th

Friday, March 6th

Saturday, March 7th


Need some more help for Purim? Here are a couple of costume ideas!























If you find your self really in a bind check out these Last Minute Costume Ideas!


What about all the great food during Purim?

There of course is Hamantaschen, which we all know and love so lets start there:

You could go for savory with a recipe from the Kosherologist.



Or the Cookie Overload Hamantaschen from With Love and Cupcakes:



Or spice it up with Mexican Chocolate Hamantaschen from the Jewish Food Experience:


But Purim is not just know for Hamentaschen, there are other great recipes you should try out this time of year!

If you are feeling a bit adventurous maybe try the Cooking Channel’s Kreplach recipe!


The Jewish Daily Forward has a alternative recipe for Poppy Seed Rolls:


And just because we have not talked about desert enough, here is a recipe for Haman’s Fingers from the LA Times:


Did we miss any of your favorite recipes? Let us know in the comments!


DC Purim Bash (2.0)

DCPurimBashPoster_2015 graphicThis year’s DC Purim Bash on Saturday, March 7th (affectionately known as Purim Bash 2.0) is going to be outstanding. Last year, the DC Purim Bash was a total experiment. We had no idea how much the young professionals community wanted a huge community Purim celebration, and the 530 of you who joined us probably saw that, while the party was awesome, we had no idea so many people would show.

This year, we’re ready. Last year, we had one bar. This year, we’ll have four. Last year, we were in a yoga studio in Adams Morgan. This year, we’re in the heart of Chinatown in the Shakespeare Theatre’s Sidney Harman Hall- one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. Plus, we added a photo booth, great drinks, and a bunch of other things that will make this year’s DC Purim Bash even better, so join us. You’ll have a great time.

The DC Purim Bash is able to happen because the organizations who really like Jewish young professionals also really like each other. Before the DC Purim Bash, we all used to have our own Purim celebrations, often on the same night as each other. Last year, we asked ourselves “Why?” There is one big DC community of Jewish 20’s and 30’s, so what about celebrating together instead? The DC Purim Bash launched an unprecedented level of collaboration between our organizations, and after a lot of planning, DC saw the biggest Purim celebration in our city’s history. And we’re just getting started.

So who’s the “we” behind this shindig? Adas Israel’s YP@AI, DCJCC’s EntryPointDC, Gather the Jews, NOVA Tribe Series, Sixth & I, Washington Hebrew Congregation’s 2239, and Young Leadership of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington (joined, of course, with other community partners) are coming together to make this year’s DC Purim Bash happen. Our organizations are all a little different- some of us have buildings, some have rabbis, one of us is in Virginia, we are Reform, Conservative, or nondenominational, but we are all passionate about DC’s Jewish 20’s and 30’s community, and that’s why the DC Purim Bash works.

We can’t wait to get everyone together again this year, and see you March 7th. Register today!



The DC Purim Bash Team



Mix and Mingle at the Gather the Jews Happy Hour!


The National Collegiate Jewish A Cappella Championship Competition!


Missing Opportunities in the DC Jewish Community

KevinGather’s former Jewish Guy of the Year, Kevin Lieberman discusses the missing opportunities for lay leadership in DC’s young adult community – with a great shout out to Gather the Jews and the Open Doors Fellowship. He sites a lack of opportunities for individuals to bring their ideas to the table and get more active in what their community looks like. 

Community building is the primary mission of Gather the Jews. How do we use our communal resources to create the Jewish experiences we are seeking as individuals? Sometimes we don’t have the answers, mostly because that answer needs to come from you. Gather searches to empower individuals and small groups to find what they are looking for amongst the diverse offerings in Jewish DC. Kevin explores the idea of how to empower individuals to help fill the gaps they see in their community and identifies a disconnect that may occur in a top down programming model. 

What do you think our community needs to help young professionals more actively shape our Jewish experiences? And what do you see as your role in that work? 

You can read his full article on eJewish Philanthropy here.


How Texting Ruins Dates

textingHow many times have you said the following to your friends, or have they said something like this to you?

We were talking online, and then he asked for my number to make it easier to schedule the date. Well, it’s been a week, and all he does is text with no date in sight!


I don’t know… I guess I pictured him differently in my head from all his texts.

Or, how about this one?

OMG—I love this girl! We’ve been texting every day, and I’m really falling for her.

It happens all the time… someone puts his or her phone number down on a dating site or app and says, “Text me” or “Reach out to me.” Does it really make communicating easier? Isn’t it just as easy to check your email or your Tinder/JSwipe/Hinge as it is a text? (Okay, maybe it’s not quite as easy, but still…) And really, is there a need to text before the date, except to confirm the day before? (Very important: do this) My recommendation is simply to exchange numbers a day or two prior to the date so you can 1) confirm and 2) contact each other the day of in case something goes awry (you need to cancel, you’re running late, etc.). As a side note—and I know I’ve said this before—if you’re cancelling the day of the date, especially if it’s within a few hours of when you’re supposed to meet each other, please do have the decency to call.

Besides the never-ending text relationship that might form with no date in sight, by texting (or emailing) too much before the date, you run the risk of building a false impression of this person that may not equate to what he or she is like in real life. We often have a tendency to share things behind the screen that we may not reveal to someone in the flesh until much later. The New York Post even has a name for this—premature escalation.

The article says this: “It’s a trend we’ve coined ‘premature escalation’… since our whole world is so instant now, people can craft entire personas through their slew of texts… by the time you meet your partner for an actual date, you’ve built up this whole image and fantasy in your head of who you think they are, and then they turn out to be totally different.” Sound familiar?

What’s the solution then? If you’re intent on texting before a date, then try to keep these texts to a minimum, with the purpose of determining the logistics of the date. Whitney Casey, a love expert for agrees: “If your date starts sending you ‘How was your day?’ texts, it’s on you to cut him or her off — nicely.” Saying something as simple as this should do the trick: “Hey—I’m not really a huge texter, but I’m really looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday!”

Now, I’m not saying all texting is bad. In fact, I love texting! It’s great when you’re in a relationship to check in with someone during the day or to send a sweet inside joke. But just as I would never advise anyone to “friend” a potential date on Facebook before the first date, I would strongly advise you to just set up the date and go from there. The sooner you meet, the sooner you’ll know if there’s chemistry. And then text away!



Personal Connections Reconcile the Past

IMG_1776“Willkommen in Berlin”, said the captain, as the plane began its final descent into Berlin’s Tegel Airport.  Welcome, indeed!  I was ready for the journey of a lifetime.  This past November I participated on a ten-day trip to Berlin through ACCESS Global, the young professional division of the American Jewish Committee, in conjunction with the German non-profit organization, Germany Close Up.   Germany Close Up introduces American Jews to modern Germany and provides the opportunity for participants to meet young Germans, interact with government officials, and learn about Berlin’s Jewish community, past and present.

Prior to November, I had only spent about a day and a half in Berlin while on a European holiday.  Needless to say, I did not know what to expect, or how I would react to being in Germany again.  I returned from Berlin over a month ago and because the experience was so intense and inspiring, I am still distilling my emotions.   One thing I know for certain: this encounter with modern Germany was a transformative experience that I will never forget.  The trip exhibited Germany’s unique ability to address its dark history.  Openness to speak about the past has enabled Germany to build meaningful relationships with Jewish groups, as well as with the State of Israel.

One of the most significant moments of the trip was the day we visited Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, which is about a forty-five minute drive from Berlin.  A large percentage of prisoners at Sachsenhausen were political dissidents, but Jews and other so-called “enemies” of the Third Reich were also sent there.  As our tour bus drove up to the camp, our guide mentioned that the rows of houses lining the streets were quite old, and existed during the time the camp was operational. That really made an impression on me: how villagers must have known what was going on just a short distance from their doorsteps, yet they remained silent.  The camp’s existence however, serves as proof that the rising tide of anti-Semitism in Europe today is not innocuous.  The longer those tensions continue, the harder it will become for countries to combat groups and individuals who are threatening the stability of European democracies.  Another poignant aspect of the visit was touring the Jewish barracks, which were nearly destroyed by arsonists in the 1990’s, as well as seeing the remnants of the execution area and ovens from the crematorium.  I felt numb and was beyond relieved when we left and drove back to Berlin.

That night we had dinner with young Germans who volunteer with Germany Close Up.  One volunteer, Laura, and I sat together on the bus to the camp and we had a pleasant, lighthearted conversation. At dinner, Laura pulled me aside and thanked me for making her feel so comfortable that morning, as she was nervous accompanying the group to the camp.  This touched me because I was dreading the trip as well!  Speaking with her made me feel at ease and helped me collect my anxiety about the day.  Laura’s comment made me realize that one conversation can change one’s entire perspective.  Prejudice can be combatted person to person.  Words and human connections are more powerful than stereotypes.  My discussion with Laura exemplified what ACCESS Global seeks to do, build relationships between Jewish young professionals and those of other cultures and faiths.

Germany has also set a commendable example for how other European countries can address past wrongs through education and dedication to prohibiting extremism. Since this experience was about fostering an open dialogue, conversations were not whitewashed.  In this vein, I asked our Germany Close Up guides whether they felt a burden from history for the sins committed by their great-grandfathers.  Rather than a burden, most stated that they feel a sense of responsibility to educate humanity about the past.   This is a partnership between Jews and Germans and I was greatly moved by the commitment of the young Germans I met to fully face the past and work to author a new chapter on German-Jewish relations.  Both groups share this responsibility to remember the lessons of history and more importantly, to write new chapters on tolerance and embracing forgiveness.   As we watch an alarming trend of anti-Semitism rise throughout Europe, it is imperative to continue dialogue and relationship building with emerging leaders in Germany and throughout Europe. At this defining moment for the global Jewish community, this work is a powerful way that we as young Jewish leaders can play our part in shaping the future.



Introducing our New Open Doors Fellows!

The Open Doors Fellowship is a new and innovative initiative of Gather the Jews, designed to help deepen social connections and further engage Jewish 20s & 30s in DC Jewish life.  Our inaugural cohort of Fellows is excited to get to know you and help you connect to the Jewish community you are looking for!

Email to set up a coffee date with one of our Fellows.

Applications for the next cohort will open this summer. Look for more info in our weekly newsletter. 

Sasha AltSashaschuler 

Sasha works at Jewish Women International, the leading Jewish organization empowering women and girls through economic literacy; community training; healthy relationship education; and the proliferation of womens leadership.  She currently coordinates JWI’s Book by Book Capital Campaign, trying to build 100 libraries in battered women’s shelters around the country. Sasha was recently a Development Intern at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, an influential network of 400 businesses and NGOs who support international development and smart power. Previously, she was a Government Relations Intern at the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans in service through its core programs such as AmeriCorps.

A native of San Diego, California, Sasha moved to DC less than a year ago after graduating from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. During her time at the University of Michigan, she founded a performing group called The Smile Bringer Singers, a club that performs upbeat and happy musical numbers at nursing homes, homeless shelters, family centers, and various on-campus events. Sasha has been involved in several Jewish events thus far in DC including Gather the Jews Happy Hours, IMPACT DC, Young Womens Leadership Network events with JWI, holiday services at 6th & I and GW Hillel, celebrated Shabbat dinners with Jewish peers, attended Mitzvah Mavens events, and more. Sasha cant wait to help young Jewish professionals as they move to DC  



Daniel Bronstein

A native to the DC metro area, Daniel hopes to use his knowledge of the local market to make a positive impact on DC’s young Jewish professionals. An experienced marketing and events professional, Daniel has been successful in the sports, media, political, education, corporate, and nonprofit industries. His strengths lie in promoting marketing campaigns and managing marketing plans from start to finish. Daniel has a strong entrepreneurial spirit and is hoping to create innovative solutions with the end result of a community that is more connected and engaged.

Outside of his professional experience, Daniel graduated from James Madison University with degrees in Sports Management, Business, and Music Industry. He is an avid soccer, basketball, and tennis player and enjoys travelling, skiing, and music. Daniel has volunteered in the community as a youth basketball and soccer coach as well. He believes strongly that bringing people together through events and other platforms sparks ideas and creates a world that works better.



Samuel Getz-Sheftel

Samuel Getz-Sheftel is a Senior Software Engineer at a DC based nonprofit which specializes in the development of college admission software. Prior to his career as a Software Engineer, Sam completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Chemistry at American University. As part of his graduate research, Sam developed a suite of software tools notable for their application to graph theoretical techniques to the study of receptor protein structure and dynamics.

Prior to moving to DC for college, Sam spent the first 18 years of his life in Chicago – which accounts for his preference for deep-dish pizza, and his occasional tendency to call soda “pop.” Growing up, Sam spent his summers at Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute (OSRUI), the URJ (Union of Reform Judaism) summer camp in Oconomowoc Wisconsin. In high school, Sam was active in NFTY (National Federation of Temple Youth), and participated in their L’Dor V’Dor program, a 5-week long Israel trip. In his junior year of high school, Sam spent a semester studying in Israel as part of the Eisendrath International Exchange. In college, Sam continued his involvement in Jewish activities by serving as treasurer for the campus chapter of Kesher and by working as a camp counselor at OSRUI for two summers. Since graduating, Sam has become an active member of the DC chapter of JNFuture and has taken part in a number of Entrypoint DC programs including their Shabbat cluster program.

When not writing code or participating in local Jewish activities, Sam can often be found at his favorite Dupont Circle bar enjoying happy hour with friends or exploring the many art galleries and museums and other activities that DC has to offer. As part of his Open Doors Fellowship project, Sam plans to help expand the GTJs software platform in order to make it more user friendly.



Tiffany Harris 

Tiffany is from Seattle and has lived in France, Switzerland, Israel, Morocco, and now Washington DC. She attended Seattle University for her undergraduate studies. After completing 27 months as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco, she attended Tel Aviv University for her graduate studies, where she earned an MA in International Security and Diplomacy. Tiffany worked as a program coordinator for the Fulbright Scholar Program, and is currently working as the Placement Specialist for Peace Corps’ Senegal Program. She is the Co-Chair of Shalom Corps, a resident of Moishe House DC (Adam’s Morgan), and  the Director of YaLa Young Leaders USA, a MENA region-based Peace Advocacy group which has over 653,296 likes on Facebook (


IMG_0386Lisa Kaneff

Lisa was born and raised in the DC metro area and is so happy to call DC home again. You can most often find Lisa at one of the amazing independent coffee shops around town, the 9:30 Club for a show, or Sixth & I for a class or Shabbat. But because she’s a local, Lisa knows a lot of great places to cozy up, chill out, get energized, or just experience something new. From 9 to 5… well, she doesn’t really have a 9 to 5 per se. Lisa started her own marketing consultancy and now helps non-profits and other socially responsible organizations raise money and achieve their business goals. And her flexible schedule means she can meet for coffee any time!





Kelley Kidd

Kelley Kidd currently works at Temple Micah as their Communications & Engagement Fellow. She strives to create programming for Temple Micah’s 20s-30s community that lets people feel welcome, inspired, and engaged. Prior to joining Temple Micah’s team, she spent a year as a corps member of AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps. During her time in AVODAH, she worked as a Case Manager at Miriam’s Kitchen, a local social service organization dedicated to ending chronic homelessness. She also became deeply invested in social justice, Judaism, and DC as a place to call home and to create change. 

Originally from Knoxville, Tennessee, Kelley attended Georgetown University, where she studied International Relations and participated in theatre as a designer. Outside of the workplace, Kelley loves to dabble in theatre, writing, and design. She also tries to constantly explore the free-in-DC scene, searching in particular for opportunities to learn, find great music, explore the arts, and eat good food.


Rachel K

Rachel Kliger

Rachel is a Miami native and University of Miami alumna whose love for everything media and politics brought her to the nation’s capital. She is currently a graduate student at George Washington University studying media and public affairs, focusing on online journalism and digital media. Rachel also works for the GW School of Media and Public Affairs communications department. She likes to call herself a health nut and running enthusiast at heart, but she’ll never turn down a good rugula. 






David Miller 

David is originally from southeast Pennsylvania and moved to DC in late 2011. When he is not working, David likes to read, kayak, and hike. He is goal oriented and has set multiple goals for the coming year. For example, David plans to complete a half marathon in less than 2 hours and finish a certification in data science. He also looks to be more active in the Jewish community which is why David is thrilled to be a part of the fellowship. The idea of creating a positive welcoming environment for Jews new to the city is exactly what the community needs.  





Georgia Mu

Georgia is a lifelong learner and native Oregonian. After receiving a graduate degree in International Relations from UC San Diego, Georgia moved to DC to embark on a career in public service. Since coming to the DMV, Georgia has become more involved in DC Jewish life through volunteerism. When not attending services at Sixth & I or volunteering at the DCJCCC, you will find her biking around the city to her next gastronomic adventure.





Rachel Towne

Rachel Towne

A recent DC-transplant from New York City, Rachel Towne is excited to become an Open Doors fellow and welcome more Jews to the DC community.  Upon moving here, Rachel found the Jewish community of DC to be warm and welcoming, and she wants to make sure that others have a similar experience, whether they too are recent transplants to the DC area or just new to experiencing Jewish life here.

Rachel currently works in sales for a software company, primarily consulting with hotels to help them better market themselves.  She enjoys consulting and helping solve her customers’problems. As an Open Doors fellow, she hopes to use this interest to help others find the kind of Jewish experience they want in the DC community. 

When not working, Rachel enjoys running and indoor cycling, as well as trying new restaurants, bars, and coffee shops in DC. She just returned from a DC-based Birthright trip and had an amazing time. She currently resides in Arlington, VA.




 Ari Weiss

Ari Weiss is thrilled to participate in the inaugural class of Gather the Jews’Open Doors Fellowship. Ari is the East Coast Consultant at the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC), where he provides consultation services to support and advance the pro-Israel movement on American college campuses. 

Ari earned his B.A. in International Studies from John Hopkins University where he was a leader in the campus pro-Israel and Jewish communities. Ari served as President of the Hopkins American Partnership for Israel (HAPI), President of the Jewish Students Association (JSA), and Jewish Identity Chairman for his chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. Ari has a passion for Middle East policy and pro-Israel activism and has interned for Foundations for Defense of Democracies (FDD), the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace and, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).  


Want to get to know one of our fellows? Email to set up a coffee date!



Jewish Girl Of the Week – Rachel

10931402_10203602684762973_8146198511068096987_nJackie: What brought you to DC?

Rachel: Gather the Jews brought me to DC! I was hired to be the first ever GTJ employee in August 2012. Running GTJ was one of the coolest things I have ever done- I helped connect young professionals to a vibrant Jewish community, and also had the opportunity to learn firsthand about getting a start up nonprofit off the ground.

Jackie: What do you miss most about Gather the Jews?

Rachel: After I moved on to my current role, I stopped attending as many DC Jewish events. I’d like to get back into going to events and reconnecting with the larger community. Then again, working for Hillel, sometimes I feel like my life is one giant Jewish event.

Jackie: What is your favorite part of working for GW Hillel?

Rachel: There are so many things I love about working at GW Hillel, but my favorite is the relationships I build with students.

Jackie: What’s your favorite way to spend Shabbat?

Rachel: My favorite way to spend Shabbat is hosting friends in my apartment. I don’t do it often enough, but I love bringing people together over food.

Jackie: What is your favorite Jewish food?

Rachel: I love a solid latka. The perfect latka is crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. I ate latkas six out of the eight nights of Hanukkah this past year- it probably would have been all of the nights, but eventually the oil caught up to my stomach.

1011195_10201364089839499_230281580_nJackie: Who is the coolest Jew?

Rachel: Golda Meir is one of my heroes. When I was in Israel last month, I bought a T-shirt with her face on it.

Jackie: Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather…

Rachel: My work is done.


If there is someone you would like to nominate for Jewish Girl/Guy of the Week email Jackie!


Support GW Hillel Students running the Jerusalem Marathon!


HaLev 2nd Annual Welcome Event – Feb. 28th ****Over 380 tickets sold!***Get yours today! Opening Remarks by Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watc

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