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The Jewish Version of “Girls” Exists

Taken from the "Dude, Where's My Chutzbah" Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/DudeWheresMyChutzpah).

Taken from the “Dude, Where’s My Chutzbah” Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/DudeWheresMyChutzpah).

Dude, where’s my chutzpah?” has been compared to the HBO series Girls by Jewcy.  The web series, created by Jessie Kahnweiler, follows the story of Jessie who must live a Jewish life for one year in order to receive her inheritance from her recently deceased Bubbe.  In the second episode, you learn that Jessie’s idea of living a Jewish life includes haggling at a sample sale, shopping at Bloomingdales, going on a date with a Jewish doctor, eating Chinese food, and dancing the Macarena.

Take note, this series is not for the easily offended Jew (at least not at he beginning).  Jessie plays off all the typical Jewish stereotypes and jokes on her path to Jewish discovery.

Beneath the crude humor and Jew jokes, there is a level of seriousness to the series.  On the series’ website, Jessie posts podcasts of interviews she’s done with members of the Jewish community, including rabbis, concerning their own Jewish journeys.  According to a Huffington Post article about the series, we can expect some interesting moments on the show.

Only three episodes have been posted so far, though according to Jessie’s blog the next episode – “Going Ortho”- will be up in the next 24 hours.

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GTJ Satirist Brian F. – Meteorologists: DC Interns Are the Cause of DC Humidity

intInflux of Unpaid, Obnoxious Interns Found to Attract Sweltering Summer Weather 

WASHINGTON, DC – (@TheComedyNews) – Meteorologists at the National Weather Service have released a study finding that the sweltering summer humidity in Washington, DC is due to the influx of unpaid summer interns.

“We have analyzed data dating back to 1799, when the first summer interns were commissioned to help with the labor of governing the United States,” according to Dr. Roger Patrick, the lead meteorologist on the study.  “Interns were originally the children of only Congressmen,  clergymen, and bankers, and their parents wanted them to come to town to learn about running the government before any of the other general public did.”

The study notes that before 1799, the District of Columbia had very mild summers with average temperatures rarely exceeding 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and virtually no humidity at all.

Over the years, as the size of the federal government expanded, more and more interns came to DC to spend their summers working at unpaid jobs—and have thus caused the humidity that engulfs the nation’s capital from May until September.

Today’s interns attract more atmospheric moisture than ever.  Interns are seen in droves crowding the Metro train, dancing obnoxiously at the worst bars in town,  boasting about Fraternity and Sorority obligations, and are overheard in the hallways having the most arrogant conversations amongst each other.  When these unfortunate things happen, there is a hormone released when such human smugness reaches astronomic levels.  That hormone, called arrogantimone, is then released into the atmosphere and lingers in the form of humidity for six to eight weeks.

Even as this article is being composed, two interns exchanged in typical humidity-causing banter:

“Hey Lisa, we need to go to McFaddens tonight, I hear it’s a really fancy place so no wearing any of your polarbear Midwestern cardigans.”

“Oh you wish you were Midwestern, Brynn.  You don’t have college football on your campus.”

“Tufts University has football, but no one cares about it.  Also, Tufts is in Boston, that’s the same place where Harvard is.  Besides, you’re not Midwestern, you’re from Miami.” 

“I go to Michigan, and Michigan’s in the Midwest, so therefore I’m Midwestern.  Michigan also has the largest football stadium in America.”

“Well, you work at a non-profit, that’s gotta be lame.  My intern coordinator at the House of Representatives says that I get to take a picture with the Congressman at the end of the summer.”

“How many more stops until Foggy Bottom/GWU subway station?”

As this conversation went on, the windows of the Metro train began to slightly fog up.  An entire DC Summer interns blog has been set up to document such incidents.

Some estimates say that the 110,000 or so interns that will come to DC in the summer of 2013 will make this year one of the most humid on record.

One of the more intriguing findings during the National Weather Service’s research of the correlation between unpaid interns and DC summer humidity was the emergence of America’s first intern.

George Washington had who is now known as the first intern in the history of the United States.  His name was Jebbediah McMonica and he was a “Generals Apprentice”, a civilian servant tasked with drawing copies of maps, making lists, and preparing morning coffee for President Washington.

According to primary sources, many of these Generals Apprentices often complained of a wet, murky undergarment defect they would get in their clothing after working long unpaid hours.  In the late 1700s, this was known as “Foggy Bottom”.  Today, this aliment is now known as “swamp ass”.

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Obstacles to the First Date – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 66)

We all know what an obstacle is.  According to good ol’ Merriam-Webster, an obstacle is, “something that impedes progress or achievement.”  Now, what if that “something” is you?

In dating, there are so many potential obstacles to that first date:

  1. Emailing someone online
  2. Talking on the phone (I actually never recommend this… article coming on the topic soon.)
  3. Text messaging before the date

Each of the obstacles listed above is a potential rejection point for your date to decide not to go out with you (and vice versa).  Now, I know I’m a former economist and all, but you don’t need to be a math whiz to know that by removing one of these potential rejection points, your chances of getting to the date are greater.

Let’s look at a few scenarios below:

Obstacles to the first date

 

At each point, the date is presumed to have messed up in some way, but there may be an explanation for all of it.  For Endless Emailer Eddie, perhaps he just doesn’t know how online dating works.  Give him the benefit of the doubt and (gasp!) even suggest meeting him.  For Chatty Cathy on the phone, perhaps she just gets nervous and talks too much, but as she gets to know you, she’ll calm down a bit and actually breathe between talking about her precious cockatoo and her trip to Iceland last year.  And for Texting Tommy, maybe he’s just excited to go out with a great catch like you.  It’s better than the alternative – not contacting you at all.  Simply saying, “I’m not really a huge texter,” should do the trick.

Do Eddie, Cathy, and Tommy hit a bit close to home?  Or maybe you’ve dismissed one of them in your dating days.  My advice?  Remove the obstacles to the first date.  You never know if you’ll have chemistry until you meet in person, so don’t get in your own way by setting up all of these rejection points.  A couple of emails back and forth should do the trick, and then get right to the date.  As a client just emailed me this morning, “What came across in emails was not there in person.  I guess that happens quite a bit and the more experience I get at this, the sooner I will try to get to a meeting so I don’t have to [spend] my time emailing.”  Obviously, this can go either way – better in person or worse – but you have to actually meet to find out.

Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people stand out from the online dating crowd and have a rewarding experience. An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available.  Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.

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GTJ Satirist Brian F. – ‘Creepy Guy on Subway’ Upgraded to ‘Guy I’m Interested In’ After He Backhandedly Reveals He’s Jewish

metNEW YORK, NY – (@The Comedy News) – Today on the morning rail commute, a tall, dark-haired guy sitting across from Anna Silverman began to stare at her for a good fifteen seconds.

Anna thought to herself, “he’s kinda cute, I give him a seven-point-five out of ten.  But… aww no, he’s still staring, now I give him a seven.  No, six.”  A moment later Anna’s inner monologue evaluated the guy again, “Four.  He’s a four.  Cute but a creeper.”  Anna sighed.

In an instant, the creepy guy stood up and walked towards Anna.

Oh no, please don’t talk to me, please don’t talk to me, please don’t talk to me,” Anna thought.

“Hi I’m Benji,” the creep began as he sat down next to Anna.

“Oh no!”  Anna screamed internally.

“I was just wondering,” continued Benji,  “Does this jacket smell like cabbage?”

“Eww, what?” Anna responded as she reached for her pepper spray.

“You see,” Bejji said.  “I bought this jacket last month when I was in Israel, and last Friday, I left it hanging at coat check at a Shul in Yonkers, and I’m convinced that the jacket smells like cabbage now.”

Anna put her pepper spray back in her purse.

“Were you on Birthright?”  Anna asked Benji as she began to re-evaluate him.  “Jewish, bold, self-conscious.  That’s kinda cute.  Six-point-five…”

Benji eagerly answered, “Yeah, most inspiring trip ever!  Have you been?”

“Yes! Twice last year!” Anna rejoiced.

“That’s hot, I’ve been meaning to go back to Israel all year, but I have been doing so much traveling to visit my brother who just became a Rabbi in Paris.”

“Oh my God, eight.  I’m interested!  Wait…NINE!” Anna made her final evaluation.

Benji and Anna exchanged contact information.  They will be expecting their first child at the end of February 2014.

Brian Fishbach is a comedian, writer, political satirist, former GTJ JGOTW, and musician specializing in social and political commentary.  You can read Brian’s weekly satire news articles at www.TheComedyNews.com, and enjoy his late-night jokes at www.BrianFishbach.com.  Join The Comedy News’ Facebook page for updates.

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B’nai B’rith International Opens Disaster Relief Fund to Aid Victims of Oklahoma Tornado

Severe Weather(Washington, D.C., May 21, 2013)—B’nai B’rith International has opened its Flood, Tornado and Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund in the wake of the devastating tornado that ripped through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore on May 20, killing at least 24, injuring many more and flattening much of the town.  The death toll is still expected to rise.

The funds raised will be used to help the victims of the tornado as they look to rebuild their town, which has been described by many as now resembling a war zone.

The tornado moved across a 20-mile stretch with winds of at least 200 mph. In the path of the deadly storm were a hospital and an elementary school, both of which were destroyed. Rescue workers labored throughout the night searching for survivors amongst the wreckage.

This is the third major tornado to devastate the area in the last 15 years.

“No amount of advanced warning could have prepared the people of Moore for the horrors this storm has brought.  We’re going to do our best to help these people get back on their feet,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said.  “B’nai B’rith has helped disaster victims since 1865.  Each disaster we help with has its own unique challenges.  As always, we will carefully evaluate needs and provide assistance to address immediate needs and longer term rebuilding efforts.”

The B’nai B’rith Flood, Tornado and Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund aided victims of Hurricane Sandy in the fall of 2012, as well as the victims of tornadoes in the South and Midwest. B’nai B’rith disaster relief funds have  also provided aid to victims of the famine in East Africa, the 2011 tsunami and earthquake in Japan and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti; and provided humanitarian assistance to the Somali refugees fleeing violent conflict to Kenya.

“The images of Moore are absolutely gut-wrenching.  But as bleak as things look right now, we need to press on and help our fellow citizens rebuild their lives,” B’nai B’rith Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said.  “We will work with representatives of agencies and our members on the ground to provide assistance where it is needed in the wake of this tornado.”

To help, donate online at our secure website by clicking here.<https://secure3.convio.net/bbi/site/Donation2?df_id=1415&1415.donation=form1&JServSessionIdr004=dopd8dr7be.app331b>

You can also call 800-573-9057 to make a credit card contribution over the phone. Or, you can send a check payable to the B’nai B’rith Disaster Relief Fund to:

B’nai B’rith International
Flood, Tornado and Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund
2020 K Street NW, 7th Floor
Washington, DC 20006

B’nai B’rith International, the Global Voice of the Jewish Community, is the oldest and most widely known Jewish humanitarian, human rights and advocacy organization. Since 1843—now in our 170th year—B’nai B’rith International has worked for Jewish unity, security, continuity and tolerance.  Visit www.bnaibrith.org.

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Arrested Development Season 4- THIS WEEKEND!

adIf you’re like me, you’ve been counting down the days until Arrested Development Season 4 finally hits Netflix.  AD has at times played with Jewish motifs (most notably, George Bluth Sr.’s conversion after seeing a shadow in the shape of a Star of David in solitary confinement).  In honor of AD’s new release 7 years in the making, here are a few of the Jews involved in the making of the show:

Mitchell Hurwitz – Writer and Producer (also a Georgetown alum!)
Jessica Walter – Lucille Bluth ( I don’t understand the question, I won’t respond to it.)
David Cross – Tobias Fünke (I blue myself!)
Jeffery Tambor – George Bluth Sr. (There’s always money in banana stand, knk knk.)
Bob Einstein – Larry Middleman, George Bluth Sr.’s surrogate
Jeff Garlin – Mort Meyers, the Tantamount Studios executive that believe Maeby to be older than she is
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Maggie Lizer, the “blind” and “pregnant” lawyer that Michael has a relationship with
James Lipton – Stefan Gentiles, the warden of the Orange County Prison (NO TOUCHING) where George Sr. is held
Henry Winkler – Barry Zuckerkorn, the Bluth’s incompetent lawyer
Seth Rogan – Young George Sr. in season 4!

Some of  these characters are a bit obscure if you’re not an AD fan, so here’s the AD wiki to help you study up in the time for the fourth season.  And here’s a supercut of the 18 Best Running Jokes (unless you’re…chicken).

Happy watching!

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The Dog Days of Dating – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 65)

puppyThis past weekend, I planned to adopt a dog.  This was a huge step for me since, as a young girl, I was bitten by my neighbor’s dog (and still have a scar to prove it).  So, after reading and taking notes on “Dogs for Dummies” and spending several months petting dogs to get comfortable, I was ready to bite the bullet and invite a pet into my life.  I searched the list and fell in love with little Bashful’s pictures.  She was just so darn cute!  I read her bio, and she seemed to have everything I was looking for – the right age, the right size, and a nice coat of brown fur.

On Sunday morning, I went to the adoption event, pages of notes in hand so I would know what to buy at the puppy store once little Bashful was mine.  When I got there, she was just as cute as her photos… maybe even more so.  And she was sweet, walking right up to me and sitting in my lap.  What more could I want?

So, I was told to buy a collar while they got the paperwork ready.  I opted to sit with her for another few minutes instead, saying things like, “I’m going to be your puppy mommy.”  (Yes – I’m a total sap.)  As the forms were coming my way, and I was really starting to bond with my new friend, a supervisor came over to me and said (while Bashful was still in my lap, mind you), “So, we decided that we’re not going to let you adopt this dog.  She can only go to a home with other dogs.  And by the way, she can’t live in the city, either.”  Had any of that that been in her bio?  No.  Had they told me that before I started to get excited and bond with her?  No.  Would I have even chosen her had I known this was the case?  Of course not.  So I left, feeling sad that I was not getting the new best friend I wanted and deceived that something so important (a deal breaker, if you will) had not been stated upfront.

As I walked away, I thought to myself that the situation sounded oddly similar to online dating.  I’m sure we’ve all been in a situation where a profile says exactly what we want it to say.  We meet our date and everything seems to be going fine until…

BAM! – Your date tells you he doesn’t want children.

BAM! – She’s really just separated and not divorced… and still living with her ex!

BAM! – She has five kids but she only listed two.

BAM! – He said he’s not very religious and has no dietary restrictions, but when I ordered a pepperoni pizza, he almost disowned me.

In online dating, it’s so important that your deal breakers are out there front and center.  If you don’t want children, that’s fine!  Just make sure you check that box off in your profile.  If you’re extremely religious (or not at all), that’s ok, too!  Don’t underplay that simply to get more dates.  The last thing you want is for someone to go out with you only to be disappointed because you didn’t disclose something really important in your profile.  So don’t be bashful.  Be true to yourself.  You may go on fewer dates, but your dates will want you for the real you rather than for the person who is trying to appeal to everyone simply by not sharing the truth.

And this goes for searching, too.  As hard as it may be, try not to fall in love with someone’s pictures and profile (merely words on a page) before meeting in person.  I know I’ll keep that in mind when it comes to any future pets, too.  I want a dog who loves me for me – living in an apartment in downtown DC, having no other pets (besides Sir Quackers, my childhood stuffed duck), and just wanting to show him/her love and affection.

Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people stand out from the online dating crowd and have a rewarding experience. An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available.  Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.

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GTJ Satirist Brian F. – Shavuot Gathering Marred by Outbreak of Lactose Intolerance

bloatBERKELEY, CA – (Facebook: The Comedy News) – A Shavuot celebration hosted by Julia Yalda,  turned sour as it was slowly revealed throughout the evening that every one of the ten guests were lactose intolerant.

Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah to the Jews, and it always falls 50 days after the end of Passover.  Part of the celebrations includes the mass consumption of dairy products, as well as decorating ones home or synagogue with spices and flowers.

“Before we sit down and talk Torah, I want everyone to take a bite out of this cherry amaretto cheese cake I made!”  Julia, a third-year undergraduate at the University of California-Berkeley, commanded to her guests.  The cheesecake’s initial reviews were positive, with some guests going back for seconds.

But discomfort began to proliferate throughout the party shortly after Julia mixed up chocolate-custard malted milkshakes in her MagicBullet blender.  Although tasty and sweet, the milkshakes were a recipe for disaster for Julia’s nine highly lactose-intolerant guests.

“The torah portion I read at my Bat Mitzv-.  Oh dammit.  Hey I’ll be right back, guys, gonna get some fresh air,” winced Lauren Sweiren as she trotted to Julia’s balcony.

Julia’s ex-boyfriend Claude, making his first return to Julia’s apartment since he dumped her following a night of mediocre noodle Kugel, abruptly stood up from the dinner table and headed for Julia’s bathroom.

Claude ruffled through the medicine cabinet in Julia’s bathroom.  Julia scampered right after in and slammed the door.

“I knew you wanted more of THIS,” Julia said, pulling her hair out of her hairnet and removing her Delta Gamma sequined apron.  Claude brushed her away.

“I left a box of Lactaid tablets in here,” he screamed.  “You didn’t throw them out did you?”

“Of course not!” Julia retorted.  “They’re burning in the oven right now as an offering to God on Shavuot!”

“Oh God, no!” Exclaimed Claude.

“Exactly!”  Julia smiled, eyebrows lowering.  “Now are we gonna play horizontal hamotzi, or are ya gonna come back and Shavu the oat with the rest of my guests?”

As Claude and Julia made their way back to the dining room table to join the other guests,  Yoni Rosenblatt ran past them clutching his abdomen.  The table was now empty, the rest of the guests were on Julia’s balcony, writhing in discomfort.

“Okay, I get it, you are all lactose intolerant,” Julia conceded.  “It’s okay if you don’t want to eat my dairy dinner.  Shavuot is also about spices and aromas, so here, I’ll light this flowery incense candle.  Does anyone have a lighter or a match?”

“No!!!!” Shouted each of the bloated, cramping guests and they pushed and shoved their way out of Julia’s apartment.

Brian Fishbach is a comedian, writer, political satirist, former GTJ JGOTW, and musician specializing in social and political commentary.  You can read Brian’s weekly satire news articles at www.TheComedyNews.com, and enjoy his late-night jokes at www.BrianFishbach.com.  Join The Comedy News’ Facebook page for updates.

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Buzzfeed Really Likes Jewish Articles

buzzBuzzfeed, my favorite place to waste time, has had quite a few Jewish-themed articles over the past few years.  I compiled here a few of my favorites with some commentary:

In honor of Mother’s Day having just passed:

Buzzfeed definitely gets the Jewish lifestye:

They cover the most important of Jewish news (while the following are jokes, they do actually cover some interesting Jewish news such as the recent Newseum controversy):

Got a favorite Jewish Buzzfeed article?  Send me the link in the comments!

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Judy Blume, Jew-dy Blume

BlumeRemember the good ole’ days of Middle School? Oy Gevalt! Don’t remind me!  Unibrows are out of control and you have been to 20 Bat Mitzvahs, and still no one has asked you to slow dance.  Through these tumultuous times, there was one woman who got it all—Judy Blume.

For young American girls, Judy Blume, is something of a hero.  She authored books like Tiger Eyes (1981) and Summer Sisters (1998) that cover a range of topics from puberty to relationships to sex.  For pre-teens, Blume’s books double as entertainment and a biblical guide for navigating the rocky waters of life, and though these “bibles” speak a universal language, Jewish themes seep through the sheepskin.  Her most popular novel, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (1970) tackles the issue of understanding religious identity and relationships to God—Issues that hit close to home for Blume, who was born in 1938 as Judith Sussman to Esther Rosenfeld and Rudolph Sussman in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Growing up, Blume attended Synagogue, but didn’t understand much of what was going on, as it was all Yiddish to her!  Most of her aunts and uncles passed away during her youth, so she attributes much of her philosophies on religion to the fact that her family seemed to be in a perpetual state of Shiva sitting.

Blume grew up culturally Jewish, but like the character of Margaret, God was more of a personal confidante, rather than an omniscient religious being.  Confidante or not, Blume could not escape the wrath of Jewish guilt, and when she fell for a goy named Fred in ninth grade, she was told it was okay, “since they weren’t getting married.”  Story of every Jewish girl’s life.

Coming from a Jewish community, but having gentile friends and boyfriends at school, made the world seem split between two faiths (Judaism and Christianity) for the young Blume. This limbo between religions was the inspiration for Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, where the protagonist sixth grader tries to reconcile her half Jewish and half Christian identity, all the while waiting for her own red sea to rise (her period ahem ahem).

Blume’s heritage and understanding of the trials and tribulations of being a young adult made her a best-seller amongst Jewish girls, so it’s no wonder that every girl at JCA Shalom sleepaway had their Judy Blume paperbacks nestled between their Lisa Frank folders!

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GTJ Satirist Brian F. – Signs You’re Turning into Your Jewish Father

dadYou consider ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’,  ‘The Producers’, and ‘Rent’ to be Jewish cultural history.

You kiss as much ass with your significant others’ parents as much as you do with your boss.

You spend 25 minutes looking around the house for your reading glasses not realizing that they’re on your face.

You recite jokes that are five paragraph essays.

Your cell phone interrupts the silence before Ha-motzi—and the ringtone is the theme to “Curb Your Enthusiasm”

Most of your stories begin with, “Did I ever tell you about the time…” and before your audience can answer, you tell them for the third or fourth time.

You have no idea what an embarrassing story is.

You wear a hideous adjustable baseball hat with your friends’ company logo on it.

You fall asleep at Major League Baseball games, but only for a few minutes.

At non-Jewish weddings, you complain that there’s too much liquor and not enough food, and that there is no one there to callously estimate how much the whole wedding cost.

You tip-toe out of bed to secretly go on YouTube and laugh hysterically at old clips of ‘The Three Stooges’Blazing Saddles’and snippets from the ‘Howard Stern Radio Show‘ from the early 1980s.

You cease to mix self-consciousness with your propensity to sing Rat Pack tunes.

You say, “I don’t need to buy any new clothes, mine still fit and are in style”, despite the fact that you bought them 15 years ago, they have holes, and a plume of dust emits every time someone pats your shoulder.

No matter how perfect the meal is, you always find a reason to complain to the waiter at the restaurant.

You have developed a super power called “the ability to completely tune out nagging”.

When you forget to bring a plastic bag when you’re walking the dog, you shamelessly just use your hands to clean up after the pooch.

You buy a paper copy of the New York Times every day to “keep the gray old lady in business”, even though you own an iPod, iPad, and MacBook.

You fall asleep at Barnes and Nobles while reading Chaim Potok and Mitch Albom books—except the Barnes and Nobles store has been a NikeTown for a year and you’re just passed-out in the middle of a shoe store.

When a salesman tells you the price of a car, the least likely thing you will say is “sounds great, I’ll take it right now!”

You have no inner monologue when it comes to discussing your health issues.

You have been told more than once this week to trim your nose hair.

When your children tell you about a new friend they made, you immediately ask them, “What does their Daddy do?”

You have children and love them as much as you complain about them when you’re taking a schvitz.

Add your own Jewish father signs in the comments!

Brian Fishbach is a comedian, writer, political satirist, former GTJ JGOTW, and musician specializing in social and political commentary.  You can read Brian’s weekly satire news articles at www.TheComedyNews.com, and enjoy his late-night jokes at www.BrianFishbach.com.  Join The Comedy News’ Facebook page for updates.

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What is Global Jewish Advocacy?

Jeremiah Baronberg serves on the Board of ACCESS DC, the young professionals initiative of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in the Greater Washington, DC area. He is co-chair of the 2013 ACCESS Summit at the AJC Global Forum, May 31-June 2.

As young Jewish professionals living and working in Washington, DC, we all know there is no shortage of organized Jewish opportunities to be crammed together with your friends in a Dupont Circle, Downtown, or Capitol Hill bar with a few hundred of your peers.

As fun and social as these gatherings can be, I often found myself asking, is there more to Jewish networking and meeting new people in DC?

A few years ago, I stumbled upon a series of organized Jewish opportunities for young professionals to step outside of our usual circles.  Happy hour with young Indian-American professionals.  Wine and cheese at the Goethe-Institut with visiting German journalists.  Dinner reception with young foreign embassy diplomats.

What piqued my interest about these gatherings was that they were focused not only on our Jewish and personal networks, but also about broadening horizons and meeting people from other local communities and countries.  The events also featured substantive elements that spoke to my strong interest in international relations, Israel, and multi-culturalism and support for democratic values, human rights, and pluralism in the US and abroad.

In fact, their whole purpose was to bring young Jews and non-Jews together in a spirit of friendship and partnership, to get to know one another, and to dialogue on issues of mutual concern and interest to our communities and our countries.

How cool was that?, I thought.

From experience, I recognized in today’s globalized world that it’s not enough for Jews to be isolated in our own communities and networks.  And for Israel to thrive and flourish, it needs friends and allies around the globe.  Here was an organization that was offering me both the tools and the opportunity to be an advocate for Jewish communities, and for Israel, by helping develop strategic partnerships with foreign diplomats and non-Jewish partners with the goal of safeguarding democracy, civil liberties, and Israel’s existence.

It brought the opportunity to learn about other countries, cultures, and communities.

In fact, it required it.

The fact that it was a Jewish organization, the American Jewish Committee (AJC), that pulled these pieces together with the understanding (the expectation!) that there would be some cultural differences and sensitivities, was all that I needed to find a Jewish connection.

It was intellectual, cross-cultural, and international – with Jewish values and Israel at the core.

Since those initial gatherings, I’ve become more involved, as a volunteer lay-leader, in AJC’s work and with its young professionals initiative, ACCESS.  I’ve attended small briefings at embassies and dinner receptions with ambassadors and young diplomats from around the world.  I’ve traveled with ACCESS to Austria and met with foreign ministers and dignitaries, UN and EU officials, parliamentary leaders, and local Jewish communities and to Miami this past February to meet with local Latino-American leaders and Latin American consuls general.

Through these opportunities, I’ve seen these experiences not as an extension of a high school or college youth group, but as part of something bigger, a global-oriented agenda advocating on behalf of Jewish communities, Israel, and democratic values through building bridges with foreign countries’ leaders and intergroup and interfaith partners in the most thoughtful of ways – through face-to-face engagement, dialogue, and friendship.

What’s more, is that here in Washington, DC, we are at the forefront of this work.

AJC’s annual Global Forum and ACCESS Summit are hosted here each spring, where people from across the country and from around the world gather each year to discuss and debate the big issues of the day facing our communities, our countries, and Israel.  Where else can you network and dialogue with Jews from Brazil, France, Australia, Czech Republic, and Israel?  Where else can you have private, small group dinners with a foreign minister or ambassador from Azerbaijan, Colombia, Morocco, Poland, Spain, and Singapore, among others.  Where else can you hear a Muslim theologian speak to a Jewish audience about how best to dialogue with the Islamic world?

These are elements at this year’s gatherings.

I hope you will join me at the 2013 AJC Global Forum and ACCESS Summit.

And I hope you will join us in our work here in Washington, and abroad, this year.

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DC Shavuot Events

tenOn Shavuot we celebrate receiving the Torah and it is traditional to study Torah through the night.  This year Shavuot begins on the evening of Tuesday, May 14th. We’ve compiled a few event options for Shavuot and will continue to update the list so check back.

Monday, May 13th:

Tuesday, May 14th:

Wednesday, May 15th:

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Jewish Girl of the Year – Lindsey’s Acceptance Speech

283524_10100346502887333_4193068_nShalom Chaverim, Hello Friends,

Thank you for letting me serve as your Jewish Girl of the Year! I promise to continue to gather with Jews every chance I get–for holidays, in support of Israel, over bagels and lox, at the Matzah Ball…the list could go on.

It has been really great meeting so many new people in the Jewish community and I look forward to gathering with you all again soon!

Shout out to Rachel H., Melissa, and Rachel R. for all that you continue to do in the DC Jewish community!

Peace in the Middle East,

Lindsey

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Aaron’s Thank You and GTJ Next Steps

aaron

Three years ago a group of friends came together to address an issue in the young adult Jewish world; there were many Jewish organizations that served the young adult Jews, but no organization that connected the young adult Jewish community with the other members of their community or the organizations.

One fateful night at Swann House, Joshua Kaller, Stephen Richer, and I decided that it was time to Gather the Jews.  With no money, no business experience, and no idea what we were doing, GTJ was born!

GTJ was built for the Jewish community and by the Jewish community.  At first there were 50 friends on an email list, which grew to a few hundred friends, and now there are over 4,000.  When we initially created the website, we had a dozen website hits a day (most of them because Stephen and I were constantly looking at the website), and now 2,000-3,000 people visit the GTJ website each week. The website started by posting a few organizations’ events, and now features the most comprehensive young adult calendar in the DC metro area, a housing board, a job board, interviews of Jewish leaders, information about Jewish organizations, and blogs by our local members.

When I look back on the last three years, I am overwhelmed by memories:

IMG_0823GTJ started as a grass roots organization because of you, and it will only continue with you involved.  So whether you are looking for or want to share a community Shabbat dinner, learning class, job, or Jewish event please continue to reach out to GTJ.  When GTJ looked to its long-term future of bridging the gap between young adults and the Jewish community, we saw GW Hillel as a great fit.  We are still the same organization, but now GTJ is a project of GW Hillel.  This acquisition is an outstanding opportunity for GTJ, GW Hillel, and the DC Jewish community!aaron1

I wish that I could thank each and every one of you personally for the support and involvement over the last three years.  Your mentorship, insight, and encouragement have enriched my life.  Manny, Simone, Jodi, Jon, Joshua, Maya, Mike, Noa, Rachel, Sara, Stephen, Steve, and everyone else in DC, Thank You!  Thank you to the families, who hosted me on Shabbat; the friends, who learned with me; the Sneidermans, who Gathered Mike, Rachel, and me at University of Delaware; and most importantly Mom, Dad, and my brother Jeremy, who continue to show me what it means to embrace Judaism and share it with others.

As GTJ continues onward, I look forward to a stronger, more involved Jewish community.

Gather on!

Aaron

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