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


5 Can’t-Miss Movies at the 25th Washington Jewish Film Festival

You-Must-Be-Joking-Movie-Header-ImageRumor has it that the new Star Wars movie will not be released until December, but luckily, the Washington DC Jewish Community Center anticipated this cinematic lull. Thanks to the Washington Jewish Film Festival (WJFF), February 19 – March 1, 2015, date nights are no longer restricted to the perfunctory dinner out – WJFF will celebrate its 25th anniversary with you in mind.

The festival features 11 days of dynamic film programming, showcasing the best of international cinema through a distinctly Jewish lens. Throughout the festival, audiences will be treated to more than 100 screenings and related events across the Washington area, including cultural and educational events to complement viewings.

Hosted by the Washington DCJCC, this year’s milestone festival features: world, East Coast, and mid-Atlantic premieres; an exciting roster of filmmaker and cast appearances; and an exquisitely curated line-up of screenings, festivities, and more.

This year’s WJFF will feature over 100 events and draw more than 12,000 attendees, maintaining WJFF’s reputation as one of the largest and most respected Jewish film festivals in North America.

But, with so much to do and so little time, we are here to help ensure you don’t miss the festival’s highlights. Get out your calendars; here are the 5 movies you don’t want to miss this year:

1) You Must Be Joking, an American film also premiering at WJFF, follows an aimless 27-year-old paralegal trying to break into the New York comedy scene. “Broad City” standout Hannibal Buress completes this quirky feel-good comedy that asks the question: What makes you so happy you giggle? You can check this movie out on Thursday, February 26 at 6:30pm at the DCJCC, or on Saturday, February 28 at 6:30pm at the Goethe Institut.

Gather the Jews is going to see the February 26th showing of You Must Be Joking! We have 20 discounted tickets for $10, sign up here!

2) 24 Days, which will host its mid-Atlantic premiere at the festival, narrates the kidnapping of Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old Parisian Jew of Moroccan descent, based on a book co-written by the victim’s mother. The film captures the reality of anti-Semitic crime through the experience of Ilan’s family. In light of the recent tragedy in France, 24 Days underscores

3) Casting Out features a series of films that examine outcasts of every variety, whether by birth, circumstance, or choice. Breaking both societies’ expectations and yours, this film has earned its praise. This series of short films will be screening at the Goethe Institut near Gallery Place on Saturday, February 21 at 8:30pm.

One of the short films 7 – Day Gig:

4) Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem shares the story of an Israeli woman trapped in a loveless marriage appealing to the rabbinical court for a divorce in spite of her husband’s refusals.  This film brilliantly uncovers the peculiar nature of marriage in Israel, where neither civil marriage nor civil divorce exists. Nominated by Israel for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Aware, Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem will leave you baffled and intrigued. You can see Gett at the Avalon Theatre on Wednesday, February 25 at 8:45pm.

5) Next To Her, another Israeli film hitting this year’s festival, features the story of a woman raising her mentally disabled sister by herself until a romantic interest enters the picture and challenges the sisters’ once-symbiotic relationship. With mesmerizing performances from two female leads, Next To Her will also be hosting its Mid-Atlantic Premiere at this year’s festival, screening at the AFI Silver Theater on Monday, February 23 at 7:15pm, at the Abramsom Family Recital Hall at American University on Thursday, February 26 at 8:10pm and at the JCC of Greater Washington (Rockville) on Saturday, February 28 at 6:45pm.

These 5 movies are must-sees for this festival season, but they are certainly not all that WJFF has to offer. Whether you want to bring a date or come with friends – there is a movie for every occasion. There’s no need to wait for the next big blockbuster when WJFF brings the best in international film right to your backyard! Tickets are on sale now at


Does Online Dating Make Longer Lasting Relationships?

Someone posederika e-1368 (1) this question to me yesterday: Does online dating create more long-lasting relationships than the “real world” does?  I pondered this for a second and decided to do some research.  I found that there are many differing views.  Since it is just about impossible to hold all else equal (the actual people, where they live, age, religion, personality, marriage history, etc.), it is difficult to conclude, ceteris paribus (ah, my economics degree strikes again), whether the longevity of a relationship is based at all on how the two people met, online or otherwise.

One article detailing the results of a 2013 study by researchers at University of Chicago’s Department of Psychology and Harvard University’s Department of Epidemiology found that online dating leads to higher marriage satisfaction and thereby a lower divorce rate.  The researchers addressed the question of marital satisfaction in a nationally representative sample of 19,131 respondents who got married between 2005 and 2012.  Results indicate that more than one-third of marriages in America now begin online.  Not too shabby!  In addition, the study shows that marriages that started online, when compared with those that began through traditional offline venues, were slightly less likely to result in a marital breakup (separation or divorce) and were associated with slightly higher marital satisfaction among those respondents who remained married.  The lead author, John Cacioppo, says about the results, “It is possible that individuals who met their spouse online may be different in personality, motivation to form a long-term marital relationship, or some other factor,” so there may be more here than meets the eye.

One rather large caveat with this study is that it was funded by none other than online dating site eHarmony, so I can’t say whether or not any bias on that site’s part was introduced, but I’m guessing it wasn’t ignored, either.  I think the best outcome of this study was to show that 35% of marriages now begin online.  Boy, have we come a long way!

Aditi Paul, a PhD candidate at Michigan State, did a study this past year claiming quite the opposite, but ultimately differentiating people’s outcomes by their intentions.  Her abstract says that previous studies, including the one I mentioned above, have primarily looked at marital relationships. Her study extends this investigation by including non-marital relationships in the comparison.  It investigates if the breakup rate of relationships (both marital and non-marital) varies as a result of meeting online versus offline, and if other factors outside of the meeting venue predict relationship dissolution.  (Please take note that neither she nor I use the word “failure” since a marriage or relationship ending can, of course, be the best and only choice for the couple.)

Data is used from a nationally representative survey of 4,002 respondents.  (This to me does not sound statistically significant, but perhaps she had her reasons for keeping the sample size smaller.)  Her data found that the breakup rates for both marital and non-marital romantic relationships were higher for couples who met online than couples who met offline.  Obviously the actual quality and duration of the relationship turned out to also be significant factors that predicted if couples would stay together or break up.

Some conclusions in this Huffington Post piece on her study are:

  • It may be easy to meet people online—but it’s just as easy to break up.
  • Online dating also might make you less likely to end up married.
  • If you’re looking for love online, try to remember that more choices aren’t always a good thing.

Paul’s final comments are less scientific and more in line with the advice I would give as a dating coach.  She says not to get bogged down by all of the choices and become too distracted to commit to one person, especially if you’re looking for a committed relationship.  “What I’d encourage is once you find a partner, delete your profile and give it some time,” she said. “Nothing can replace the old-tested principles of time and intimacy and letting things develop.”  Preach!

In the end, online dating is simply another way to meet new people.  Whether the breakup/divorce rate is higher or lower is less relevant than the fact that there are now so many more relationships that form because of online dating, and that in itself is very significant.  What it ultimately comes down to are the two people involved, the quality of their relationship, and—perhaps most importantly—their communication skills, regardless of whether they met online or not.


Erika Ettin is the author of Love at First Site and the founder of A Little Nudge.  Like what you read?  Join the mailing list for monthly articles, news, and dating tips.

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