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Jewish Guy of the Week: Gabe!

Gabe 2Jackie: What brought you to DC?

Gabe: After college, I took a job and spent a year up in Minnesota. Eventually I was just about done with the extreme snow and cold (the week where it didn’t get above -10 did it for me) and I was ready to move on.  I had a few friends that lived in the area and they couldn’t stop talking about how great it is so I decided to move here. The first time I was in the area in the past 15 years is when I showed up with my car packed with all my possessions.  Almost two years later now, I haven’t looked back!

Jackie: I hear you travel a lot, can you tell about some of your recent adventures?

Gabe: My most recent (and probably my favorite so far) was a trip to Peru this past September. The highlight of the trip was four days spent camping and hiking the Inca trail.  It wasn’t the easiest way to get to Machu Picchu but I know that we appreciated the view from the top way more then anyone who took the train did.

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

Gabe: Anywhere that there is friends and food. It never ceases to amaze me how Jewish people from all over the country (and world) all know the same tunes to the songs and prayers.

Gabe 3Jackie: What is your favorite Jewish food and/or holiday?

Gabe: While I’m not in love with the eating restrictions for the rest of the week, nothing beats a good Passover Seder

Jackie: Who is your favorite Jew?

Jackie: I’m kind of on a 60’s kick right now, so I’ll go with Bob Dylan

Jackie: Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather…

Gabe: there’s no place I’d rather be.

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Jewish Girl of the Week/Newest GTJ Team Member – Jackie

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

IMG_5490 (1)Rachel: What are you most excited for with GTJ?

Jackie: I am beyond excited to join the GTJ team! One of the things I look forward to most is getting more involved in the DC Jewish community. While I have been living here for over a year now, I can’t wait to meet more awesome Jews in DC. Mostly though, I just want to find more people to discuss Serial with at Shabbat dinner- is that so wrong?

Rachel: How did you first get involved with the Jewish community in DC?

Jackie: My very first weekend after moving to DC, I went with some friends to a young professionals Shabbat service at Sixth and I. After graduating from Brandeis University, I realized how I had taken my Jewish community there for granted and was anxious to find a similar place for myself here in DC. After attending the service and other young professional events in DC, I realized how vibrant the DC Jewish community is and I knew I wanted to get involved.

Rachel: What’s your favorite part about being Jewish?383695_2527634710289_1431782458_n

Jackie: I would normally say the community and the people, but to avoid being repetitive… I love furthering my Jewish knowledge and learning. I think Judaism is a fascinating intersection of culture, religion, politics and history. There is so much to learn and I have enjoyed every opportunity I have had to deepen my Jewish knowledge.

Rachel: Do you have a favorite Jew?

Jackie: I’ve got a lot of favorites but someone I’m really loving right now is Leandra Medine aka the Man Repeller. Leandra is a New York fashion blogger with an eccentric style and the chutzpah to accessorize her most daring outfits. I loved her book Seeking Love and Finding Overalls. I felt immediately connected to her strong Jewish identity and funky feminist spirit.

305568_467512219965970_501600054_nRachel: What’s your favorite Jewish holiday and/or food?

Jackie: I go crazy for Borekas, potato or cheese filled pastries found in bus stations all over Israel. I attended the Turkish Festival in DC this year and I insisted that my friend and I sample every flavor of boreka we could find, which I think ended up being 6 different types! It was one of my favorite memories in DC.

My favorite Jewish holiday is Rosh Hashanah. I love the celebratory feeling of having a new start for a new year. Sitting down with friends to a delicious home-cooked dinner (I really do love food!) and having a wonderful fall feast is very special to me. This Rosh Hashanah was the first I celebrated in DC and I was fully invested in reflecting on my past year and setting goals for my future.

Rachel: When you aren’t gathering, what do you like to do?

Jackie: One of my favorite things to do is going to see concerts- I can’t get enough live music. DC has a dynamic music scene and I’m always sending out mass texts to friends to see who wants to get tickets to the next show with me (let me know if you want to get in on the next mass text!)

Rachel: Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather…

Jackie: I’ll bring the borekas.

 

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Fish ‘n Chips ‘n Trivia Trials

homer2I don’t always go to trivia.
But when I do, I seem to do miserably.

Maybe I just need to step my game up by going to Trivia at Sixth & I every month… or pull a Perfect Score and steal the questions before I get there, don’t tell Robin. (Gather the Jews does not encourage Trivia cheating)

But other than my personal less-than-stellar performance, it was a wonderful time Wednesday night at Sixth & I with Gather the Jews, B’nai B’rith International and MASA Israel. Everyone had a healthy serving of fish n’ chips and mushy peas with wine and beer to get the trivia juices flowing. The night ran smoothly, though, the peace was threatened in the accent-off when it was discovered by the judges that one of the participants was not “putting on an accent” but was actually a dual citizen just speaking normally. Crisis was averted and he was disqualified from that particular round; all was fair again. The rest of the night proceeded without incident.

Every time I have been to trivia there has been a round that incorporates music clips into the competition. Your team has to identify the artist from only 30 seconds of a song. Highlight of my night (after knowing all the answers to the Harry Potter questions) was identifying the Arctic Monkeys’ song moments after it started (you are right Arctic Monkeys, I do look good on the dance floor, how did you know?). But there were also some gaps – I could have gotten credit for knowing all the words to Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man” but dear Dusty’s name escaped me.

geri-union-jack-re_2126979aSo to brush up on my British music I requested from the wonderful ladies over at Sixth&I that they send me their playlist from the night – all British bands. You won’t catch me unable to identify God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols again! I thought I would also share on Gather’s blog as well to spread the joy that can only come when listening to a play list with the Spice Girls on it. Cheerio!
Wonderwall – Oasis
This Charming Man – The Smiths
I Fought the Law – The Clash
The Party Line – Belle & Sebatian
God Save the Queen – Sex Pistols
Tears Dry On Their Own – Amy Winehouse
Life On Mars? – David Bowie
The Lady Is a Vamp – Spice Girls
Viva La Vida – Coldplay
Son of A Preacher Man – Dusty Springfield
You Really Got Me – The Kinks
I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor – Arctic Monkeys

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This One’s for the Men: 5 Creative Ways to Get Girls to Message You Back

Hey baby!
Hey beautiful.
What’s up, sexy?
You must be tired because you’ve been running around my mind all day!

If you’ve ever sent someone an email or text like the ones above from one of the online dating sites or apps, then you know the outcome: crickets. No respectable woman (if that’s what you’re going for) wants to receive a note that not only shows that you didn’t read her profile but also turns her into a piece of meat. Below are real, unedited emails that female clients of mine have received on various online dating sites that were certainly not the right way to get someone to respond favorably:

Your profile caught my eye and I am a little embarrassed to tell you why. You look just like.. You look like the mom next door, but I can’t help but think you’re super naughty. It is really hot. You are innocent and sweet looking, but it is like you are thinking something less than pure in your head. I don’t know why I got that feel, but I did. It just makes me think you are very sexy milf! haha Okk, sorry! That was too forward! hah

Wow ok.. So u probably get alot of bull crap messages so I’m just going to be real. I would like to know u and take u out lol. U wanna know more about me, write me :-) hope to hear from soon

Shut up and let me take u out

Too bad for me that I am married!!!!

Hello there, you’re very pretty! I wish you were my girlfriend!

These are bad, and I hope I don’t have to explain why. Now that we’ve gotten what not to do out of the way, let’s look at 5 creative ways to get girls to message you back:

5. Speak like a human.

Ok, this one admittedly isn’t very creative, but it is necessary. Please check for grammar and punctuation. And if you want to say “you,” then write it out rather than using “u” instead. It’ll go further than you think, even on JSwipe and Tinder.

4. Make sure she knows you read her profile.

This is another boring one, I know, but it’s important that you don’t just comment on her “gorgeous smile.” Rather, comment on how she totally killed your time in the marathon or how impressive it is that she drinks peaty Scotch.

3. Use a quirky or creative subject line (if there’s a place for one).

Would you rather answer an email with “Enjoyed your profile” or “Alien invasion – take cover” as the subject line? Unless you’re actually concerned about aliens (or don’t like people with a sense of humor), then I’m guessing you’d choose the latter. So will she.

2. Always ask a fun question, usually at the end.

Not fun: “How are you enjoying the weather these days?” Seriously? The weather?

Fun: “So your friends say you’re loyal, funny, and adventurous… awesome. But what I want to know is this: How would your enemies describe you? ;-)”

Another fun one: “That’s awesome that peanut butter was listed as the first thing on your ‘can’t live without’ list. Are we talking crunchy or creamy? Very important.”

And #1…

1. Tease her in a way that makes her want to tease you back.

“You’re a Red Sox Fan. I’m a Yankees fan. Are we doomed? Good thing you also mentioned that you like an IPA, so I think we stand a chance.”

“No sushi for you? I may have to work with you on that one since it’s my favorite. We won’t start out with eel or anything raw. Deal?”

Obviously, no one can ever guarantee that your email or text will receive a response, but if you follow these tips rather than your usual “Sup, yo?” greeting, then you’re at least off to a good start.

Feel free to list in the comments some emails or intros on the apps that worked… or didn’t.

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GTJ and Moishe House Happy Hour Fundraiser

Join Gather the Jews and all the DC-area Moishe Houses for a Happy Hour Fundraiser benefiting the National Campus Leadership Council and efforts to combat sexual assault on college campuses.

When: Thursday, January 22, 6:00 – 9:00 pm

Where: Southern Hospitality, 1815 Adams Mill Road, NW

Housemates and special guests will be bartending Thursday night on the corner of 18th and Columbia. $3 Bud Lights and HALF PRICE ALL Bottles of Wine!

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Go on Birthright with the DC community trip!

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Trivia Night: British Invasion Edition

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NeXus Spring Registration is OPEN

NeXus: Where You and Jewish Community Converge
February – April 2015

Looking for a way to get more involved and meet new people in the local Jewish community?  Take the next step on your Jewish journey with NeXus, a six-session series. Find ways to make a true impact on the world through involvement with The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and engage with leaders in our community.   This unique, interactive learning opportunity will expand your Jewish leadership skills, explore your Jewish identity and teach you about the work of The Jewish Federation. Don’t wait – join NeXus today!

Registration for NeXus Spring 2015 session is OPEN NOW! Visit www.shalomdc.org/nexus to learn more and register.

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Online Dating was SO Last Sunday

“If you needed proof that New Year’s resolutions are real, you probably could have found it on OkCupid/Tinder/JSwipe/Hinge Sunday night,” says Ellie Krupnick in her recent article on mic.com.

According to data from Match.com and Mashable, the first Sunday in January (as in, this past Sunday) was, and will be, the year’s busiest night for online dating. The first week of January alone is predicted to see two million users logging onto Match.com, the site said, with traffic reaching its highest numbers January 4th.

Why might this be? If people have been home for the holidays with family around asking (prying?) about their single status, then the Sunday following New Year might be the first chance that they actually have for themselves. So why not online date?

If you missed the window the other night and think all the good potential mates are taken, don’t worry. All hope is not lost! The period between New Year’s and Valentine’s Day is the most active season, so you still have plenty of time to sign in and schedule those dates.

The fallacy, though, is that many people think that by simply signing up or logging in to an online dating site or app, they are well on their way to coupling bliss, if that’s what they are looking for, of course. Everyone says, “Relationships take work,” but finding love (or even just a quality date for next Tuesday night) also takes work, which some people don’t realize. I wish we were all so lucky to have Prince Charming (or Princess Charming) fall into our arms, but I don’t know anyone who has that kind of luck. Just like in our jobs, we have to make our own happiness. (I know first-hand since I quit my job in finance back in 2011 to follow this passion of starting my own business.) We have to do that in the love arena, too. Maybe it won’t make for the best meet cute, but you won’t care when you’re in the arms of someone you love and who loves you.

Online dating isn’t easy, which many people don’t realize. They think they can just throw a profile up there and wait. No way, Jose. That’s like walking into a bar and just plopping yourself on a stool without even trying to make conversation with anyone. Or assuming you’ll lose weight simply by paying your gym membership every month even if you never set foot inside. It’s just not going to work.

Let’s refresh ourselves on a few pointers to make sure online dating can work for you:

  1. Choose three to five photos, including a clear shot of your face and a full-body shot.  It also helps to have a shot of you doing something interesting to provide some “email bait.” Tinder allows six photos. Match.com allows 26! Less is more.
  2. Make sure your profile is well-written (check it for errors) and not too long. After a long day of work, people have a hard time focusing on profiles that ramble on and on, especially on the apps. Bullet points work well here.
  3. Stand out from the crowd. Do you like to laugh and have fun? Me, too. Someone would rather see that you like the color turquoise, have a pet turtle, and build five-tiered snowmen than that you’re “just as comfortable in a little black dress or tux as you are in a pair of jeans and flip flips.”
  4. Be proactive.  Reach out to people who interest you.  It’s 2015.  The ball is in your court.

Happy dating!

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Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge and author of Love at First Site, available on Amazon.  Her work has been seen on NPR, Talk Philly, The Washington Post, and more.  To join her mailing list for tips and events, please join here.

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IT’S HERE! The opportunity you’ve been waiting for. Apply NOW! Applications due January 12th.

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Open Doors Fellowship FAQ

1. Who are we looking for?

Social connectors – If you love meeting new people, helping others find and create community, and are interested in creating diverse opportunities for Jewish life, this is for you!  Must be open to learning new skills, growing personally, and being part of a team.

2. How much of a time commitment is this?

Time will differ depending on the week, but on average we expect 5-6 hours per week plus a Fellows meeting every 2 weeks.

3. What if I can’t attend the scheduled Fellows meetings?

Once the group of Fellows is hired we will plan meetings around individual’s schedules.  You may miss no more than one meeting over the course of the Fellowship.  The immersive training and capstone trip are both required, as they are key aspects of the Fellowship experience.

4. Where will the Fellows meetings be held?

We will base locations on convenience for the group once we know where people live and work.

5. What is Immersive training and what will it entail?

Immersive training will take place from a Friday – Sunday in the winter at an off-site location outside of the city.  It will include team building, professional skills, and a deeper review of the Fellowship.

6. What will success look like?

The goals of this Fellowship are to foster a pro-sumer model meaningful Jewish life, where individuals are a part of creating catered experiences for themselves and their community.  This may happen through existing events and opportunities, or new initiatives that emerge from within your community.  Success will be achieved through a relationship-based approach to Jewish life.  There are many models of success depending on each Fellow and their community.

7. Do I need specific Jewish background to participate?

No! There will be no assumption of previous Jewish knowledge as a part of this fellowship

E-mail RGildiner@gatherthejews.com with additional questions.

 

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The Top Five Online Dating Findings from 2014

Do you like to travel?  Me, too.  Apparently so does everyone else on Match.com.  How do I know this?  Match.com just came out with its 2014 Year in Review report, and below are the top five highlights:

  1. The most common word people used in profiles in 2014 was “travel.”  It showed up in more than one million profiles—1,005,346, to be exact.  That’s a lot of planes, trains, and automobiles.
  2. Words that made big jumps in popularity this year were Zumba, electrician, welcoming, warmhearted, crochet, quickest, cosmetology, ladies, and sewing… with Zumba being #1.  Now, what percentage of the people who list going to Zumba actually go to Zumba?  The world may never know.
  3. The most common phrase people used was “down to earth.”  Almost a quarter of a million people describe themselves that way.  Yep, 232,348 people consider themselves to be down to earth.  This is why we shouldn’t use “empty adjectives.”  They can’t be proven until you get to know someone.  And even then, it’s pretty subjective.
  4. “Frozen” was listed as 5,501 people’s favorite movie this year, which is well above any other movie.  How many times can a person actually listen to “Let it Go” on repeat?  Actually, I don’t think I want to know!
  5. One person used a whopping… wait for it… 44 hashtags in his Match.com profile! #toomuchtimeonyourhands

In writing a fictitious profile that encompasses all five highlights, let’s see what we have here:

I’m a down to earth gal (because my dad was an electrician) who loves to go to Zumba class, travel, and crochet.  I like to sew, too, but I’m not old enough to do that too often!  #notagrandmayet  I’m also pretty warmhearted, especially since I LOVE watching Frozen.  That Elsa is such a strong woman, just like me.

What’s the moral here?  Dare to be different!  The profile above kind of looks like one of the most annoying person who ever existed.  People don’t want to date one of the masses.  They want to date you, even (especially?) if you don’t watch Frozen or go to Zumba.

 

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Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge and author of Love at First Site, available on Amazon.  Her work has been seen on NPR, Talk Philly, The Washington Post, and more.  To join her mailing list for tips and events, please join here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Miracle of Journeys

IMG_0533No more Chassidic reggae superstar. Sorry folks, all you get is me…no alias. When I started becoming religious 10 years ago it was a very natural and organic process. It was my choice. My journey: to discover my roots and explore Jewish spirituality—not through books but through real life. At a certain point I felt the need to submit to a higher level of religiosity…to move away from my intuition and to accept an ultimate truth. I felt that in order to become a good person I needed rules—lots of them—or else I would somehow fall apart. I am reclaiming myself. Trusting my goodness and my divine mission. Get ready for an amazing year filled with music of rebirth.” – Matisyahu, December 2011

On the seventh night of Chanukah I saw Matisyahu[1] perform at the 9:30 Club.  I had seen Matisyahu two other times, each six or seven years ago.  I remember a Chassidic Jew who literally bounced around the stage while wearing payes, a long black jacket, and a black hat.  The way he wove Hebrew and prayer into his music was incredible moving.  I had never seen Judaism and pop culture come together in this way.

Last night Matisyahu, formerly Matthew Paul Miller, looked like any other musician.  The lyrics were the same and the music was still great.  But it was clear to me that he was at a very different point in his life from when I saw him last.  During the concert, I began to wonder, What does it mean to say the same words, sing the same songs, and elicit the same emotions from your audience, while being in a very different place on your own personal journey?

The idea of journeys, or Jewish journeys, is discussed a lot these days.  Lately, I had been wondering if this concept of journey had lost its meaning.  But last night, seeing someone on a very unique, very public Jewish journey, gave the idea new resonance for me.  As I prepare to light the candles for the final night of Channukah, I find myself asking, Where am I on my journey?  What about me has changed, and why does it matter?

I, and many Jews I know, continually seek different ways to express an authentic connection to Judaism and Jewish life.  Unlike Matisyahu, however, we engage in these experiments in relative privacy.  Ideally, our family and friends give us space to try different personas and forms of expression as we explore our Jewish journeys.

Because Matisyahu’s Jewish journey has been so public, some have questioned his authenticity.  They have said that his more observant persona was an act to sell records.  But I have to say, watching him schlep out a huge channukiah and light candles on stage gave me a deep sense of pride and gratitude that he has the courage and strength to let us bear witness to this part of his journey.  I hope it will inspire me and others to embrace the messiness of Jewish exploration, and to never feel stuck or pigeonholed into our current form of expression.

So, here’s to Jewish experiments, to Jewish journeys, to Jewish life.  L’chaim.

Happy Chanukah!

[1]Matisyahu is the Hebrew name of Mattathias, who led the Maccabbes’ revolt against King Antiochus in the 2nd century BC.

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Open Doors DC Fellowship

Impact the landscape of DC’s Jewish life.
Connect and build relationships with young Jews across the DC area.
Build inclusive and welcoming community that is meaningful to you Ÿ
Create innovative Jewish experiences Ÿ
Explore Jewish DC + further your own Jewish connections Ÿ
Receive financial support for your initiatives, personal and professional development, mentorship, skill-building, and more.  Apply Now.

What:
Join a volunteer cohort of 10 – 12 Fellows to serve in a 5 month Fellowship from February – June 2015.  This inaugural fellowship is an innovative experiment to help deepen social connections and provide concierge services for Jewish life in DC to those in their 20s & 30s. You will pilot a relationship-based and concierge-model approach to building Jewish community.

Fellows will build 1:1 relationships, create community, and help connect those individuals to the Jewish opportunities and meaning they are looking for, creating your own innovative project where none exist.  These projects can include social justice, learning, outdoors, politics, or any other topic all depending on the needs and interests of those you’re meeting.

We are looking for social connectors from diverse backgrounds and experiences who care about Jewish life in DC and want to help others connect to Jewish experiences that matter to them.

Fellows will receive:

  • Immersive professional training in a retreat setting outside of the city – skill training, team building, resource mapping, and more
  • Access to human and financial resources to support your relationship and community building
  • Jewish learning opportunities and resources (all backgrounds encouraged to apply!)
  • A capstone experience or trip at the conclusion of the Fellowship
  • Follow-through after the Fellowship has concluded

Expectations of Fellowship:

  • One weekend of immersive training
  • Approximately 5 – 6 hours per week including:
    –  Fellows meetings 2x per month
    – Relationship building with diverse range of young Jewish adults in DC and Relationship Management
    – Serve as a Greeters for new arrivals to DC
    – Create personally relevant Jewish initiatives around a topic or issue that matters to your community
    – Help design and launch DC’s only online DIY (Do It Yourself) Jewish Experience Portal

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A Gift for the Future

JGift

Thousands of years ago, when the Maccabees beat the Greeks,
No one could’ve imagined we’d have such advanced genetic screening techniques.
Although the Jews had an incredible and miraculous victory,
Genetic makeup and DNA was still a great mystery.
Witnessing enough oil for one day last for eight was a great achievement,
And a long ways down the road their offspring would have further scientific ascent.

For several years genetic screening tests have been improving
And now the ability to identify carriers of genetic diseases is outstanding!
Since JScreen came along in the Fall of last year,
The modernization of genetic screening has become quite clear.
Drastically revolutionizing the screening market
JScreen sends people an at home, do it yourself spit kit.

With the goal of helping couples plan for healthy babies,
When it comes to the decision to be screened there should be no maybes.
Also hoping to help people who desire to have children make educated decisions
JScreen is devoted to using technology that has incredible precision.
Although usually extremely expensive and difficult to come by,
JScreen makes genetic testing available to anyone who wants to buy.

Headquartered in Atlanta at Emory University’s School of Medicine,
After lots of hard work there are few states where JScreen hasn’t been.
Receiving impressive news coverage from reporters everywhere,
JScreen is an important program that you should definitely share!
Chanukkah is the perfect time to share the gift of love and joy,
So help friends and family bring to life a healthy girl or boy.

JScreen offers testing for diseases that are most common
Allowing future parents to have different options.
The test screens for the 40 most common genetic diseases in the Jewish population,
As well as 47 others seen in people from other ancestral nations.
Using JScreen’s easy to use saliva spit test before having children
Couples can learn about their genetic makeup that’s unprecedented.

Only 24% of Jews have been genetically screened before having kids,
Meaning a significant amount of Jews don’t know what their risk is.
Even if a couple has no known family history of genetic disease,
Genetic screening is still important and will help put parents at ease.
Early education is key so parents can discover their risk early
And learn about different options to continue their family tree.

JScreen recently started a new and exciting gift giving initiative,
Which should lend you the idea of the perfect present to give!
Know someone who has or will have children on their mind?
Well then what better gift could you possibly find?!
Whether thinking about starting a family in a week or a year,
This is a present that will surely make people cheer!

Hoping to secure the healthiest possible future for all children,
Giving a JScreen kit this holiday season is a definite win!
Many wonder what their children will grow up to do and be,
And you can help ensure healthy children to your friends and family.
So, help spread the JScreen mission to genetically screen
And give a gift that will help people learn about their genes.

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