VENUE CHANGE – Lone Soldiers Event Tonight!

The Bonds of Bravery: Israeli Wine Tasting to Toast Lone Soldiers is taking place TONIGHT! However, due to unforeseen circumstances, it will no longer take place at the Embassy of Israel.

Keynote Speakers include Counselor Galit Baram and former Lone Soldier (and GTJ’s most recent Jewish Guy of the Year) Lazar Berman.

WHEN: Wednesday, June 27, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

WHERE: Now in the Consulate Ballroom of the Embassy Row Hotel, 2015 Massachusetts Ave. NW

Advanced registration has been extended until doors open, so click here to register.  For more information about this event or about the Lone Soldier project, read GTJ’s articles on the topic (here and here) or contact


DC Rabbi Takes On Israeli Police

DC Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, leader of the Orthodox Ohev Shalom congregation, came out swinging against Israeli police today. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

In an article for Huffington Post, Herzfeld excoriated security forces for arresting women who had come to the Western Wall to pray… for the crime of wearing a tallit.  According to Rabbi Herzfeld:

“…women were denied the right by the Israeli government to practice Jewish law in a manner that is permitted by many great traditional rabbinic authorities. In essence, the Jewish State denied them their right to practice Judaism […] The decision of the Israeli police to arrest a woman for the crime of wearing a tallit is a colossal disgrace.”

For the full text of the article, click here.

This is not the first time that Herzfeld has articulated his views on the issue of women praying at the Western Wall. Two years ago, he clashed with the Israeli Embassy in Washington, following his protest of another woman’s arrest under similar circumstances.


GTJ seeks full time Executive Director

Gather the Jews (GTJ) seeks to hire a full time Executive Director to manage the day-to-day operations of GTJ starting late July, 2012.

The Executive Director will:

  • Oversee the operation of GTJ
  • Manage a large team of volunteers
  • Help maintain the GTJ website
  • Produce the weekly newsletter
  • Write regular blog posts and news stories
  • Sell advertisements
  • Promote GTJ
  • Attend Jewish events and meetings.
  • Help organize events.

The ideal candidate will:

  1. Want to eat, breathe, and sleep Jewish DC.
  2. Be an effective writer
  3. Be a self-starter and self-motivated
  4. Be highly entrepreneurial
  5. Be very organized
  6. Be personable and outgoing
  7. Be familiar with social media
  8. …  Recent college graduates (and those with advanced degrees) are encouraged to apply!

Why this position is awesome:

  1. You’ll get paid to essentially be the “go to” person in the Jewish community.
  2. You’ll get to attend tons of Jewish events — for free!
  3. You’ll have a very flexible work schedule.
  4. You’ll be the leader of an organization.
  5. You’ll get to exercise your entrepreneurial skills.
  6. You’ll get to do a little bit of everything.
  7. You’ll get to wear a t-shirt to work (if that is what you want).
  8. You’ll get to hang out with the fun GTJ volunteer staff.

Pay (Although after the above description you’d probably work for free, right?!):

  1. $32,000.00 to $35,000.00 base.
  2. Bonus system based on GTJ’s fiscal success.  Total annual pay capped at $60,000.00
  3. Health insurance.


Interested?  Hope so.  Email me at (please also cc:



China just wants a few good Jews — News of the Week (Jewish Style) — 6/20

Ronan Farrow tweets about his family’s odd structure (#2).  Image from Tablet.

Lots of good Jewish news this week.  If you have an article you want to share, please email me at

Thanks, as always, to our partners on this project, Moment Magazine.

  1. Chinese business looking for a few good Jews (Foreign Policy)(h/t Cory A.)
  2. Ronan Farrow can’t forgive Woody Allen for the Soon-Yi thing (Tablet)
  3. David Arquette is bar mitzvah’d (TMZ)(h/t Jodi T.)
  4. Gilad Shalit starts his new job – sportswriter (New York Times)(h/t Moment Magazine)
  5. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach rolls through the Republican Primary (CNN)(h/t Moment Magazine)
  6. Hasidic Jew fired for beard length (CNN)(h/t Moment Magazine)
  7. Biden dances the hora at daughter’s wedding (DCist)
  8. Hebrew National sued for not being kosher?  (Jewlicious)

    Biden dances the Hora (#7).  Image from DCist.

  9. Drake’s new song (Jewcy)
  10. Some rabbis are making bank (Jewlicious)
  11. Rockville Congregation wins USY award (Washington Jewish Week)
  12. Israel-Turkey Relations Hit New Low?  (Jewish Policy Center)
  13. A few more Jewish Republicans in Congress? (Jewlicious)
  14. An Anti-Semite for Congress? (Tablet)
  15. New report on New York Jewish demographics (The New York Jewish Week)












Jews and Baseball — Get Tix Before They’re Gone!

Come join 2239Washington Hebrew Congregation‘s young professional group — and other Jewish young professionals in the DC area for a fun night of socializing and sports.

2239 has reserved a block of tickets in the Lower Level Bleachers for the Washington Nationals versus the New York Mets.  These tickets are discounted and are ONLY $16!

WHEN: Wednesday, July 18, 7:00pm

WHERE: Nationals Park, 1500 South Capitol Street SE (for directions, click here)

If interested, RSVP here. The number of tickets is limited, so sign up ASAP!


Lone Soldier Event at the Israeli Embassy!

The Lone Soldier Project of Israel Forever — spearheaded by former Jewish Girl of the Week Ricki — is hosting a kick-off and wine tasting event.

WHERE: The Embassy of Israel!

WHEN: June 27 at 6:30pm.

Guest speakers will include an Embassy official and former Lone Soldiers.  Attendees will also have the opportunity to record interactive messages for Lone Soldiers currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces.

Registration is available online at Please contact for more information.

21+, Government ID is required. Laptops and backpacks are not allowed.


Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 43)

Certainly on your profile

In this day and age, sex runs rampant throughout pop culture.  There are TV shows (“Sex and the City” was a personal favorite), songs, and plenty of movies that go into far more detail than I care to.

When it comes to looking for a serious, committed relationship online, however, sex and your online dating profile should not mix.  Consider the two like oil and water, pickles and ice cream, toothpaste and orange juice… you get the idea.  In its most innocuous form, people imply sex in countless profiles that mention touching and cuddling by the fire.  But while cuddling by the fire may sound lovely, your profile is meant for you to talk about your hobbies and personality and what you’re looking for in a partner.  Who doesn’t like to cuddle?  All that line does is take up extra space on the page when you could be using that prime real estate to win someone over.  And I don’t know about you, but I personally wouldn’t want someone I don’t know creating a visual of me cuddling on the couch in my cozy PJs and slippers.  Creepy!

Then there is the other extreme – explicitly mentioning sex in your profile.  Unless you’re looking for a predominantly physical relationship (which some people are), this is an easy way to turn someone off.

Below are some real, unedited examples (taken from multiple online dating sites) of profiles where the “sex talk” is simply self-defeating:

  1. “I like fishing and travel and sex.”  (This was the first line of a guy’s profile!)
  2. “I recently ended a faithful, 12-year marriage because I was unhappy with the intimacy and sex.”
  3. “To be clear, uninhibited intimacy means I want a woman who enjoys cuddling up, flirting, talking dirty, and giggling in the arms of a man. I want a woman who simply loves having sex with a man. I want a woman who enjoys receiving oral sex…”  (It went downhill from here.  I spared your eyes – trust me.)
  4. “I think it is important for the sake of compatibility, so I am leading with this: as it turns out, I prefer to be somewhat dominant in the bedroom. So yeah. There it is. I just wrote that, just put it right out there lol. :)”
  5. “I am looking for someone who is ambitious as I am, and has strong morals and family values. Someone who shares the same goals in life as I do. Oh yeah, and the sex has to be great too! ;)”
  6. “Simple down to earth, compassionate, confident, romantic and loves to see ladies in nicely fitted tight/painted on jeans look.” (A more subtle, yet still pretty graphic, way of doing it.)

Sex is an intimate thing to be shared between two consenting adults – not an entire online community.  So try to leave the “sex talk” in your mind and off your profile.  It’s not until you know someone well enough that you should invite her or her to hear your thoughts.  To draw the right kind of attention, feel free to review these profile-writing tips.

Erika Ettin is, as the Washington Post has noted, a “modern day Cyrano.” She is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people with all aspects of online dating.  An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available.  Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.

This article was also posted in JMag, the online magazine for


Checking in on Meredith Fineman

  • Some of you know her from her week as Jewish Girl of the Week.
  • Some of you know her from her popular blog FFJD (previously Fifty First J Dates)
  • Some of you know her from all the events she throws.
  • Some of you know her from her new blog, Girls Aren’t Funny.

So whatever the reason, many of you know Meredith Fineman.  Still, because she’s up to new things these days, I thought it might be fun to revisit our former Jewish Girl of the Week.

Stephen Richer (SR):  What exactly are you up to these days?

Meredith Fineman (MF):  I founded a digital PR company, FinePoint, after leaving New Media Strategies. FinePoint attempts to combine my more traditional PR and communications inclinations with my digital background.  I also launched a new site, Girls Arent Funny, to highlight female humorists and foster new ones. I also freelance write. 

SR:  Any especially cool clients?

MF:   I’ve done some great work with DC-area stores and restaurants. I represent some writers putting out books, which I love. I also do start-up advising about entering the DC market. I had an interesting client, Votizen, here with me for White House Correspondents Weekend.

SR:  What’s the inspiration behind the new blog?  How many people are reading it?

MF:  The inspiration behind GAF is my own personal frustration with the opportunities and visibility of female humor writers. Women are making tremendous strides in comedy – video, movies, stand-up- but there’s still a mega dearth of humor and satire writers. I also find that there isnt’ enough of a space for humor writing itself, so I am hoping to fill that gap. While the site highlights funny ladies from around the web, I really want women young and old to submit original essays. I’ll be writing some essays too. I have no idea how many people are reading it. With this site, I just care that it inspires funny women to write.

SR:  How is FFJD doing these days?  Any big new developments?

MF:   FFJD is taking a nap. My intern, Constance, had a Britney-esque 2007 meltdown and is currently taking some time off. I’m working on turning it into a book. If you’d like to give me a deal, please reach out. If you’d like a transcript of the site, which is 400 single-spaced pages, I’d be happy to share.

SR:  What’s the next big party you’re throwing?

MF:  I’d love to throw a warehouse party, a la the Crackcident Girls Episode on HBO. But DC ain’t no Bushwick. Stay tuned.

SR:  Do you really dress this fancy each day for work?!?!  (see Washingtonian Article: What I Wear to Work) I normally wear shorts and a t-shirt…  But I really love the blue shoes!

MF:  I dress like that occasionally. Otherwise, it’s yoga pants.

SR:  When are we going to be able to trick you into being a regular writer for GTJ?

MF:  When you pay me.






ADL Gathering Promotes Equality

Jews Gather at ADL's Cocktails for Equality


Over 100 guests came together for the Anti-Defamation League’s Cocktails for Equality Happy Hour on June 7th on the rooftop of Nellie’s Sports Bar on 9th and U Streets.  ADL’s Young Professionals Division hosted the fundraiser during DC Pride Week to support marriage rights for all and highlight the efforts of the ADL to promote equality within our community.

For those unfamiliar with the ADL, they were founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.  Respected as the nation’s premier civil rights and human relations agency, ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals, and protects civil rights for all.

Kenny Ames, a YPD Board Member and co-host of the program, called the event “a great success.”  A former Congressional staffer for Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), Ames completed ADL’s Glass Leadership Institute and co-hosted a panel on the state of Prop 8 in California.

He continues, “it was a pleasure to represent our community for the event.  Pride Week may only last seven days, but throughout the whole year we should promote respect and acceptance of all people – no matter their race, religion, creed, gender, or sexual orientation.”

To learn more about getting involved in ADL in DC, click here.  Or register today to attend the 18th Annual ADL Concert Against Hate at The Kennedy Center on October 15th.

If you are interested in applying for the Glass Leadership Institute, please contact Sophie Dornstreich at





Event Hosts and Award Recipients — E.M.Davis, J.Rosen

The Annual Event of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington (JFGW) is on Monday, June 11.   Sarah Arenstein covered most of the basic details in our post from yesterday. but we still wanted to talk with with a few other people involved with the event:

SR:  How did you become one of the four chairs of the event?  (Other chairs include:  Nathan Bortnick, Yvonne Schlafstein Distenfeld, and Alan Meltzer)

Eva Malka Davis (EMD):  We were asked to co-chair the event because we are co-chairs of The ConnectGens Fellowship which is being featured at the annual meeting.  It was a natural fit, and we could encourage our demographic to attend the meeting and launch all at once.

SR:  What have been your responsibilities as an event chair?

EMD:  We are responsible for helping create the agenda, strategically incorporate launch night and the innovation expo into the event, and recruiting people like you to come to the meeting.  Hopefully everyone reading this will find Launch Night interesting and join us!

SR:  What’s going to make this Annual Meeting different from (better than?) all other Annual Meetings?

EMD:  This annual meeting is going to incorporate a more dynamic presntaiton as the 10 ConnectGens fellows pitch their ideas during the meeting and then stick around for an innovation expo to answer questions, promote their ideas, and network with as many people in the community as possible.  It will be exciting to experience first hand our community’s investment in future social entrepreneurs and leaders!

SR:  GTJ’s Aaron Wolff will be one of the presenters.  THE WOLFf!!!!!!!!!


SR:  GTJ ran this news story when JFGW named Jeremy Rosen and Rachel Cohen Gerroll recipients of this year’s Jerome J. Dick Young Leadership Award.   If I may quickly brag our ability to spot amazing Jews, we at GTJ previously named Jeremy a guy of the week, and we named Rachel our first ever Jewish Girl of the Year.  We followed up with Jeremy.

SR:  How did you win the award, and how does it feel?

Jeremy Rosen (JR):   Obviously neither Rachel nor I got involved to win an award. It is, however, nice to be recognized for the time, energy, and dedication we have invested in the Jewish young professional community.  That being said, I don’t know of any specific requirements or criteria.

SR:  How’d you originally get involved with the Jewish community and with the Federation?

JR:  I originally got involved because I didn’t have the community I wanted in my life. I saw an opportunity to learn about the community while having some involvement in the behind the scenes development of the programming. The Reverse Mifgash is where I “discovered” the community in 2007. Soon after I attended the JFGW leadership mission and General Assembly in Israel where I really got to see the work of the Federation firsthand on the ground in Israel. Upon returning I started off being a general member of the Birthright Israel NEXT DC Advisory Committee and then moved on to be the Shabbat Hoppin co-chair. From there I took on the role of Campaign Chair for YL at the beginning of the economic downturn, a real challenge. From there I joined Eva Davis and Kevin Fishkind as a YL co-chair as their terms were ending and then brought Rachel on to join me at the volunteer helm.

SR:  Any cash award?

Jeremy receiving award. He has since departed to Alabama, so he had to collect early.

JR:  We have a stipend we can use towards a federation mission as part of the award.


















Fewer nose jobs for the Jews – News of the Week (Jewish Style) – 6/6

Ok.  Was a day late on this (supposed to be Wednesday).  Sorry!

Thanks, as always, to our partners on this project, Moment Magazine.



Gay Pride in DC — Jewish style!

This weekend marks The Capital Pride Parade and the Capital Pride Festival.  (

Want a Jewish spin to this weekend (and week)?




Have fun!





Federation’s Annual Event — Monday!

As I said in a past post, all DC organizations of note have an annual meeting in spring or early summer.  The mothership of Jewish DC — The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington (JFGW) — is no exception.  On Monday, June 11, JFGW will host its 2012 Annual Meeting at the Carnegie Institute For Science.  The evening will roll three programs into one:  a series of speakers with a keynote address by Ambassador Michael B. Oren; an award ceremony for Rachel Cohen Gerrol, Jeremy Rosen, and Avi West; and a presentation of the ConnectGens Fellows.  Doors open at 6:45 PM; the program starts at 7:15 PM.  Go here to register.

SR:  About how many people are going to show up to this?

Sarah Arenstein, Director of Young Leadership, JFGW (SA):  More than 250 people have already registered.

SR:  How much does it cost to attend?

SA: It’s free and open to anyone in the community who wants to hear about how Federation has enriched the community during the past year.

SR:  Do you know what Ambassador Oren will speak about?

SA: Unfortunately, we have just been informed that Ambassador Oren has been called away on official embassy business and will be unable to join us at the Annual Meeting on Monday. Because Israel is so important to us, we want to make sure it continues to hold an important place at this year’s meeting and therefore, Rob Satloff, Executive Director of the Washington Institute will deliver the keynote address highlighting the three biggest things facing Israel today and what we as Jews in Greater Washington can do to help.

SR:  Who else will speak?

SA: Stuart Kurlander, President; Steve Rakitt, Executive Vice President and CEO; Eva Davis, Nathan Bortnick, Yvonne Distenfeld, and Alan Meltzer – Annual Meeting Co-Chairs

SR:  Tell me about the Jerome J. Dick Young Leadership Award.  How many years has this been given out for?  How are the recipients selected?  What comes with the award?  I assume I was third place for the award?

SA: The Jerome J. Dick Young Leadership Award has been given out for 43 years to individuals in their early forties, or younger, in recognition of their dedication to the Jewish community and capacity for leading and motivating people. Recipients of this award have gone on to become major players in the Greater Washington Jewish community. A full list of recipients can be found here:

SR:  We interviewed last year’s recipient (Kevin Fishkind) here.  

SR:  What will the ConnectGens fellows do for their presentation?  And where can we get a list of the projects?

SA: The ConnectGens Fellows will each deliver a short, 15-second pitch during the Annual Meeting.  The idea is to peak the audience’s interest so that they will join us for a dessert reception and Innovation Expo immediately following the meeting, where they will have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with the Fellows to learn more about their exciting concepts.

Brief bios of the Fellows, along with descriptions of each of their ventures, are listed at

SR:  Why should young adults go this event?

SA: Thousands of young adults in our community have attended events sponsored by The Jewish Federation, but that’s only a small piece of what we do. It’s important for young adults to see Federation on the macro level and understand the integral role it plays in our Jewish community. Federation provides so many opportunities for young adults to connect and grow as leaders, and part of that is understanding how and why. The Annual Meeting is one of the few times Federation donors and volunteers of all ages come together for an evening to celebrate what we have accomplished during the year. This year, we are taking it to another level with the integration of the ConnectGens Fellowship Launch Night! There has been a lot of buzz in our community about the 10 Fellows and the ventures they have been working on over the past few months. This is their moment to shine and show them their community is behind them!



JDate: The Blackberry of Online Dating

JDate. Not really the iPhone of dating services...

The views in this piece represent the opinions of the author and do not reflect a GTJ institutional stance.

Like many of my friends in the Jewish community, I’ve looked to Jdate to help me meet my soulmate.  I’ve heard the stories, ranging from those of my college roommate (who is now married to a wonderful woman) to GTJ’s own Erika. But after checking out a couple of other dating sites, I’ve come to the realization that, even for those of us who restrict our dating to a Jewish-only pool, Jdate is extremely outdated and serves very little purpose.

Jdate is the Blackberry in a world that has moved onto Droids and iPhones.  Pretty much anything someone wants to express on Jdate can be done through another service, more efficiently and probably cheaper.

Jdate has a number of glaring weaknesses compared to other sites. This largely boils down to the fact that Jdate is the same site it was five years ago, while all the other sites have been evolving. If anything, Jdate has become less user friendly in the last five years!

  • There is virtually no easy way to search a user’s profile. It’s 2012 and the only way we can see users sorted is by how recently they logged on, who is new (which isn’t that many people), and who lives closest to you! If you want to find someone who shares your love of something specific, such as the TV shows or books they might list in their profile, you’d better hope you get lucky when you click on the picture. Seriously? This makes Jdate virtually nothing more than a picture book. I’m looking forward to Jdate’s future function that allows you to fax in updates to your profile.
  • Outside of the hard to navigate “Kibitz Corner,” there is no easy way to search a user’s position on a certain question. On OKCupid, there is a great feature that allows you to see questions you have answered and how they match up to other users you are viewing. Questions can be sorted by category, or by how much a user cares about a question. This gives users the ability to learn more about a person than just the opening couple of paragraphs.
  • It’s expensive: Jdate often runs between $30-40 per month, depending on the length of the package. Worse, once they have locked you into a package, they try to upsell you like a car salesperson. OKCupid, which has a sizable amount of Jewish members, is free and only requires $5-10 for a premium account with extra search functionality. Match is also generally cheaper than the J. And keep in mind that Jdate’s relatively high cost has stayed more or less the same despite reduced functionality over time. Jdate once allowed any member to get an IM, however now only paid users can get IMs unless a user pays for a bonus cost for the length of their package.
  • It doesn’t appear to do any sort of matching at all. There is no real way to estimate how much you have in common with one person compared to another, except in some very basic ways. It’s basically like they threw everyone in a hat and said good luck.

I tried to think of something that I can do on Jdate that can’t be accomplished on other dating sites — either through comments or just through the structure your general profile — and I drew a blank. The cost is lower on most other sites and the functionality is greater. It seems to me that Jdate, much like a politician who has been in office too long, has stopped evolving and is taking its members for granted, assuming that Jews will naturally gravitate toward a Jewish-focused site. Fortunately for the Jewish community,  if Jdate continues to stagnate, there are other plenty of other options.


The Annual Israel Bonds Ambassador’s Gala

About every 2-3 months I head to The Capitol Hill Used Bookstore in Eastern Market.  I walk in with an empty book bag and leave with one over-flowing. Of the books I picked up last time I was there, three were about Israel.  They were written in 1949, 1967, and 1978 respectively.  As I read the books, I learned of the perspective of people of the time of the State that I call my second home – before I was born – on discolored pages that showed their wear.

On Sunday, June 3rd, hundreds of guests heard an updated story about Israel.  Not one of war, but of innovation.  Not one of fear, but of hope.  Not one of a desert worn down by strife, but of a thriving metropolis in a Democratic land.  They heard how they’ve contributed to the country’s growth over the years through their investment of our Homeland.

The story was recited at The Annual Israel Bonds Ambassador’s Gala, which has become one of the premiere nights of celebration by the Washington Jewish community.  It was held in honor of 64 years of Israel’s independence.

Ambassador Michael Oren provided the keynote address.  Additional speakers included leadership of Israel Bonds and campaign co-chairs Andrew Glick and Elliot Liss.  Eva Davis and Micha Weinblatt served as the co-chairs of the New Leader Host Committee.  And two Broadway performers performed a medley of show tunes for entertainment.

Ambassador Oren must be exhausted... He's spoken at seemingly every Jewish/Israel organization in the past two months.

According to Israel Bonds staff, the event was attended by 450 individuals, including ambassadors from 15 countries, 30 members of the Israeli Embassy staff, and 84 young professionals. $8.3 million in Israel Bond investments have been raised in this region so far in 2012.

The next Israel Bonds event in DC is tentatively scheduled for August 19, 2012, and involves the Nats vs. Mets game. For more information on that event, contact Richard Karlin 240-479-7923.

Here’s what some other community members had to say about the event:

“The event was absolutely fantastic!”- Rebecca Kastan

“I am so thrilled that my husband and I were able to make it to the Ambassador’s Ball.  It was a truly wonderful event! I was blown away by the amazing turn out and the exceptionally high caliber of the event the DC Israel Bonds puts on. I look forward to attending future DC events.  I am honored to be involved in such a wonderful organization.” -Danielle Levine

To learn more about making an investment in Israel, please visit or contact 301-654-6575. To “like” Israel Bonds on Facebook, click here.





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