Welcome to Jspace!

Jspace is set to launch in DC on Thursday night.  If you want to celebrate with them, join them at Policy Bar at 8:00 PM.   Here’s a transcript of a brief exchange I had with Meara R — of Jspace — about what Jspace is.


SR: What is Jspace?
MR: is the one-stop shop for all your Jewish needs. Members enjoy the best of Jewish news, events, organizations and free dating all on one website. Connect with your local synagogues, kosher restaurants, and Jewish organizations, or just share the latest Bar Refaeli gossip with a friend. Log In To the Jewish World today at and start connecting.

SR: When did it launch?
MR:  We launched in November at the JFNA General Assembly in Denver and already have over 10,000 users and 180 organizations using the site.

SR: Who started it?
MR:  Jspace was started by two Israeli best friends who wanted to be better plugged into the Jewish community, but found there was not a single source for all things Jewish.

SR: What cities have you had “launch parties” in previously?
MR:  NY and Tel Aviv already experienced Jspace events. Soon LA, Miami, Boston, and Denver will all join the Jspace community.

SR:  Why DC?
MR:  Of course DC would be one of our first stops on our launch tour. We’re excited to be involved with the large active Jewish community, strong local organizations and the key DC Jewish ‘machers’ like Ariana Heidemen (Recently crowned Jewish Girl of the Year).





News of Week (Jewish Style) — 5/30 — Jewish women are hot

Last week we announced the return of GTJ’s news of the week.  And it’s a good thing we did because there’s a lot of fun stories that I would have missed otherwise.  Number 1 gave me an excuse to look at lots of pictures of hot girls on my work computer.  Number 5 took me to the impressive new website of the Jewish Policy Center for what was, embarrassingly, my first time.   If you have Jewish news that you’d like to share with the community, email me a link at 
  1. Jews claim spots 1, 3, 14, and 17 on Maxim’s Hot 100. (Jewish
  2. Mein Kampf goes back to German Schools (TC Jewfolk)
  3. Riots in Tel Aviv (h/t Moment Magazine) (New York Times)
  4. New Jersey woman fired by Orthodox Jews for being “too hot”? (h/t Moment Magazine) (Gawker)
  5. U.S. Committee to Increase Iron Dome Funding (Jewish Policy Center)
  6. The glass ceiling for Jewish women in Jewish organizations (Washington Jewish Week)
  7. Female reporter cross dresses to get into the all male anti-Internet gathering of 40,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews. (Jewlicious)
  8. A Comprehensive Guide For Ladies:  How to avoid schmucks in Israel (Jewlicious)
  9. Oh heck, I’ll thrown my most recent Jewish article in here — “Republican Anti-Gay Marriage Stance Alienates Jewish Voters.” (PolicyMic)


Bar Refaeli.  Named Maxim’s hottest woman.  Jewish.

Born in Hod HaSharon, Israel.  1985.


Help a Lone Soldier — Tonight!

Ricki B. M.

One of the perks of Gather the Jews is that I get to force really cool people to have G-chat conversations with me during the day.  One such really cool person is former Jewish Girl of the Week Ricki B. M. (RBM).  Ricki is hosting a party/happy hour TONIGHT to promote her newest Jewish endeavor: The Lone Soldier Project.  Hope to see you there.

SR:  What is the Lone Soldier Project?
RBM:  The Lone Soldier Project serves as the voice of the 5,700 young men and women from around the world who leave their homes and families to serve as Lone Soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces each year.  The goal of the LSP is to spread awareness of Lone Soldiers – who they are, what they do, and how we can support – to already existing groups, organizations, and communities.  The Lone Soldier Project works in partnership with The Lone Soldier Center, an organization in Jerusalem that provides on-the-ground support for soldiers – in addition to mentors, furniture, Shabbat and holiday meals, and a physical presence of encouragement at milestone ceremonies in each soldier’s course of duty.

SR:  Forgive me.  I’m kinda slow.  To clarify, the ‘Lone Soldiers’ aren’t soldiers necessarily without families, but without families living in Israel?
RBM:  Yep.  Their immediate families are not on the ground with them in Israel.

SR:  How did you get the project started?
RBM:  The preliminary idea to help Lone Soldiers began as an impact project from the 2011 DC Birthright Alumni Leadership Mission.  While in Israel, we had Shabbat lunch with Lone Soldiers and asked them about their experiences serving in the army without having their family on the ground with them in Israel.  Many soldiers said their friends became family.  However, one soldier said that he really noticed the absence of his family during package delivery when his Israeli peers often received packages of items they desperately needed on the front lines and he most often did not.  The conversation presented not only the needs of Lone Soldiers who voluntarily join the army to defend Israel, but also the ability we have to support them from afar.

SR:  What item have you sent that has been a big hit?
RBM:   Helmet flashlights.  We have received tremendously positive feedback and appreciation from Lone Soldiers and want to get more helmet flashlights to them as soon as we can!

SR:  You have a happy hour tonight at 6:30 pm at Tabaq Bistro (1336 U Street).   Sell me on it.  Pretend I’m popular and have lots of other social options.  What will be especially fun about your event?
RBM:   Entry is free and there will be happy hour specials all night. Most importantly, there will be opportunities to write notes of support to and sign posters for Lone Soldiers currently serving in Israel.

SR:  Will one Sarah Arenstein be there?
RBM:  You’ll have to come to find out!





Walnut-Lentil Veggie Burger

Grilling season is upon us!  For those who keep kosher, the easy solution is to go for the burger and skip the cheese, or whatever other dairy happens to be around.  But what if you really want ice cream on a hot day, or you want cheese on your burger?  The varieties of (and recipes for) veggie burgers are endless, but I figured I’d throw mine into the mix.  Homemade is definitely better than the prepackaged kind.  This one has a spicy-smoky barbeque flavor that will work well with a variety of toppings—including cheese!

Total time: 10 min., plus cooking time for the lentils and bulgur

Yield: 4-6 patties

Level: Easy


© Courtney Weiner.  All Rights Reserved.


  • ¾ cup cooked red lentils
  • ¾ cup cooked bulgur
  • ¾ cup toasted chopped walnuts
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste


Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse several times.  Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and pulse a few more times until ingredients are combined.  Shape the mixture into patties and cook in a pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes per side.


ADL YP Division Parties for a Good Cause

Organizers and Host Committee

Last month, the Anti-Defamation League Young Professionals Division threw its First Annual Spring Soiree fundraiser.

In mid-April, nearly 300 guests filled The Rosebar at Current Sushi & Lounge to raise money and show support for the well-known Jewish organization.  The Saturday evening event featured sushi, sake, dancing, and a silent raffle and the energy in the combined indoor and outdoor space was electric.  The crowd enjoyed music by DJ Mike, ample sushi & dessert, and the signature drink of the evening –The ‘No-Haterade’.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of four top ADL leaders serving as event co-chairs, and a 16-member Host Committee, the Spring Soiree raised significant funds for the Anti-Defamation League and attracted a large number of young professionals who were attending an ADL event for the first time.

Stay tuned for an even bigger and better second annual spring event in 2013 and, of course, many local ADL events before that (e.g. the ADL Annual Concert Against Hate)! To find out how you can get involved before that, contact Sophie Dornstreich, the Associate Director, at


News of the Week (Jewish Style)

Y-Love at a GTJ event with GTJ staffer Tila. Y-Love recently publicly declared that he is gay. Mazal tov.

Remember when we used to update you on the week’s most interesting/important Jewish stories?  Scott W. did it first.  Then Candace M. took over.  Then we dropped it for a while.

But now we’re back. From outer space…  (in case you need to hear the song now)

So if you have a link or news that you want to share with the Jewish community, please email it to me (

Also, we’re going to “steal” a bunch of our stuff from the wonderful people at Moment Magazine who send out a thrice-weekly email with Jewish updates.  Check out Moment Magazine’s website to learn more about the country’s largest independent Jewish magazine.




Lazar’s acceptance speech

To the GTJ Community,

I am humbled by this honor, and pleased to share it with someone as accomplished and worthy as Ariana.  Also, I’m somewhat surprised, since I haven’t won anything since the 1989 Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby in Stoughton, MA. (Well, I came in third place out of three contestants, but I got a trophy.)

Gather the Jews provides such a  unique and precious service to the DC Jewish community. In a time where young Jews cluster into communities based upon their religious observance, GTJ offers a fun atmosphere for young Jewish professionals to create a community across the religious spectrum. It’s Jews who enjoy socializing and spending time with other Jews, and it’s a model that I hope will be replicated across the country.

I have tried to shape my own involvement in the Jewish community in a similar fashion. I work with Jewish college students at GW and college students of all faiths at Georgetown; I serve on the board at the warm and inviting Kesher Israel synagogue; and I seek to set the record straight on Israel in the public sphere.

Even with all the wonderful work GTJ and other Jewish groups do, our community will fail to live up to its true calling if we forget some of our core Jewish principles about relations between man and his fellow, all of whom are created in the image of God:

  •  “The world is built on kindness.” (Psalms 89:3)
  • Greet everybody with a warm, cheerful, and pleasant countenance.” (Pirkei Avot 1:15)
  • “You…shall not bear a grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18)

Again, thank you for this honor, and I wish all of you a wonderful Shavuot holiday, as we celebrate receiving the gift of the Torah and its timeless and beautiful message.

Best wishes, and chag sameach,


Lazar’s original Jewish Guy of the Week profile 

Lazar’s finalist video





Ariana’s acceptance speech

Shalom Jewish Community of Greater Washington,

I am very honored to serve as DC Jewish Girl of the Year along with Jewish Guy of the Year Lazar. It will be my privilege to continue to gather Jewish people and spread the vital message that Israel is Forever.

It has been so wonderful making new friends in this great community. I am so touched by my many friends, old and new, near and far, who encourage me to always reach for the stars and be the best that I can be.

I look forward to welcoming you all on 5.31.12 at the DC Jewish professional’s event from 8p-midnight at Policy.


Chag Sameach,

Ariana  Michal

Ariana’s original Jewish Girl of the Week profile

Ariana’s video submission as a finalist



In Case You Missed It: Matisyahu’s Here!

Tickets are still available to see renowned Jewish rapper Matisyahu (still sans beard) here in DC! The artist will be at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue on Thursday, May 24th, as part of THE TEN, an innovative take on the Shavuot celebration.

In anticipation of the holiday, Rabbi Shira Stutman will emcee an acoustic performance by Matisyahu followed by a discussion between the hip-hop/reggae artist and The New Republic’s Frank Foer. Stay after the show for dairy delights and study sessions with Rabbi Shira.

Shavuot begins at sundown on Saturday, May 26th, and ends at sundown on Monday, May 28th.


When Do You Take Your Profile Down? – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 41)

Please note that starting in June, Erika’s dating column will run bi-weekly.  Got ideas/questions/thoughts for a future article? E-mail 

Finally – you’ve met someone online, let’s say on JDate!  You went on a first date, and you kind of liked each other.  Then you went on a second date, and you liked each other a little more.  You went on a third date, and thoughts of exclusivity started permeating your mind.  But when is it time to take down your online dating profile?  Should it be after a certain number of dates?  After you’ve had “the talk”?  After you’ve changed your Facebook status to “in a relationship” (the tell-tale sign for many people these days…)?  Or, is unsubscribing from receiving online dating site e-mails enough?

In this day and age, when virtually everything we do is online, how you portray your relationship status to the world is almost as important as the relationship itself.  No one wants to be on the receiving end of an e-mail from a friend saying, “I don’t know how to say this, but your new guy/girl is still on JDate and appears to have logged in within the last 24 hours.”  It makes your heart sink.

I’m a firm believer in e-mailing and dating many different people initially to see who’s out there.  But at some point, when you think you’ve found the right person, it might be time to scale back on your online dating life and start to enjoy your offline dating life.  When you get to that point, unfortunately, there is no predetermined protocol as to when it’s appropriate to take down your profile, but there are two pieces of common sense that you should follow:

  • Don’t log into JDate immediately after a date.  Even if you didn’t like your date, try to show some respect by not logging in until the next day.  That way, you’re not rubbing it in the other person’s face that you need to immediately check out your other options.
  • When things start to get serious with someone – even before you’ve discussed your relationship status – it’s a good idea to minimize your online dating usage to give the relationship a chance to bloom.

Many people (especially older men) continue responding to e-mails during that initial period in a relationship, perhaps saying something like:

Thanks so much for the nice e-mail.  I’ve actually “met” someone on this site, and I am going to try and concentrate and see if that can develop into a real relationship.  I can’t really handle the multiple communications.  Thanks again for writing, and good luck to you!

My question for those of you who think you’re just being polite is: Why are you still actively answering e-mails?  If you really want to see where the relationship is going, then stop logging in to your online dating account!

And finally, when you’re ready to be exclusive with someone, the only surefire way to make sure you’re both on the same page is to openly discuss taking your profile down.  Heck, you could even have a “profile deletion party” with a glass of wine in hand.  That actually sounds like a pretty fun date!  In the meantime, don’t forget these online dating profile tips.

Erika Ettin 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


Free wine, challah, ice cream, and fro-yo at the DC JCC. Friday!

From our friends at the DC JCC:


Shabbat Pre-Game
Pre-Shavuot Sundae Bar

in honor of the upcoming holiday!

Stop by after work or on your way from the gym. We’ll be in the 16th St Lobby for a quick
Glass of WineTaste of Challah,
and Ice Cream & Fro Yo Bar!

ice crea

Tomorrow Friday May 18 in the Washington DCJCC 16th Street Lobby 
5:30 – 6:30 pm
FREE, Just Stop By!

Contact Ilana Weltman at if you are looking for places to go for Shavuot services/dinner or find out at the Pre-Game!





Your 2011 Jews of the Year

I know it seems a bit odd to be crowning our 2011 Jews of the Year in May 2012…  But …  Well…  Thanks for your patience.

Many thanks to all of our competitors, and a special thanks to the Jews who made videos for the final rounds.  All finalists will receive a prize.  The Jews of the Year will receive a larger prize.

Also, thank you to our celebrated panel of judges hailing from Washington Jewish Week, DC JCC, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, Washington Hebrew Congregation, Mr. Yogato, as well as a number of critical, but unaffiliated, Jews in the DC community.

Come see our winners crowned tomorrow (Thursday) at our happy hour!

Now… finally.., the two Jews that will be joining Rachel and Uri in the history of Gather the Jews are:





























Amb. Oren lashes out at young Jewish Americans hating on Israel — AJC ACCESS 20/20

It’s spring time in DC, and that means annual events and galas.   The Jewish community is no exception.  AIPAC and J-Street had their big conferences not too many weeks ago.  And I’ve seen invitations for:

But most recently in the spotlight was the American Jewish Committee.  Approximately 1,500 Jews participated in the half week conference (May 2 – May 5), so if you’re still wondering why you saw a sudden increase in the number of kippahs around Metro Center, now you know.

The conference divided into two parts:  The AJC Global Forum and AJC ACCESS 20/20.  Global Forum boasted over 1,200 attendants, and it featured an array of policy luminaries including: Barney Frank, William Kristol, Jacob Lew, Dennis Ross, and foreign ministers from Brazil, Germany, Cyprus, and Canada.  To read summaries of the three day conference, and to watch the week’s speeches, visit this website.

Dr. Michael Oren, Ambassador of Israel to the United States. From ACCESS 20/20

I didn’t make it to Global Forum (real work always interfering!), but I did, along with 400 others from 31 different countries, attend the ACCESS 20/20 portion, the Friday through Sunday conference meant especially for young adults.

Summaries of this conference can be found here, but I’ll quickly note my two favorite parts:

  1. Seeing the look of shock on a co-attendant’s face when she saw me and exclaimed:  “You’re wearing a suit!  I’ve never seen you wear anything but basketball shorts and a hoodie.”  Too true I’m afraid.  But I’m from the west.  That’s how we roll.
  2. Listening to Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren deliver the keynote speech.

The first point doesn’t merit any further discussion, and it probably didn’t deserve to be brought up in the first place, but I’m writing this quickly, and the backspace key slows me down!

The second point does deserve more detail.

Oren’s speech – I strongly encourage you to read it here – didn’t tiptoe around egg shells.  He targeted – bluntly and successfully – the Jewish American youth who are content to sit in the safety of the United States while working to undermine Israel as alleged punishment for the measures Israel has taken to defend itself.

“I was shocked, then, that on the very day that I spoke with my kids about their concerns in Israel, some American Jews were discussing a call to boycott products made by Israeli settlements in the West Bank,” he said.

“But what most struck me—not as an ambassador but as an Israeli and as an Israeli father, was the fact that, on the same day that my son was worrying about his raw recruits and my daughter about rockets in Beersheva, a portion of the American Jewish community was debating whether or not to buy Ahava hand products.”

Peter Beinart's new book. From Amazon.

The speech is especially powerful coming on the heels of Peter Beinart’s new book The Crisis of Zionism, in which Beinart argues that young American Jews are becoming detached from, or hostile to, Israel due to the immorality of the state and the Jewish U.S.-based institutions that support it.

Criticism of Israel, Oren argues, is certainly welcome, but at the same time, unity of the Jewish people is needed, and there are a few lines which the pro-Israel person must never cross.

When I grew up in this country, the slogan of the United Jewish Appeal was “We are One.” Today, that same logo is more likely to raise eyebrows than funds.

No doubt, a majority of American Jews care deeply about the security of Israel and oppose those seeking to undermine it. And even some of those calling for boycotts do so out of a sense of caring—I’d say misplaced sense of caring—about Israel.

And yet, sometimes it seems that we, Israelis and American Jews, not only inhabit different countries but different universes, different realities.

Professor Steven M. Cohen. Hebrew Union College.

It’s unknown just how many young American Jews could desperately do with a dose of Oren’s medicine.  Beinart, who sees young American Jews as drifting away from Israel, points to a study by Steven Cohen (NYU) and Ari Kelman (UC Davis) who said that “non-Orthodox younger Jews, on the whole, feel much less attached to Israel than their elders.”  Those scholars asserted that only 54% of non-orthodox Jews under 35 are “comfortable with the idea of a Jewish state” (as compared to more than 80% of non-orthodox Jews over 65).  Another poll found that only 20% of young Jews labeled themselves as “highly attached” to Israel (Slate).

But there are other studies that come to drastically different conclusions.  The American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise and The Israel Project recently released a survey of 400 American Jewish college students which found that:

  • 90% agree that Israel is the spiritual center of the Jewish people.
  • 83% said caring about Israel is an important part of being Jewish.
  • 73% said American and Israeli Jews share a common destiny.
  • 89% have warm/favorable feelings toward Israel.
  • 78% sympathize with Israel vis-a-vis the Palestinians.
  • 84% think America should support Israel.

(Mitchell Bard, The Jerusalem Post)

Perhaps we’ll do a little poll of our own here at Gather the Jews.  But in the meantime, read Oren’s speech and give it some thought.

The views in this article are Stephen Richer’s individual opinions and do not represent a GTJ institutional stance.


From Bad to Worse, Photo Edition – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (week 40)

Starting today, I’ll be writing an article once every few months called “From Bad to Worse,” showing actual photos, profiles, or e-mails from various online dating sites that are too good (as in, too awful) not to show.  This week’s topic?  Photos.

By now, we should all know the five rules of thumb for photos:

  1. Less is more
  2. Have at least one clear “face” photo
  3. Be by yourself in the shot
  4. Have one photo where you’re doing something interesting
  5. Be accurate

Even if you don’t follow the rules above, some photos should never make it onto your online dating profile.  All of the photos below miss the mark.

I spy a fanny pack… and how many years ago was this taken??  Is this the ‘80s?

Does that say 1997 in the corner????

Am I going out with him???

Really?  She’s looking for a serious relationship with those hanging out?  I’m sure she’ll get some upstanding guys.

The mirror picture’s a no no… at least he has his shirt on!

And my personal favorite:

Did I mention she’s 73?

In online dating, making a good first impression is key.  People can easily pass over your profile if they don’t immediately see something they like.  And a recent study confirmed what we already know, that men are extremely visual, and look mainly at the photos and less at the profile itself.  So choose wisely!

If you’d like to contribute any photos/profiles you find or e-mails you (or friends) receive to “From Bad to Worse,” please e-mail

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


GTJ staff member, Michael Lipin, pulled off quite the public dance party this past weekend. Hundreds of people gathered at Dance in the Circle on May 13th, to see nine dance troupes perform on a stage in Dupont Circle… and even dance themselves.

Michael Lipin — Dance Party Organizer Extraordinaire

After a wide range of dance styles were featured — from clogging to hiphop — the evening wrapped up with an open hour of dance, including lights, speakers blasting, and massive audience participation.

The crowd gathers

“The Circle almost had the feel of a night club, but with everyone invited – especially the moms, who got some special shout-outs from the MC in honor of Mother’s Day,” Lipin told GTJ.

Co-organizer and design director Alex Emmerman in action on the Dupont Circle fountain as part of Hoop Dance DC’s performance

“Dance in the Circle was a personal dream of mine, given my passion for dance,” he said, “but its success was the result of excellent teamwork, particularly with my fellow-volunteers Daniel Kramer and Alex Emmerman. Daniel had been working with me on the planning of DITC since April 2011, while Alex came on board last December and did an amazing job as DITC graphic designer and webmaster.”

Yala Fitness leading the crowd in their energized dance fitness program

“In producing DITC, we all experienced ups & downs, but we were determined enough to overcome the obstacles. A key to the success of the event was building a broad coalition of supporters in the community, from non-profit groups like Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets and the Dupont Circle Citizens Association, to local businesses such as Attache Property Management and BGR The Burger Joint, and even DC Councilmember Jack Evans,” Lipin added.

According to event organizers, some 500 people turned out for the event during the day. The event had been postponed from its original date on April 21st due to inclement weather, but Sunday’s warm weather attracted many passers-by. The event was such a bit hit, it caught the attention of the Washington Times.

For more pictures, click here.

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