Drop Off Supplies for those Affected by Hurricane Sandy TONIGHT

A week after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast and with an imminent nor’easter set to hit later this week, thousands in New York and New Jersey are still without electricity and heat.  Jewish communities across the country have taken action.  Now you can too.

Be a part of the relief effort.  Drop off canned food and gently used winter clothing at Mesorah DC’s Cafe Nite at Sixth&I from 7 to 10 pm.  Everything will then be trucked to New York tomorrow.










Rabbi Shlomo Buxbaum

Name: Rabbi Shlomo Buxbaum

Congregation/Organization: Aish DC

Location: Rockville/Bethesda

Denomination: Outreach/Educational

Ordained From: Aish HaTorah Jerusalem

Programs/Services you run/offer: One-on-one learning, Wednesday night “Whiskey, Wine, and Wisdom”, Music and Mysticism,  Carlebach/Instructional Shabbat Services, Friday night dinners, etc.

Specialty within Judaism: Bringing out the meaning, relevance, spirituality, energy, vitality, and fun in Judaism.  Jamming to the music of Judaism.

One Jewish DC event that you recommend: Friday night at the Buxbaums!  Great food and great company… family style!

Hobbies: Playing guitar, performing and singing spiritual Jewish music with other musicians and music lovers.  Meeting new, creative, and interesting people.  Meditating.  A good L’chaim.

Fun fact about you: I starred in a Jewish spoof of Grease at the Denver Center for performing arts.  It was called “Shmaltz”.  I sang, danced, and even greased my hair!

Contact: 301-448-6153,



Shout Out to the Reporters – Gather the News – 10/31

Hurricane Gather!

  • All joking and Gangnam Style rain dance memes aside, Hurricane Sandy pounded the east coast- our hearts go out to those who are still without power and  those who have rebuild their homes, businesses, and lives.

GTJ Leadership Team Meeting!

Ever want to impact the world, but you weren’t quite sure how?  Well, we can’t promise you the world, but we can promise you the DC Jewish community!

Come join us for the GTJ Leadership Team Meeting and be a part of Gather the Jews.  We’ll be meeting at  1729 Swann Street NW  on Sunday, November 11 at 8 pm and the meeting will last about an hour.  There will also be kosher snacks!

Grab a friend, and come help us gather!







ADL’s In Concert Against Hate Honors Four “Ordinary” Heroes

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.   ADL’s 2013 Concert Against Hate will be a featured event in the celebration of ADL’s Centennial.  For more information about the Concert please visit

On Monday, October 15th the Anti-Defamation League honored four heroes in the fight against hate and intolerance at The 18th Annual ADL In Concert Against Hate at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.  The event annually recognizes individuals for extraordinary acts of courage in confronting intolerance, injustice, extremism and terrorism.  This year’s Concert featured celebrity hosts Jeff Daniels of HBO’s The Newsroom and Madeleine Stowe of ABC’s Revenge.  Daniels and Stowe narrated the stories of this year’s honorees – Irene Fogel Weiss, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, Police Officer Moira Ann Smith, and Amardeep Singh Kaleka – interspersed with music from the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Emil de Cou.  The evening also featured 2012 Concert Patron Chairs Dr. Tina Alster and Mr. Paul Frazer.

The event was attended by over 2,000 community members from the Washington, DC region and by philanthropic and civil rights leaders from across the country.  This year’s Concert focused on the stories of four “ordinary” people whose extraordinary struggles against hatred and extremism were captured in iconic photographs:

The Concert opened with the story of Irene Fogel Weiss, a Holocaust survivor who, at thirteen, was deported to Auschwitz by the Nazis.  Years later she would learn that her arrival at Auschwitz and the fate of her parents and five siblings had been captured in photographs taken by the Nazis.

ADL also honored Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, a Freedom Rider and civil rights activist who participated in the sit-in at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Jackson, Mississippi in May of 1963.  The photograph of a mob surrounding the three sit-in protesters is regarded as one of the most iconic images of the Civil Rights Movement.

Police Officer Moira Ann Smith, who is credited with saving the lives of hundreds of people at the World Trade Center on September 11th, was also honored.  For her bravery, she was posthumously awarded the New York City Police Department’s Medal of Honor.  Her husband, Retired Police Officer James Smith, and thirteen year-old daughter, Patricia Mary Smith, accepted the award on her behalf.

The evening concluded by honoring Amardeep Singh Kaleka.  On August 5, 2012, a white supremacist attacked the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, killing six people, including the temple’s founder, Satwant Singh Kaleka.  As the tragedy unfolded, and in the days and weeks that followed, Satwant Singh Kaleka’s son, Amardeep, emerged as the voice of the Sikh community of Oak Creek.

ADL In Concert Against Hate is ADL’s flagship fundraiser for the Washington, DC region, which includes the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina.  The event raised close to $850,000, funding ADL’s programs to combat bigotry, hatred, and extremism throughout the region.



Indian Spice Hummus

Trapped inside by Sandy, I looked to my pantry for this week’s recipe and found chick peas!  Two of my favorite chick pea dishes are hummus and the Indian staple, chana masala.  With apologies to the hummus purists out there, I decided to combine the two.  My tasters deemed my culinary fusion a success!

Total time: 50 minutes, plus soaking time

Yield: 8 servings

Level: Easy


  • 1 cup dried chick peas
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp amchoor powder*
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp salt, or more to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp tahini


  1. Place chick peas in a pot and soak in water for at least 30 minutes.  Drain and rinse the chick peas.  Repeat.  After rinsing the chick peas the second time, refill pot with water and boil for approximately 40 minutes, until the chick peas are soft.  Remove chick peas from pot, reserving cooking liquid, and place in a food processor.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to food processor.  Process to combine.  Add cooking water by ¼-cupfuls and process until desired consistency.

*Amchoor is mango powder.  It can be found in specialty/spice stores.  Or, you can add extra lemon juice.

© Courtney Weiner.  All Rights Reserved.




GTJ October Happy Hour Postponed

Due to the impending Frankenstorm, the GTJ October Happy Hour is being postponed.  We will announce the new date as soon as possible.  In the mean time, stay safe and enjoy this Youtube video:




Make an Impact with the Second Annual Impact DC!

The second annual Impact DC is on Thursday, November 15, 2012, 8:00 p.m. at The Howard Theatre, 620 T Street NW, Washington, DC.  A $50 couvert and a $100 minimum gift to The Federation’s 2012 Annual Campaign and can be bought at  Cocktail attire.

Young Leadership of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is hosting a night that celebrates the next generation’s dedication to leadership, charitable giving and, volunteerism.  This is a generation of leaders who are shaping the future of our Jewish community.  Individually they make an impact; together they will change the world.

At this second annual event, Impact DC’s hundreds of attendees will have the opportunity to show how they make an impact in the community and will network and engage with other young adults who are making a difference in the Greater Washington area’s Jewish community.

Impact DC Co-Chair Andrew Friedson said, “An effective Jewish Federation is integral to a thriving Jewish community, and engaging young leadership is key to sustaining that strength. I’m honored to co-chair this event to celebrate our generation’s impact on the community today and to inspire continued and increased involvement tomorrow.”

“Impact DC serves as a platform to showcase our generation’s young leaders who are passionate about leaving a strong Jewish legacy. As co-chair, my hope is that through this year’s event, which will be held at the historic and newly renovated Howard Theatre, Federation will be able to embrace and inspire Jewish professionals with fresh ideas looking to strengthen their connection to our community,”  stated Impact DC Co-Chair Ariana Heideman.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington cares for those in need, deepens engagement in Jewish life and strengthens the bonds among Jews in the Greater Washington area, in Israel and around the world. With more than 42 local partner agencies, The Federation offers opportunities to make an impact in our community – whatever inspires you, the Federation has a program to help you make the world a better place.

Impact DC Co-Chair Jessica Sher concludes, “November 15th will be a night to celebrate what we, as a community of Jewish young professionals, have accomplished so far and challenge one another to continue to make an even greater impact. IMPACT DC recognizes those in our community committed to building a vibrant Jewish community through philanthropy.”


The Green Line is the New Red Line

Last month, I discussed the dramatic effect that the influx of young professionals into the District has had on our local real estate market.  This month, let’s shift our focus to the equally remarkable effects of the migration of young professionals and development dollars within the district on the property values and the lifestyle amenities available in many reemerging Washington neighborhoods.

It doesn’t require forty years of wandering (or wondering!) to understand the exodus of young professionals from upper NW DC to neighborhoods farther east.  When I was shopping for a condo in 2003, I looked at a unit in Logan Circle but decided that the area was “not ready for prime time” and was therefore too risky of an investment.  Since 2003, home values in Logan Circle have soared 60% and Logan has become one of the city’s most desirable locales.  A few more investment decisions like that and I might be joining Big Bird in the unemployment line!  What I failed to realize at that time was that the waves of young professionals that were continuing to stream into DC had to live somewhere and housing in Upper NW was simply becoming too expensive.  Just like air flowing from an area of high pressure to one of low pressure, over the past ten years young professionals and development dollars have increasingly flowed east within the city seeking to find and profit from more affordable housing options.  This infusion of youth and capital has brought with it a renewed focus on modern urban design – emphasizing transit-oriented development, sustainable building, and increased access to retail , nightlife, and community resources – to some of DC’s most historic and beautiful neighborhoods*.


With 32% of all new 18-to-34-year-old households in the District since 2000** concentrated within ¼ mile of its stations, the tremendous growth around the Green Line is representative of the eastward migration of young professionals and development dollars as well as the District’s efforts to foster the growth of “Live, Play, Work” communities throughout the city.  Here are three Green Line neighborhoods that have seen and will continue to see dramatic changes to their look, feel, and property values:


Petworth (20011)
• Between 2009 and 2011, four major residential and commercial developments delivered near the Georgia Avenue/Petworth Metrorail station.  Park Place (161 apartments and 17,000 sq. ft. of retail space), Residences at Georgia Avenue (72 apartments and a 11,500 square foot Yes! Organic Market), The Griffin (49 apartments), and 3Tree Flats (130 apartments) have created a new neighborhood center.  Furthermore, Safeway is planning to replace its current 21,000 square foot store with 220 residential units above a modern 62,000 square foot grocery store.***

Shaw (20001)
• Home to the 2.3 million sq. ft. Washington Convention Center that hosted 204 events and more than one million people in 2011.  The historic Howard Theater recently reopened after a $24 million renovation.  Cultural investment has also been made with the opening of the new, award-winning, Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library and new public art throughout the neighborhood.  CityMarket at O Street, a $260 million development, promises to be the neighborhood’s new epicenter in 2013 and will be anchored by a 72,000 square foot flagship Giant Food supermarket, a 182-room Cambria Suites Hotel, 626 residential units and 560 parking spaces.  The 1,167-room Marriott Marquis convention center hotel is under construction and scheduled to open in 2014.***

Southwest Waterfront (20024)
• The openings of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the newly expanded Arena Stage and the new 55,000 square foot Safeway are just part of the cultural, hospitality, and retail offerings that enhance the urban vitality of this rapidly developing neighborhood.  The master plan for The Wharf ( includes 1,200 residential units, 400,000 square feet of office space, 200,000 square feet of retail space, 625 hotel rooms, 100,000 square feet of cultural space, a 400?–?500 slip marina, 12 acres of open space and 1,900?–?3,050 parking spaces.  The project will be a part of the USGBC’s LEED Neighborhood Development program and the first LEED-Gold certified mixed-use project in DC.  Phase I is expected to start in late 2012.***

*While this has resulted in tremendous property value increases and investment returns for early movers, it is important to note that the changes that have already occurred and those that are planned in the near future have had and will continue to have very real and not always positive repercussions for long-time residents of these areas. A recent study examining housing trends found that the ZIP codes covering Shaw, Ledroit Park, Bloomingdale, Columbia Heights, Mt. Pleasant, and Logan Circle are three of the top twenty fastest gentrifying ZIP codes in the entire country.
**GreenPrint of Growth, January 12, 2012 by RCLCO.
*** Source: Washington DC Economic Partnership (


David Abrams, a new GTJ contributing columnist, is a native of the Washington DC Metropolitan Area.  He received his M.B.A. from Emory University in 2009 and currently works as a realtor specializing in DC’s emerging neighborhoods with the BergerSandler+ team ( at Evers & Company Real Estate.  David is licensed in DC, MD, & VA.


How Lung Cancer Led Me to GTJ


My mom and I when I was 9, and in my tom-boy phase.

Support GTJ’s Sara and Rachel as they walk in memory of their mothers at Breathe Deep DC, an event to promote lung cancer research.

The doctors diagnosed my mom with lung cancer when I was sixteen years old.  It was May of my junior year of high school- by August she was gone.  At the time, I did not know that every 2.5 minutes someone in the US is diagnosed with lung cancer, and that every 3 minutes someone in the US dies from lung cancer.  At that time, I did not know that the 5-year survival rate for lung cancer is only 16.3%, and that number goes down to 3.5% when the cancer is found after it has already spread to other organs as my mom’s had.

My mom was the type of mom who knew all my friends.  She knew who was dating who, who was upset with who, and who had done something embarrassing that weekend.  My senior year of high school, between my friends, their families, my youth group, and my teachers, I had an amazing support group.  That changed when I went to college and all my friends went off to different schools;  I struggled through my first year of college.  On the outside, I still had stellar grades and was a social butterfly, but I could not come to terms with my loss.  I tried grief counseling and talking to a therapist, but none of it really helped.

It was not until I found the Chabad house at the University of Delaware did I finally start feeling more like myself.  Although I went to Hebrew school until my bat mitzvah and joined a Jewish youth group, my family celebrated both Chanukah and Christmas and led a mostly secular life.  Despite my secular lifestyle, I was craving a Jewish connection, thinking it would connect me more to my mom and comfort me in her loss.  At first I was wary of Chabad: they were much more religious than I was used to.  However, the summer after my sophomore year I went on a birthright trip led by the Chabad rabbi.  I had an amazing time learning about Israel and being around my Jewish peers, but it was my visit to the Kotel that changed the course of my life.

I was filled with apprehension as I slowly approached the Wall, but as soon as I touched the stone a feeling of calm swept over me.  In that moment I knew, that although things in my life were not going as I had imagined and although I still struggled with the loss of my mother, that everything was going to be okay.  While I still think about my mom every day, after my trip to the Kotel, I decided it was time to be the strong, resilient, and independent young woman my mother raised me to be and to take charge of my life.  I still craved a Jewish connection, and over the next two years I spent my Friday afternoons at the Chabad house helping prepare for Shabbat and serving on the Chabad board.  The rabbi’s family became close friends, and my rebbetzin at Delaware has been one of the most influential people in my life the past few years.

So how did lung cancer lead me to Gather the Jews?  The loss of my mom and my subsequent journey for a Jewish connection led me to the Chabad house at the University of Delaware.  As fate would have it, one Shabbat my senior year, Aaron Wolff came back to his alma mater for a visit and we sat across from each other at the Chabad house.  I told Aaron that I was looking for jobs in the international relations field, and he assured me as we exchanged emails that he knew people to put me in touch with.  When I emailed him the next week, he responded with quite a different idea: Gather the Jews was hiring.  Finding a Jewish connection was a turning point in my life, and I loved the idea of helping others find their connection whether it be through services, sports, or social events.  I applied for the job, and a few weeks later I found out I had been chosen as Gather the Jews’ Director of Operations.

Losing my mom has been the most influential experience of my life.  At first I let myself play the victim, thinking of all the moments and events in my future the cancer had ruined when it took my mom.  After my trip to the Kotel, I realized that life is what you make it.  I have decided to live my life to the fullest and take advantage of every opportunity.  This mindset has led me to some of the best experiences in my life, as well as to my first job at Gather the Jews.



George Bluth, Sr., MOT? – Gather the News – 10/24

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to gather we go…

  • Rockets and mortars from Gaza have been raining down on southern Israel since Tuesday night.  The IDF has already responded with a counter-strike.  This comes after Netanyahu told Tony Blair on Monday that Israel will continue to attack groups that fire on her citizens, referring to an attack on a routine IDF patrol.
  • Activist Anat Hoffman was arrested at the Kotel while leading a women’s prayer service.  It is illegal for women to pray at the Wall while wearing a tallit or tefillin, and for women to read from the Torah at the Wall.  Hoffman’s organization, Women of the Wall, organizes a women’s service once a month for Rosh Chodesh at the Kotel.
  • A new study reports that 97% of US and Canadian college campuses report no anti-Israel or anti-Semitic events…Yay!

Why Jews Should Care About Questions 4 and 6

This is a personal opinion piece by a member of the community and does not reflect the institutional positions of Gather the Jews.  Sarah Brammer-Shlay is a  Community Organizer and Avodah Corps Member at Jews United for Justice.  


On Election Day, in addition to the Presidential seat, Marylanders will be voting on several different ballot questions.  Jews United for Justice is organizing the Jewish community, heading up the Dream for Equality campaign, and working to uphold Questions 4 (Maryland DREAM Act) and 6 (Civil Marriage Protection Act) which focus on tuition equity for undocumented students and marriage equality for the GLBT community.  So why should we as Jews care about either of these issues and why should you sign up for a volunteer shift to ensure that Marylanders vote for justice?

As Jews, we were all immigrants.

We understand what it is like to be a stranger in a foreign land.  Our families often traveled difficult journeys to make it to this country and, for many Jews, our immigration stories are unclear because of our long and complex immigrations.  Check out David Cohen’s article previously published in the Jerusalem Post on why current immigration issues are Jewish issues.

Most of our parents saw college as the necessary next step.

Education plays such a huge role in the rhetoric of so many Jewish communities and homes.  In my home, college was not a question; from a young age, I was raised with the expectation that, after high school, I would attend college without question.  Undocumented students who have graduated from Maryland high schools and worked hard are missing the opportunity to attend college because the difference in cost between in-state and out-of-state tuition is simply too steep.  Check out the stories of many DREAMers and why voting FOR Question 4 is so important.

Marriage has too often been used in discriminatory ways.

Interracial marriages were not allowed in the United States until 1967.  Banning marriage between Jews and non-Jews was one of the first Nuremberg Laws passed in Nazi Germany.  In our society, marriage is a way to show your friends, family, and community the commitment you wish to share with an individual.  Marriage has a special meaning in our society, and marrying the person one loves means something in a way that civil unions and domestic partnerships do not.  Baltimore Ravens’ Brendon Ayanbadejo takes this stance when he speaks out in support of marriage equality.

Sarah Silverman likes marriage equality.

Our lovely, politically active Jewish friend Sarah Silverman is a major advocate of marriage equality.  In fact, Sarah Silverman has said that she will not marry until Gay and Lesbian couples also have the right to marriage.

Sign up to phone bank and canvass with Jews United for Justice and reach out to Maryland voters to ensure tuition equity for undocumented students who have invested in the state of Maryland and to end marriage discrimination towards same-sex couples!


Helpful Tips for a Great First Date – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 52)

There are some surefire ways to turn off a first date – having your cell phone out on the table, drinking excessively, or being rude to the wait staff – to name a few.  But just as important as knowing what not to do is knowing what to do on a first date to increase your chances of making it to the all-important second date.

1. Ask questions

Before I met Jeremy, I went on so many dates where the guy talked the entire time.  Even if I tried to get a word in edgewise, the conversation somehow had its own way of settling on him again.  I know the art of asking questions, but sadly, some people don’t.  I remember one date in particular with a guy we’ll call Paul.  It wasn’t until the check came for our drinks that he said, “Oh, so tell me about you.”  At that point, I was already turned off.  Conversations are a give and take, especially on a first date, so remember to ask some thoughtful questions.

2. Be optimistic and happy

It’s important to have a good attitude on a date, even if your happy face is only covering up the fact that this is your third date this week, and the rest have been, well, sub-par.  People smell negativity, and it creates an unpleasant aura on a date.  In other words, try not to be “J-Jaded,” and if you are, fake it ‘til you make it.  (Or, take a Guyatus, or Girlatus, from dating until you’re really ready to get back out there.)  A simple smile goes a long way.

3. Discuss issues that are important to you

I’m not talking about politics or anything, but if there’s something that you’re passionate about, it’s going to come out sooner rather than later, so it might as well be sooner.  A lot of my female clients worry that a guy will judge her for her interests.  One in particular takes a pottery-making class.  She was concerned that a guy might find that lame and grandma-like.  My response: Who cares?  It’s what you like to do, so own it.  If a guy couldn’t handle that I like doing my daily crossword puzzle, religiously watching Glee, and reading the occasional US Weekly (ok, ok – I read it every week), then he wouldn’t be getting the whole package.  (Lucky for me, Jeremy doesn’t mind… and he even helps me with the last few clues of the puzzle when I can’t get them.  As for Glee, I’m on my own with that one.)

4. Walk her where she’s going

Generally, it’ll be dark out by the time you end your date, especially as we enter fall and winter.  Men, it’s important to walk your date to where she’s going – her car, the entrance to the train station, or home.  Even if it’s not a love connection, let chivalry be alive and well.

Much of a first date is less about the actual words you say and more about your attitude.  Are you listening, being nice, and making the effort?  These things go a long way.  Even if you’re perfect for each other on paper, the attitude makes all the difference.

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.  Check out her interview on NPR here. 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


More GTJ Stars in Mainstream Media

In the past, we’ve featured GTJ staff member Michael Lipin‘s hit columns for Voice of America (see, for example, his pieces on the Christian community in Nazareth, Ground Zero, and Hurricane Irene). His latest piece hits a little closer to home, as he interviews none other than former Jewish Guy of the Year finalist/aerospace engineer/Mr. Yogato owner/advice columnist, Steve Davis. Check out the video below!

Reminder: Steve Davis will also be speaking this week, along with GTJ’s fabulous dating columnist, Erika Ettin, at a Sixth & I panel on turning their passions into successful small businesses.



Snoop Dog a Member of the Tribe? – Gather the News – 10/17

Oh a gathering we will go…

  • David Meir Grossman of Jewcy discusses Rick Ross’ decision to title his latest album The Black Bar Mitzvah.
  • Is Snoop interested in becoming one of the chosen people?  We’re not sure, but in a new commercial for Hot Pockets he rocks a blinged out Star of David.


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