I’m Thankful for Technology – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 54)

Every Thanksgiving, my family has a tradition (as I’m sure many others do) of going around the table and listing what we’re thankful for this year.  It’s a wonderful ritual and allows us to reiterate how amazing family is and how life would not be the same without each other.  I couldn’t ask for a more poignant way to show my thanks.

This year, of course I am thankful for my parents, sister, and Jeremy, who have supported me through thick and thin, even when I told them that I was quitting my job in economics to start my own business.  (Though, I have to say, my parents were a lot more supportive after they learned that I had bought myself good health insurance… that’s what parents are for, right?)  But this year, I am thankful for something else as well – technology.  In this day and age, we can do anything with technology: read a book without flipping a single page, text a friend to let him know we’re running late, look at all of our ex’s Facebook pictures (wait a minute… that’s not advised!), and even find a date.

In our parents’ and grandparents’ generations, it wasn’t quite as simple as:

  1. Sign up for JDate.
  2. E-mail some people.
  3. Meet for a drink.

My parents were next-door neighbors.  My mom was a teacher, and my dad was home from law school for the summer.  (She was five and a half years older than he was!)  She always saw this guy next door looking out the upstairs window while he appeared to be studying and wondered who he was… and whether or not he was Jewish.  One day, my dad’s brother said hello as she came out of her apartment.  She asked who he was, and he told her that he lived next door.  She said, “No – that other guy lives next door,” and my uncle informed her that he was the “other guy’s” brother.  My mom, chutzpah and all, then said, “I don’t normally do things like this, but would you and your brother like to come with my friend and me to a concert tonight?”  The whole night, my mom didn’t know who she was supposed to be with – my uncle or my dad.  At the end of the night, my uncle said to my mom, “I’ll call you.”  Scandal of all scandals, my dad beat him to the punch and called my mom first.  (It was all good.  My uncle was only in town visiting.)  And the rest is history.  In March, they will have been married for 33 years.

As a side note, when my mom was trying to determine whether the brothers were Jewish, she asked my uncle what his last name was.  When she heard “Ettin,” she asked what kind of name it was, and heard my uncle’s response as “Sicilian.”  Surprised, she asked, “Sicilian?”  He responded, “No, it’s silly.”  :)

Let’s compare that to my experience.  I signed up for JDate.  I went on lots of dates.  I e-mailed Jeremy.  (Yep – I e-mailed him first.)  He responded two weeks later.  (I still make fun of him about that.)  Some witty banter and calendar-matching later, we had a date.  And the rest is history.

So this Thanksgiving, in addition to being thankful for my wonderful friends and family, my health, the success of my business and my clients’ relationships, I am also thankful for the technology we have that allows us to meet the person of our dreams, one click at a time.

Feel free to comment on this post with your parents’ meeting story!

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.



Marriage Equality and the Maryland DREAM Act: A Campaign Won by Volunteers

Jews United for Justice volunteers Julie Blum and Daniel Zinn covering polls on Election Day!

Sarah Brammer-Shlay is a Community Organizer and Avodah Corps Member at Jews United for Justice.  The views in this piece are her own and do not represent a GTJ institutional stance.

History was made in our backyard last week. Maryland became the first state to ever win at the ballot box on the issue of tuition equity for undocumented students and, along with Maine and Washington, legalized same-sex marriage by popular vote for the first time ever in the United States.

Gay marriage and immigration are often thought of as two issues where people have strong, firm, and unmovable opinions. Although for some this might be true, education and conversation proved to be key in winning these two civil rights victories.

Jews United for Justice’s “Dream for Equality” campaign worked through the summer and fall to uphold Questions 4 and 6. We worked in order to ensure that Maryland became a more just and inclusive state for immigrants and the GLBT community. Hard work proved that education, conversation, and persistence are vital in creating social change. Volunteers from the Maryland/DC Jewish community reached out to thousands of Maryland voters, specifically Jewish voters, to talk to them about why as Jews they care about these issues.

This election was unique for Maryland. There were seven ballot questions on the ballot in a state accustomed to having few or none. Many voters became overwhelmed by the amount of issues they would be voting on in November and therefore were not always well versed in the issues of marriage equality and tuition equity. Even on Election Day, JUFJ volunteers stood outside of election polls talking to and educating voters on the language of the ballot questions and the importance of voting for Questions 4 and 6.

Marylanders voted to uphold the Maryland DREAM Act and marriage equality in last week’s election, siding with fairness and equality. By passing Question 4, Maryland now provides the opportunity  to pay in-state tuition to undocumented students whose parents have paid taxes for the past three years and have graduated from a Maryland high school.  Question 6 ended marriage discrimination towards same-sex couples, allowing gay and lesbian couples to obtain civil marriages. Maryland should be proud and our country should be proud.

As a community organizer from Jews United for Justice, I want to thank all of the volunteers who worked so hard on this campaign and helped make history! JUFJ collectively called roughly 7,260 voters, knocked on 800 doors and raised over $6,000 for organizations involved in both questions. Numbers like this do not happen without countless volunteers and long hours put in. Thank you so much.


Pumpkin Blintzes

Blintzes are a traditional favorite—most often seen in cheese or berry flavors.  But there’s no reason you couldn’t play with the filling a bit to update it or make it seasonal.  I decided to try it with pumpkin.  I will admit that making the crepe part takes a bit of practice, and you shouldn’t expect the end result to look like the ones from the box, but they’re still a pretty and delicious brunch treat for fall.  Top with maple syrup.  (Adapted from a NY Times recipe.)

Total time: 1 hour

Yield: about 15 blintzes

Level: Difficult



  • ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg


  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cup milk
  • 4 eggs, well beaten
  • Butter for frying


  1. Stir all filling ingredients together in a small bowl until well blended.  Set aside.
  2. Sift together flour and salt.  (You can do this by stirring with a whisk.)  Stir the milk into the eggs and gradually add to the flour mixture.  Beat until smooth.
  3. Heat a 7” skillet over medium heat and lightly butter it.  When it is very hot, pour some batter into skillet, tilting the pan very quickly to just cover the bottom surface as thin as possible, and rapidly pour back any excess into bowl.  When the batter starts curling away from the side of the pan, it’s done.  Quickly shake or lift it out onto a clean paper towel.  Repeat until all crepes are done.  Cover with plastic wrap or damp dish towel until you are ready to use them to keep them from drying out.  You may have to adjust the temperature of the skillet as you go and wipe out the old butter if it starts to brown.
  4. Place a spoonful of the filling on the lower third of the cooked side of a crepe.  Fold the bottom of the crepe up, then fold the sides in, and roll to the top.  Repeat with the remaining crepes.
  5. Place blintzes on a hot, buttered frying pan and fry until golden brown, turning once.

© Courtney Weiner.  All Rights Reserved.


Veterans Day: An Interview with Rabbi Resnicoff, Honored Military Chaplain

Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff’s service in the U.S. military spanned from being a line officer in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam to Special Assistant to the Secretary and Chief-of-Staff of the U.S. Air Force during the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Along the way, Rabbi Resnicoff has been a leading voice for interfaith values, interreligious affairs, and veterans affairs- the retired U.S. Navy Chaplain was among the small group of Vietnam veterans who helped establish the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and offered the closing prayer at its dedication 30 years ago.  He sat down with historian Jason Steinhauer to discuss his military career, current interfaith work, and what Veterans Day means to him.

Hear Rabbi Resnicoff’s story of military service online in the Library of Congress Veterans History Project collection.

Jason: What does it mean to you to be a veteran of the U.S. military?

Rabbi Resnicoff:There are many ways to serve our country.  I think veterans can take special pride in the fact that they have literally put their lives on the line for our nation.  It’s like the story of the pig and the chicken who see a restaurant sign advertising “ham and eggs” as the daily special.  The chicken is afraid, but the pig says to her, “All they want from you is a contribution.  From me, they want total commitment.”  I take pride in the fact that I was among a group of men and women who responded to the call for total commitment.

No action gives me more pride than the fact that I was part of the small group of Vietnam veterans who fought to create the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  That Memorial was created as a place for all Americans, regardless of their feelings about the war, to come together to mourn our dead- and in so doing, to salute those veterans who had come home, but who brought with them the physical and emotional scars of that war.

The wall has become for me the closest thing we have in America to the Kotel.  It is a place for prayer, for memories, and for dreams.

Jason: How has your military service as a Chaplain and life’s work as a Rabbi informed each other?

Rabbi Resnicoff: I sometimes considered leaving the military to look for a position in a synagogue.  My belief that Judaism could really be a “light unto the nations” kept me in the chaplaincy.  I took pride in the fact that I was not only helping others, I was helping them as a Jew, and as a rabbi, drawing from the wisdom and humanity of my faith.  I took pride in the fact that my rabbinic training helped me bring a “Jewish voice” to the table.

Jason: Tell us about the projects you’re currently working on.

Rabbi Resnicoff: I’m involved in a number of projects linked to remembering, and drawing lessons learned from past events with upcoming anniversaries.

I am working to make February 2, 2013 “Four Chaplains Day” because it falls one day before the day when four Army chaplains- one Jewish, two Protestant, and one Catholic- each gave up his life jacket to save someone else when the ship they were on was torpedoed during WWII.

I am also working in various ways to ensure we remember the October 23, 2013, the 30th anniversary of the Beirut barracks bombing- the first modern suicide attack against Americans.  I was present in Beirut that day and worked side-by-side with U.S. Chaplains to help our wounded, regardless of religion.

Jason: What do you think is important for young Jewish professionals to know about Jewish military service?

Rabbi Resnicoff: Most Jews know about the Biblical verse from Isaiah that teaches we should beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks.  There is another prophetic verse, from Joel, that teaches that we must sometimes beat our plowshares into swords, and our pruning hooks into spears.  We must keep the dream alive, but must understand there still may be times we are called upon to fight to help make those dreams possible.

I salute my fellow veterans who stood up in a special way, and I thank every man and woman who refuses to give up hope.  Jews must believe that there is hope in the future, and that each of us can help bring a time of peace closer through the way we live our lives.



Negative Nellies Need Not Apply – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 53)

Have you ever read those profiles where the person sounds intelligent and generally interesting… until that fateful last line?  I’ve seen them all:

  • Cowboys fans need not apply.
  • If you’re looking for a fling, look the other way.
  • No drama, please!
  • If you’re into country music, forget about it.
  • If you’re a cat-lover, move right along.
  • Don’t write to me if you’re not looking for a serious relationship.
  • Douche bags need not apply!  (Taken from someone’s actual profile… I can’t make this stuff up.)

In doing a quick search of for men ages 25-40 within 20 miles of 20001 (my zip code), I found that 36 men used the expression “need not apply” somewhere in their profiles.  And women?  Over 100!

You might be thinking, “Is it really so bad to tell someone what I don’t want?”  The short answer is: Yes.  Let’s take the cat statement above, for example.  While I may not love cats, I’m definitely not into negativity, so I’ll be turned off by a line eliminating a whole group of people for one trait.  Instead, it’s better to show people what you do want rather than what you don’t.  So in this case, rather than calling your cat hatred to everyone’s attention, just write about how you’re looking for a dog-lover because perhaps Fido is the main man in your life right now, and you’d like to change that.

By including one of these lines in your profile, you come off as negative, or even bitter.  “No drama, please” screams, “My last relationship was full of drama, and I am SO over that.”  “Douche bags need not apply” is not only a pretty disgusting expression, but also says to someone, “This girl’s been burned one too many times and she is jaded about this whole dating thing.”

Take a moment to reread your profile, and if something comes off as negative, try to turn it into a positive.  To take two examples:

Negative: Cowboys fans need not apply.
Positive: I love football, but be careful because I may have to tease you about your team sometimes.  (This line also serves as “e-mail bait,” enticing the reader to ask what team you like.)

Negative: Don’t write to me if you’re not looking for a serious relationship.
Positive: I’m looking for someone who is ready for a meaningful relationship.

When people read about you, they are likely to remember the last thing you said, so make sure the end of your profile comes across as confident, intelligent, and, most importantly, positive.  Negative Nellies need not apply!

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




The Magenta Yenta! – Gather the News – 11/7

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

  • Recreational use of marijuana has been legalized in Colorado and Washington state.  How will this affect the War on Drugs?  In other news, the University of Washington’s application rate skyrocketed today.

DC Hurricane Relief Efforts – The Jewish Federation

We spoke with Sarah Arenstein from The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington about their response to Hurricane Sandy.

Rachel: How did the Federation react to the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy?
Sarah: As Jews, we hold dear the value of tikkun olam.  So shortly after the hurricane hit, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington immediately opened a mailbox to support the relief efforts that would be most needed during the recovery and rebuilding.  At times like this, we know it is more important than ever for community members to have a trustworthy organization who can help move their generous contributions to relief efforts on the ground.  100% of the funds raised from our mailbox will be swiftly allocated to recovery needs as they are identified.

Rachel: What organizations has Federation teamed up with to aid the relief efforts?
Sarah: The beauty of the Federation system is that the expertise and infrastructure is already set up on the ground.  We have partnered with the NY Federation and the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) in partnership with Jewish Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (JVOAD).  In addition to the money we will be putting into recovery efforts from our local community, we were proud to learn that JFNA’s Emergency Committee authorized $500,000 for immediate humanitarian needs of Hurricane Sandy victims in the New York metropolitan area and New Jersey.  The funds will be used for cash disbursements, food, shelter, clean-up kits and other basic necessities.  It is important for us to partner with organizations who have up-to date information and who are quickly assessing needs and moving cash to where it is needed most.

Rachel: What are the Federation’s plans for the coming weeks/months in regards to the relief effort?
Sarah: Our mailbox will remain open until further notice.  We will continue to work with our partners to assess needs on the ground and swiftly move cash to agencies and organizations aiding in the relief efforts.

Rachel: How can members of the DC Jewish community get involved in the relief effort?
Sarah: The outpouring of support from local community members to those most hard hit in NY and NJ has been inspiring.  Below are a few of the things we’ve heard have taken place.  Just a few examples of what makes the Jewish community of Greater Washington such a wonderful place.

  • Members of the Kemp Mill community raised money to bus families from New York to the area and host them for Shabbat and a benefit concert before sending them back home with much needed supplies.
  • Agudas Achim is partnering with United Synagogue of Hoboken and is collecting gift cards for Target and Home Depot.  They hope to go to the scene and help out this weekend.
  • Beth Sholom Congregation collected and delivered a truck full of supplies including batteries, blankets, clothes, and water to assist in the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in New York and New Jersey.

To support the recovery effort, click here to make an on-line donation or checks can be sent (made payable to) The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, 6101 Montrose Road, Rockville, Maryland  20852.  Please indicate “Hurricane Relief Fund” on all checks.


How You Can Help with Hurricane Sandy Response

News reports, Facebook posts, and tweets continue to show the havoc Hurricane Sandy left behind.  Individuals and organizations responded to help the victims of the massive and powerful superstorm, which cut a deadly and destructive path across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast United States.

The storm packed high winds and incredible sea surges as it took lives, downed trees, destroyed property, and cut power to about six million people along the most densely packed portion of the country- including casting a large shadow over New York and New Jersey (my home state).  Recovery is underway.  Progress is slow but steady.  For those of us in the D.C. area, the October Gather the Jews event at Ping Pong Dim Sum is being rescheduled .  But a return to everyday life for those directly impacted by the hurricane will take  time.

B’nai B’rith International, the most widely known Jewish humanitarian, human rights. and advocacy organization, sprang to action (as did many other groups such as The American Red Cross ) to help as soon as Sandy had passed.

“Even with detailed advance warnings, the destruction Hurricane Sandy has left behind is extraordinary.  B’nai B’rith has helped disaster victims since 1865.  Each disaster we help with has its own unique challenges,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said.
On Thursday, November 8, B’nai B’rith will host a Hurricane Sandy Fundraiser:  An Evening of Art and the Community to support those in need and complement its Disaster Relief Fund efforts.  Register today!

The program will include a special exhibit and viewing featuring the works of local artists Lisa K. Rosenstein and Lauren Kotkin, who will be there to meet guests and discuss their works.  “Life is chaotic, complex, noisy, and at times painfully full,” says Rosenstein.  Her work uses nothing but white paint and found objects to create a Zen-like space for contemplation.  Kotkin is an artist; she exhibits and volunteers for Artomatic, the annual month-long art festival in D.C.  Also on view will be highlights from B’nai B’rith’s collection of Judaica.

As recovery efforts continue, please consider how you can assist in the hurricane response.  Numerous celebrities and artists performed on November 3 for The American Red Cross and NBCUniversal “Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together” live  broadcast, raising $23 million,  but you don’t need to be a celebrity or a millionaire to make a difference.  Whether it is making a $10 donation, attending a fundraiser, giving blood, helping a neighbor, or donating clothing or food items to those cold and hungry,  you too can help with the recovery efforts.



DC Hurricane Relief Efforts – MesorahDC

Rabbi Teitelbaum is the Director of MesroahDC.

Rachel: When you first heard about the destruction in New York, what was your initial thought?
Rabbi T:  We were braced pretty strongly for stuff here so, when we dodged the bullet, I think I just breathed a sigh of relief.  Originally I thought elsewhere also got less damage than anticipated, and my initial thought was- what a major inconvenience, no electricity for them.  Then we saw actual pictures of the utter devastation and destruction.

Rachel: What steps have you taken to aid the relief effort?
Rabbi T:  I have addressed our MesorahDC  participants during the Friday night services and  dinner about this week’s parshah which describes the great acts of kindness and hospitality that Abraham showed to those less fortunate.  I appealed to them to see this as a tremendous opportunity to put their values into practice.  We need to be creative and  think of what we can do to help- even if we can’t physically be there, just calling/emailing someone and sharing their anguish will go a long way.  We must  arouse our empathy, and not fall back to our personal routine without keeping them in our thoughts and prayers as well.  Just THINK about it– no home.  Aside from the financial stress, this also means a sense of being displaced and people need a home for their emotional security.  Even for those that still have a home, it’s not just the lack of heat that’s problematic but the darkness that a candle cannot fully dispel.  It can be depressing and makes it hard to function productively.  We organized a canned food and clothing drive-there was a very nice response (some even called to help with the organizing as well as to offer donations).

Rachel: Has Mesorah DC teamed up with any other organizations for the relief?
Rabbi T: Mesorah teamed up with an organization in Baltimore to truck all the supplies that we collected to the New York area.

Rachel: Do you have any personal connections in NY impacted by the hurricane?
Rabbi T:  As a native New Yorker (I know you can’t tell from my accent…), I know many people in distress.  My own family.  I have 2 brother-in-laws and their families still without electricity.  A close friend of mine has been told that he won’t have power for up to 7 weeks.  Another friend’s  business, an assisted living home, was totally leveled so he has no income (all the residents were, thank God, evacuated safely).  These are just a few stories.  As difficult as this is, it’s also heartening to hear about some of our “regular citizens” that have become super heroes.  A friend of mine owns a catering business- he opened up his catering hall for ANYONE to come in and have a meal.  ALL day!  There are many other great stories.

Rachel: How can people continue to aid the relief effort?
Rabbi T:  We can all do something to help.  Our great heritage teaches us that we can do tzedakah with our money.  Even greater sometimes- we can do kindness with our bodies.  Get physically involved, collect canned food, call people that are under duress, etc.  Anyone that is still interested in assisting, please contact us at  We will point you in the right direction.  Unfortunately, this will be a long recovery process.


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.



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