From Bad to Worse, 2nd Edition — GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 46)

Get excited… today I’m sharing the second edition of the “From Bad to Worse” series, showing actual photos, profiles, or e-mails from various online dating sites that are too good (as in, too awful) not to show.

In online dating, making a good first impression is the key.  For this reason, it’s important to always put your best foot forward, especially when it comes to your photos.

As a reminder, below are the five rules of thumb for your online dating photos:

  1. Less is more: 3-5 good pictures are better than 10 mediocre pictures.
  2. Have at least one clear “face” photo: Since you first come up just as a thumbnail, you want to make sure that you give someone a reason to click.
  3. Be by yourself in the shot: No need to allow someone to compare you to someone else in your own profile.
  4. Have one photo where you’re doing something interesting: Give someone an excuse to e-mail you… to ask what you’re doing in that picture.
  5. Be accurate: You won’t win someone over by lying about your looks.

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 get being afraid to reveal too much online, but come on!

Has anyone heard of cropping?

Is it true?  Yet another fanny pack!

Seriously?  She’s showing a picture of herself from her first wedding!  So wrong!

This was the only picture he had.

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, 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.


Upcoming Deadline for Jeremiah Fellowship

The following is a guest post by Rachel Cohen, a 2011-12 Jeremiah Fellow for Jews United For Justice.

Last fall, I was sitting in Ben’s Chili Bowl with a group of friends and colleagues when a prominent DC historian posed the question: “Gentrification, good or bad?” As I sat there thoughtfully composing a list of pros & cons in my head, several of my friends soundly rejected the premise of the question itself. It’s not that simple. You can’t ask us to make that sort of decision. Who are we to say?

This scene took place during the Jeremiah Fellowship, a leadership program run by local community organization Jews United for Justice. The Jeremiah Fellowship challenged me this way for nine months, and continues to do so. It has also given me the skills and knowledge to build my organizer and activist toolbox.

During our semi-monthly evening meetings, we had the chance to learn with seasoned activists and advocates from the immigration, labor and affordable housing movements. We brought each other up to speed on the most pressing social and economic justice issues facing our DC community, from the drastic drop in affordable housing over the last decade to attempted enforcement of the so-called “Secure Communities” immigration program.

But we didn’t just study current issues. We delved into Jewish texts that relate to these issues and we explored how to take action to make a difference. We learned, for example, about “cutting an issue,” a community organizing term for defining the goal of a campaign strategically to maximize your group’s power in the long term. We also analyzed campaigns from concept to execution by mapping the powerful people and players working on an issue. We practiced the vital skill of fundraising and strategized to build a network of active supporters.

However, perhaps more important than the hands-on skills training, Jeremiah introduced me to a network of activists and advocates who connect me to local issues and politics in DC. My fellow Fellows and our guest speakers are an invaluable resource – and source of inspiration – for my work moving forward, as I participate in grassroots campaigns and events to make our city and region a better place. I am already working with one of these groups, a local volunteer-run grantmaking fund called the Diverse City Fund, which nurtures and supports community leaders and grassroots projects that are transforming DC into a more just, vibrant place to live.

For me, it was important that the Fellowship addressed the challenges of a life-long commitment to activism and organizing, which is a potentially exhausting line of work, whether you get paid for it or not. Many of our speakers and facilitators spoke about how to sustain a life of activism, avoiding burn-out by balancing professional and volunteer work with family and social life, and building a strong network of support. These lessons will stick with me as I consider graduate school, delve more deeply into activist work outside of my “day job,” and think seriously about how I prioritize the activities and the relationships in my own life.

That moment at Ben’s Chili Bowl set the tone for our year – we saw time and again that the big questions about our city and society have no easy answers. My Fellowship experience was, and still is, full of challenges. That constant questioning is, of course, part of what makes Jeremiah a Jewish experience. In the asking, we begin to build community, and that community leads eventually to positive change.

“Seek the well-being of the city in which you dwell,” says the prophet Jeremiah, the Fellowship’s namesake, “for in its peace, you shall find peace.” That well-being will not be easy to achieve, but now I know better how to seek it. Now that our year with the program  has ended, I am carrying forward the need to continue challenging myself, my peers and my city, striving not for absolute answers but for the right questions, the difficult conversations, and for the moments when we do find ways – big and small – to make our city and our world just a little bit better.

The Jeremiah Fellowship is a nine-month program for young Jews in the greater DC area. Fellows come together twice monthly to learn different models of community organizing, to meet with Jewish and activist leaders, and to study Jewish texts and traditions. Participants leave the Fellowship with leadership experience, concrete skills, a deepened connection to our city and region, and a valuable network of peers and mentors. For more information email Monica Kamen at or see the application and qualifications at Applications are due August 5th.


Giving Time – 60 Seconds, One Day, and Many Years of Terror

While watching the Olympics in the upcoming days, read this piece by community member Jason Langsner on the IOC’s decision not to honor the massacred Israeli athletes and on recent and upcoming ADL efforts to combat anti-Semitism and terror worldwide.

A couple of weeks ago, I started my day by joining nearly 100,000 other individuals in signing the petition that asked for one minute of silence in the ’12 London Olympics to honor the victims of the ’72 Munich Olympics.  11 athletes and officials were slain by Black September for being Israeli and Jewish forty years ago.  The minute is an appeal by Ankie Spitzer, widow of one of the athletes, to honor the fallen.

I spent my afternoon following news reports about the Bulgarian terrorist bombing that took the lives of at least five Israelis and wounded 30 more. This act was perpetrated on the 18th anniversary of the attack on the Argentine-Israelite Mutual Association Jewish Center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and injured hundreds.

I concluded my day by joining 100+ like minded young professionals that want to end this violence.  They want to end the terror.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), now entering its 100th year, is the largest non-governmental body that partners with law enforcement to combat terror, anti-semitism, and all forms of hate.  They help train every new FBI agent and hosted the off-the-record evening program on July 18th to educate the DC, Maryland, and Virginia young professional community.

The ADL encouraged attendees to be vigilant in this era of Terror 2.0.  We all have a role to play to combat extremism and the expert speakers shared real world examples of how social media and the web are being used for hate.  They discussed the changing culture of law enforcement and the tactics that they take to combat the threat.  You can learn more about fighting all forms of terror — domestic and international — at the FBI webpage dedicated to partnerships and outreach and the ADL website’s terrorism landing page.

For young professionals interested in giving more than 60 seconds or attending a two-hour event, the ADL’s Glass Leadership Institute is now accepting applications for their 10 month fellowship program.  Apply by August 10th for consideration or attend an information session meet-and-greet with Glass Alumni on August 1st at Tabaq Bistro.


On this fateful day in history…

The one, the only, the WOLFF… … Photo courtesy of … Aaron Wolff’s camera.

On this fateful day in history…

No.  We’re not talking about Tisha B’Av.

We’re talking about one of DC Jewry’s finest who turned 28 today.

Some of you know him as “the man with the hat.”  Some of you know him as “The WOLFF.”  And some of you know him as the far most handsome of the Gather the Jews cofounders (true).  A quaint few know him as Aaron.

But even if you don’t know him that well, know that Aaron works tirelessly to make the Jewish community of Washington, DC a better place.  Seriously.  Aaron has a very full time job, but in addition to this, he puts in loads of hours into to the GTJ project for zero financial gain.

To thank him for his hundreds of hours of community service, I suggested that we all pitch in and buy him his finest fedora yet.

But he told him he would prefer thanks be given to him through Gather the Jews.  So if you want to show Aaron a little bit of love, either:





Your Guide to Tisha B’Av 2012

With more than 5,000 years of history under our belt, we the Jewish people have collected quite a few holidays and days of significance.

This Saturday nightfall marks the beginning of Tisha B’Av — a 25 hour fast period that commemorates the destruction of the first (586 BCE) and second (70 CE) temples.  The fast begins at 8:23 p.m. on Saturday and ends at 8:55 p.m on Sunday.

For more on the origin of the day, I refer you to the eminently useful and intelligible Wikipedia (Tisha B’Av page), to Harpaul’s essay below on Tisha B’Av, and for more information on the observance of the day, I’ve pasted at the bottom of this post a handy list created by Rabbi Freundel of the Kesher Israel Synagogue— Stephen

Update 7/27/2012: Rabbi Joshua Maroof of Magen David writes about Tisha B’Av.


Harpaul Kohli is a local economist, musician, and frequent attendant of Kesher Israel and TheSHUL.

Tisha B’Av (the ninth of Av) is one of the two big fast days in the Jewish calendar, along with Yom Kippur. But whereas Yom Kippur can be seen as a happy fast, as it represents forgiveness, purity, renewal, and new beginnings, Tisha B’Av is a sad fast, focused on mourning.

Tisha B’Av commemorates the destruction of both the first and second Temples. The Second Temple was destroyed (more specifically, set on fire) on Tisha B’Av itself in the year 70 CE. And 655 years earlier (though there are disagreements over whether the calendar omitted years), the First Temple was destroyed on Tisha B’Av.

But the tragedies extend beyond that. Each of the following happened on Tisha B’Av:

  • The Romans defeated the Jewish Bar Kochba rebellion, and Bar Kochba died in 135 CE (100,000 Jews also died around then).
  • King Edward I signed the edict expelling all Jews from England in 1290.
  • The Alhambra Decree expeled all Jews from Spain (Jews had to leave Spanish territories by July 31, 1492).
  • World War I began (Germany declared war on Russia in 1914).
  • Himmler presented the “Final Solution” plan to the Nazi Party in 1940.
  • The Nazis began deporting Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942.

In short, over more than two millennia, Tisha B’Av has been the date for the two biggest tragedies in Jewish history (the two Temples’ destruction) and many of the other great tragedies. It is for these reasons that it has been set aside as the calendar’s day of mourning above all others.

Tisha B’Av’s status has led to debates over the centuries on how to commemorate other tragedies. Namely, there is a strongly held view that the mourning for all great tragedies should be incorporated into Tisha B’Av.

Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah), for example, was opposed by many; they said that as Tisha B’Av is the great day of mourning, mourning for the Holocaust should be subsumed under Tisha B’Av.

The aftermath of the Crusades led to a similar debate. Before the Crusades, Jewish life in Franco-Germany was comparatively good. Most Christians were illiterate serfs living difficult lives under the command of their lords. In contrast, Jews were traders and men of commerce; nearly all Jewish men enjoyed basic literacy. But in the Crusades, the Christian soldiers destroyed Jewish cities and killed many Jews. This conflict was seen as a war of religions; many Christians and Jews at the time saw the conflict as one representing whose God who correct, and the Jews were constantly losing, with their lives shattered by the attacks.

The debate following each Crusade was whether to commemorate these sufferings only through Tisha B’Av or to designate Crusade-specific days of commemoration. Over time, the former view mostly won out.

The manner in which the agony of the post-Crusades Jewish community was incorporated into Tisha B’Av is incisively captured by a passage from a Kinnah. Kinnot are the liturgical poems that are read as part of Tisha B’Av services after the reading of the Book of Jeremiah on Tisha B’Av eve and after the Haftarah reading in the morning, and many kinnot said to this day were added to memorialize the Crusades. One kinnah, written by Rabbi Meir of Rotenberg, contains the following passage:

And I will shed tears until they flow like a river that reaches to the
gravesites of your two most noble princes.
They are Moses and Aaron [who were] on Mount Hor.
And I will ask them if there is perhaps a new Torah,
therefore your scrolls have been burnt!

You can see the echo of the “whose God is correct?” debate, expressing “doubts” by the greatest rabbi of his time. This also shows how profound was the suffering of Jews after the Crusades. But despite this, nowadays, we do not have any tangible mourning for the Crusades except as related to Tisha B’Av. (There is the idea that Jewish suffering during the Crusades was especially bad during Sefirah, the period between Passover and the holiday of Shavuot, but except for one prayer nothing concrete is done during that time on account of the Crusades.)

The subsuming of mourning for the Crusades into Tisha B’Av is not limited to the day itself. There is a fast three weeks before (one of the four minor fasts of the year), which commemorates the Romans breaching the walls of Jerusalem, and the period of time between these two fasts is known as the “Three Weeks” in English and Bain Hamitsarim (“Between the Straights”) in Hebrew. It is a lead-up to Tisha B’Av, with mourning increasing as the time period progresses.

The European Jewish community added commemorations for the calamities of the Crusades by adding new restrictions and mourning practices into this three-week period. Originally, and as still practiced by most Sephardim, almost all restrictions and mourning practices are restricted to the week of Tisha B’Av (eg, not cutting hair, shaving, wearing freshly laundered clothes, not bathing for pleasure) or to the nine days before Tisha B’Av (not eating meat or drinking wine). But to commemorate the Crusades, because they ended up not commemorating them elsewhere in the calendar, the European Jews extended most of the week-of-Tisha B’av restrictions (which originally lasted only 1 to 6 days, and still do for Sephardim, who never experienced the Crusades’ persecutions) to last the entire three weeks, and also added further restrictions.

So this reinforces the status of Tisha B’Av as the fundamental day of mourning of the calendar, so central that mourning for even the worst other periods of Jewish history were subsumed into it. This year, as we observe Tisha B’Av we can reflect on how our mourning ties us together with that of persecuted Jews through the millennia, and afterwards Tisha B’Av, with our shared mourning complete, we can be further grateful for the much better fortunate lives we lead in twenty-first century America.


From Rabbi Freundel of the Kesher Israel Synagogue.

Laws of Tisha B’Av for 2012

Below are some laws of Tisha B’Av for this year. Note: The following laws are based on Ashkenazi tradition.


  • No eating or drinking from Saturday evening until nightfall the following evening.
  • Pregnant and nursing women are also required to fast. If one suspects it could be harmful to the baby or mother, a rabbi should be consulted.
  • A woman within 30 days after birth need not fast.
  • Others who are old, weak, or ill should consult with a rabbi. (MB 554:11)

Bathing and Washing:

  • Any bathing or washing, except for removing specific dirt — e.g. gook in the eyes is prohibited.
  • Upon rising in the morning, before prayers, or after using the bathroom, one washes only the fingers.
  • Anointing oneself for pleasure is prohibited. (Deodorant is permitted.)

Other Prohibitions:

  • Having marital relations is prohibited.
  • Wearing leather shoes is prohibited. (Leather belts may be worn).
  • Learning Torah is prohibited, since this is a joyful activity. It is permitted to learn texts relevant to Tisha B’Av and mourning — e.g. the Book of Lamentations, Book of Job, parts of Tractate Moed Katan, Gittin 56-58, Sanhedrin 104, Yerushalmi end of Ta’anis, and the Laws of Mourning. In-depth study should be avoided.

Other mourning practices include:

  • Sitting no higher than a foot off the ground. After midday, one may sit on a chair.
  • Not engaging in business or other distracting labors, unless refraining will result in a substantial loss.
  • Refraining from greeting others or offering gifts.
  • Avoiding idle chatter or leisure activities.
  • Following Tisha B’Av, all normal activities may be resumed.

Prayer on Tisha B’Av:

  • Lights in the synagogue are dimmed, candles are lit, and the curtain is removed from the Ark. The cantor leads the prayers in a low, mournful voice.
  • The Book of Eicha (Lamentations), Jeremiah’s poetic lament over the destruction of Jerusalem and the First Temple, is read at night.
  • Following both the night and day service, special “Kinot” (elegies) are recited.
  • Since Tallis and Tefillin represent glory and decoration, they are not worn at Shacharit. Rather, they are worn at Mincha, as certain mourning restrictions are lifted.
  • Birkat Kohanim is said only at Mincha, not at Shacharit.
  • Prayers for comforting Zion and “Aneinu” are inserted into the Amidah prayer at Mincha.
  • Shortly after the fast is broken, it is customary to say Kiddush Lavana.

When Tisha B’Av falls on Shabbat:

When Tisha B’Av falls on Shabbat, as it does this year, the following applies:


  • The fast is postponed until Sunday.
  • There is no special Seuda Hamafseket before the fast.


  • Tzidkas’cha is not said at Mincha.
  • Pirkei Avot is not said at Mincha.

Kiddush, Shabbat Meals, Seuda Shlishit:

  • Regarding a shul Kiddush, if the kiddush can be held on a different Shabbat, it is preferable to defer it. If the Kiddush cannot be held on a different Shabbat — e.g. for an aufruff (groom prior to his wedding), it is permitted.
  • One may eat meat and drink wine at all the Shabbat meals. One may invite guests to the Shabbat meals.
  • However, one should not invite guests for Seuda Shlishit unless he does so regularly.
  • One may sing zemirot at the Shabbat meals.
  • A communal Seuda Shlishit is not held in shul.
  • One must stop eating and drinking before sunset, since the fast begins at  this time. People should be reminded about this, as it is unlike a regular Shabbat.
  • One May say Grace After Meals after sunset.

Marital Relations:

  • Marital relations are forbidden on Friday night unless Friday night is Mikvah night and women do immerse on that night.

Havdalah / After Shabbat:

  • Havdalah is postponed until Sunday night.
  • All the prohibitions except wearing shoes and sitting on a chair commence at sunset. These two activities are permitted until nightfall.
  • Non-leather shoes should be brought to Shul Friday before Shabbat. One  may not prepare on Shabbat for after Shabbat so soft shoes should not  be brought to shul on Shabbat. It is also forbidden to change one’s  shoes before going to shul, since this is disgracing the Shabbat.
  • At Ma’ariv Saturday night all should say “baruch hamavdil bein kodesh lechol,” the Chazzan removes his shoes, and then say “barchu.” The congregation should respond to “barchu” and then remove their shoes. Care must be taken not to touch one’s shoes when removing them. The Shabbat clothes are not removed until one returns home after Ma’ariv.
  • It is forbidden to smell spices Saturday night, since a person must refrain from such a pleasure on Tisha B’Av.
  • A blessing is recited over a Havdalah candle before the reading of Lamentations.
  • It is forbidden to eat or drink anything before Havdalah after the fast.
  • Only the two blessings “borei p’ri hagafen” and “hamavdil” are recited. The introductory verses are omitted, as are the blessings over the spices and candle.






290 gather for Jewnity … Pictures!

Shooting hoops at Jewnity

On Sunday at 5:00 PM, approximately 290 local Jews gathered together at the North Hall of Eastern Market to sample beer, wine, cheese, and 16 different Jewish organizations.  Pictures, courtesy of GTJ’s Aaron Wolff, can be found on Facebook.


Joe Brophy is an Avodah participant in Washington, DC. 

You could feel Jewnity pulsing before you even heard the music.

This past Sunday afternoon, Eastern Market’s main hall was briefly transformed into a bustling shuk for Jewish organizations, a bazaar where those interested in Jewish connections could discover more about a diverse spread of Jewish organizations.  It was all there — from volunteering with the elderly to Israel activism, West Virginia service retreats to JCC young adult events. The second annual event brought Jews from all sides of the spectrum together with organizations looking to serve them, and made connections that will extend well beyond additional e-mail addresses on a listserv.

More pictures can be seen at:!/media/set/?set=a.10151311629348709.559489.353081553708&type=1

“It’s been a success!” exclaimed Sarah A. of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, one of the event’s organizers, who continued by stating that the event definitely “met our goal in terms of attendance!” She explained that the new venue’s larger space allowed Jewnity to provide a diversity and depth in Jewish community that many had not previously experienced. Attendees were met with ten drink and food tickets, a raffle ticket, and a tote bag to use as they sampled beer, wine, and cheeses, and munched on free bags of PopChips.

The 16 amazing Jewish organizations, schmoozing, drinks and snacks, and GTJ’s Stephen Richer’s legendary dance moves (editor’s note: “legendary” can be a pejorative) were all definite highlights for many attendees. Though for one person in particular that I spoke with, Jewnity was a perfect next step in discovering the DC Jewish scene:

Steven G. is a civil engineer and moved just three days ago to the DC area from southern Virginia. After going on Birthright last year, he knew that he wanted to further explore the Jewish community — and what better place than in an active community like DC? Jewnity made it “a lot easier to get connected” and made him want to “get more involved.”

More pictures can be seen at:!/media/set/?set=a.10151311629348709.559489.353081553708&type=1

And Steven was definitely not the only one that felt that Jewnity provided him with the tools to become more engaged. The relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere helped young Jewish adults new to the area (as well as those that have been around a while) find a common ground with whichever Jewish organization spoke to their passions.

Overall, the second annual Jewnity was a great success. The crowded and energetic room allowed people to ”mingle and get to know each other,” explained David G. (Sixth and I), another one of the organizers. Another David once wrote something similar – “Hineh mah tov u’mah nayim” – “How good and beautiful it is, when brothers dwell together.” I don’t think that anyone in the room would have disagreed.

The 16 sponsoring organizations:

  1. AJC Washington/ACCESS DC
  2. B’nai B’rith International
  3. DCJCC – EntryPointDC
  4. Embassy of Israel
  6. Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
  7. The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington 
  8. Jewish Foundation for Group Homes
  9. The Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA)
  10. Jews United for Justice
  11. J Street DC Metro
  12. NOVA Tribe Series
  13. Sixth & I
  14. Washington Hebrew’s 2239
  15. YACHAD
  16. Young Professionals @ Adas Israel





CLICK here to post your Jewish event


A new dawn for GTJ

It’s a new dawn for Gather the Jews (GTJ).

With the generous support of Manny Friedman, Co-Founder of the Friedman-French Foundation, GTJ will launch “GTJ: A New Hope” (because I’m a Star Wars fan).

At the heart of this initiative is the recruitment of a full-time paid staff member who will join GTJ in August.  The Friedman-French enabled staff member will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of GTJ, ensuring that GTJ remains comprehensive in scope, expanding GTJ’s news component, and generally ensuring that GTJ remains an excellent resource for young adult Jews in the Washington, DC area.

Also as part of the new initiative, in August GTJ will:

Launch a redesign of the GTJ website that allows for more content and easier navigability.
Create a Board of Directors comprised of prominent Jewish community members
Announce its involvement in several community initiatives designed to further enhance the Jewish community

It must be reiterated that none of this could go forward without the timely and generous support of Manny Friedman who, below, has shared a few thoughts on his support for GTJ.

SR:  Why did you choose to get involved with Gather the Jews?
MF:  We wanted Gather the Jews to remain an independent entity after its founders are no longer involved on a day-to-day basis. We are very pleased to be providing the funding to allow GTJ to enter this next phase of its life.

SR:  What do you hope to achieve by helping the Gather the Jews project?
MF:  We hope to help Gather the Jews successfully navigate this upcoming year of transition. We are excited that GTJ is hiring its first paid executive director and we hope that this is just the beginning of many stages of expansion.

SR:  What message do you hope your donation sends to the DC Jewish community?
MF:  We would like our support to become a catalyst for encouraging other philanthropists and foundations to get involved with innovative Jewish projects in the region. 

Again, thanks to the Friedman-French Foundation.  Any questions about GTJ’s future aims, or how to support the future efforts of GTJ can be directed to

Gather the Jews is an event aggregator and news service that exists to facilitate young adult Judaism in the Washington, DC area.  To date, GTJ has accumulated 273,073 visits and 664,741 page views to its website.  GTJ’s weekly newsletter has over 4,000 subscribers.




Hire me maybe? — Résumé advice from Dan P.

This column is part of the advice series that GTJ recently launched with the Ask Ashley column.  Ashley, Dan, and others will take turns offering their thoughts on how to navigate different dimensions of Washington, DC life.


I just met you. This is crazy.  But here’s my resume. Hire me, maybe? (GTJ Call Me Maybe article)

The resume is your key to unlock future opportunities.  You may be looking for your first job after college or grad school, or you may be looking to leap from one job to another.  The resume won’t guarantee entry into every organization, but it’s a necessary step.

Think of the resume as a “first impression”.  If you have a polished resume that tells a clear story, the employer will want to get to the “second date” (read – “interview”).

Here’s a brief list of the key considerations to write an effective resume:

1. Keep it simple, keep it brief.  You can’t explain everything you did for your last job in a few bullet points.  So don’t try.  Your future employer won’t care about all the nuances.  Choose two to three tasks/accomplishments from each job/position.  Can you include more than three?  Sure… Just make sure that they’re important.  Don’t add fluff just to cover white space.

Also, don’t use words that are too fancy.  The resume must focus on brief descriptions of what you did in a particular role.  This closely ties to #2.

2. WWGS?  What Would Grandma Say?  Or your mom?  They would brag about everything you’ve done.  The resume isn’t the time to be modest.  If you did something cool/important/legend…wait for it…dary, include it!

3. So what?? Use the PAR model as much as possible.

  • Problem (what was the challenge?)
  • Action (what did you do?)
  • Result (what was the result of your efforts?).

The resume isn’t a list of everything you’ve done. You need to describe the impact, and you should quantify it as much as possible.

Examples of your efforts (in a list format):

  • “Organized 15 charity fundraising events”
  • “Led 25 little Napoleans through the 4th grade curriculum”
  • “Managed two teams that effectively led clients through annual strategy revision”

What’s missing?  You organized 15 charity fundraising events to raise $300,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF).  Or, you led fourth graders through a rigorous curriculum that effectively prepared them for their annual exams with a 100% passing rate.  Or, you managed two teams of six personnel each that facilitated working group sessions with senior leadership from two firms to revise their strategies to meet new customer demands.

Those are hypothetical examples.  But, the point is to stick with PAR.  Sometimes it’s a “silent P”, meaning that the problem is implied.  If you didn’t organize the fundraising events, the LAF would still exist, but clearly your contributions moved them in the right direction.

4. It’s all about the verbs.  Each position will have two or more bullets under it.  Each of those bullets should start with a verb (“Led”, “Organized”, “Maintained”, etc).  You can Google “resume verbs by category” to find a list of suggested verbs for your resume.  Click here for an example.  Note – the verbs are all past tense unless you are currently doing that particular role.

Two hints… First, the past tense of “Lead” is “Led”.  Second, instead of using “led” (or other verbs) multiple times throughout the resume, consider synonyms (“Managed”, “Directed”, etc) or simply focusing on a different action for that description (“Planned”, “Facilitated”, “Implemented”, etc).

5.  Lost in translation.  You know at least two languages – English and some cool jargon you picked up at your current job.  You have acronyms for positions and reports, and wardrobe malfunctions.  Unfortunately, your future employer doesn’t speak that language, and they aren’t going to find an interpreter.  That means you
have to work a little harder.  Make sure that you adapt the translations to the job and role that you’re applying for.

6.  Help me help you.  The resume isn’t simply a way to showcase all that you’ve done.  The company posted that job for a reason – They need help solving a problem.  Study the job description and write your resume to show how you can help (This bullet was almost titled, “If there was a problem, yo I’ll solve it”, but the 10% of the readers who get the current reference may have been lost on that one).

If you’re going to a job fair online or in person, you may not know specific positions available, but you can study the companies that will attend and create resumes that generally match a company’s strategy.

7.  When you’re not at work you… Watch the entire season of Game of Thrones in a weekend?  Please tell me you do more with your free time.  You volunteer with GTJ, or the Federation, etc.  You play kickball (leave out the “NAKID” and “Collegiate-level binge drinking” aspects), or softball. Maybe you play piano, or you hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro.  List a few of these activities in the “Additional Information” section.

Things to leave out:

  • “Proficient with Microsoft Office Suite” (thanks to modern technology every
    human on earth, to include those in the womb, are proficient with this).
  • “Avid reader” unless you’re like John Travolta in Phenomenon (obscure
    reference – “You learned the Portuguese language in 20 minutes?”)
  • “Test the search engine capabilities of JDate.”

Here’s a simple test – Would you talk about these activities at a family dinner?

8.  Contact info.  Of course you’re going to survive the zombie apocalypse, but please keep your personal email professional.  If your email is, make a new one. Consider, or something similar.

9. Triple check.  Even then… you’re not done.  You want to ensure that the resume reads correctly.  Check the spelling. Read it out loud.  Ask people outside your family to read it.  You want critical feedback and you should expect some criticism.  Do they understand all of the terms?  Do they think it highlights your greatest skills?

Stay tuned for another post with career advice and a catchy title from a pop song.

Dan Pick is a member of the DC Jewish Communiny.  He was an officer in US Navy after he graduated from Penn State. Now, he’s a consultant saving the world one powerpoint at a time. He’s currently an MBA candidate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and recently created a blog with a veteran classmate to help military veterans transition (Switch). Dan enjoys traveling, running, triathlons, playing guitar, and volunteering in the community. All at the same time.


Survivor Initiative launch raises $14k.

Yael E. is a community member and was a co-host of this event.

Upon learning that nationally, approximately half of all Holocaust survivors are living below the national poverty line—including over 200 in the Washington, DC area—and that many are facing an even more dire situation with funding and assistance shortfalls this year, a small group of Jewish professionals in Washington, DC decided to do something about it. They launched The Survivor Initiative to raise funds and awareness in the community and to help the Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA) continue its critical 20-year old Holocaust Survivor Program. The Initiative held its inaugural event on July 5th, raising $14,000. The 170 attendees heard a survivor speak of her family’s escape from Germany after the infamous Kristallnacht of 1938 and her journey to a life as a refugee in Kenya. The community was educated about JSSA’s ongoing programs and the different ways to become personally involved beyond financial contributions.

Until now, critical social services for Holocaust survivors in need in the Washington area have been funded by grants from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, matching JSSA funds, and donations.  Recently, a decrease in funding from many of these traditional revenue sources combined with a substantial increase in aging survivors applying for more intensive services has placed JSSA’s Holocaust Survivor Program in jeopardy. Due to unprecedented increases in survivor applications for services as this population nears the last few years of their life, their growing needs for basic safety net services including personal care, homemaker, health, social services, and financial assistance are currently outpacing available funding. Changing demographics, increasing frailty, the downturn in the economy, and changes in eligibility criteria for Claims Conference funding have contributed to this dire situation. This year alone, JSSA is facing a $200,000 shortfall, and this deficit is expected to grow annually for at least another 10 years.

The Survivor Initiative’s inaugural event was one of a number of community outreach efforts  in what will be a continuing campaign to ensure that every Holocaust survivor in need will be afforded the necessary care. While fundraising will remain the Initiative’s top priority, the group also strives to educate and inspire the community to become personally involved through a variety of volunteering opportunities, including:

  • JSSA’s Holocaust Survivor Volunteer Visitor Program: Volunteers bring a warm and engaging presence into the homes of survivors who are unable to leave or travel distances from their residence. Together, survivors and volunteers can discuss photographs, music, art, books, memories from the past, family stories, hobbies, interests – and more. Training will be held on Wednesday, July 25 from 6 – 8 pm at the Embassy Suites in Chevy Chase. Interested participants can contact Marissa Neuman at or 301-610-8345.
  • Pro Bono Legal Assistance: JSSA currently has generous legal assistance to help local survivors with documents for restitution payments made directly by the German Government.
  • Interpreters: JSSA needs help translating German-language legal documents. JSSA is also looking for Russian speakers to translate for Russian-speaking survivors at JSSA events or during additional activities.
  • Corporate Letter Writing Team: The Survivor Initiative will form a team to seek corporate donations of both money and necessary personal items, such as financial assistance for prescription glasses and dental hygiene needs.
  • Rosh Hashana Fundraising “wish” through Through this website, individuals can create a fundraising wish, posted through Facebook, to ask friends and family for donations to help ensure a sweet, dignified new year for survivors in need.

More information about the program and how to donate or volunteer can be found at JSSA’s website,

 The importance of JSSA’s work stretches far beyond any one segment of our community. As voiced by one recent donor: “I am glad to donate to this worthy cause.  I am Armenian, and I know how important it is to help those who survived such horrific experiences. This is in memory of my grandparents who survived the Armenian Genocide. Keep up the good work!”





Slow And Steady Wins The Race — GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 45)

Some might say I’m an impulsive person.  I get an idea and I act on it.  Case in point: Quitting my former job and starting A Little Nudge.  (Perhaps that was more of a well-researched impulsion!)  Basically, when I want something, I go for it.  And yet, I’ve learned that, in dating, slow and steady wins the race.

When it came to dating, I was always someone who preferred to jump two feet in before testing the water.  I figured that if I liked someone, it must be a good idea to see him seven nights a week, right?  And if he learned all my little idiosyncrasies early on, it would be endearing, wouldn’t it?  I was a full-fledged jumper.  And where did it leave me?  Often having what should have been a year-long relationship – meeting, the honeymoon phase, our first fight, and breaking up – all within the span of a month or two.

As I gained experience, I realized that when you like someone who likes you back, the anticipation of seeing each other again is often the best part of a new relationship.  Luckily for me, knowingly or not, Jeremy pushed us into the slow and steady routine.  Over two years later, I can see that this method was the best way to go for us.  (Of course, it also didn’t hurt that only one of us has a car, so it wasn’t always as easy to see each other during the week.)

The beginning of a relationship is exciting, and the temptation to jump in is going to be there.  Remember, though, that if this person is going to be around for a while, it’s not necessary to hit the accelerator when you can simply cruise at a steady speed until you’re ready to take it to the next level.  There is no hard and fast rule, but seeing someone once or twice a week for the first month of a new relationship is probably a healthy choice.  This way, you’ll have the anticipation and excitement of the next date, and you’ll have enough to talk about since you didn’t just see each other the night before!  Use this time to get to know each other – hobbies, things that make you tick, life ambitions, etc.

The same philosophy goes for when to be intimate for the first time… if you catch my drift.  It’s certainly tempting early on, but once you go down that path with someone, getting to know each other often takes a backseat to, well, the things you can do in the backseat.  It takes time to get to know someone before you can properly determine if you even want to open yourself up to that kind of intimacy.  If a friend asks you (after you’ve done the deed) what your date’s hobbies are or what he or she does for a living, you’ll probably want to know the answers.

The early parts of a relationship are often the most exciting, so relish in them and try not to hit the fast forward button too soon.  Get to know each other over ice cream, go to a baseball game, check out a new band, try a new restaurant, and all the while, learn about each other.  That way, when you’re ready to start seeing each other more often, you’ll be comfortable that this person is someone you’d truly like to spend time with beyond the initial infatuation.  And with the right person, that infatuation will linger for a long time, if not forever, so there’s nothing to worry about.

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


“Miss Holocaust Survivor” + “Highless Marijuana” — News of the Week (Jewish Style) 7/11

I had a hard time choosing a title for this post, so I chose two stories.  But I could have chosen others too.  Check out number 2 — it certainly got my attention!

Number 1.  From Yahoo! News.

Thanks, as always, to our partners on this post:  Moment Magazine

  1. Miss Holocaust Survivor contest held in Israel. (Yahoo!) (h/t Jane B.)
  2. Germany court says circumcision is a crime (The American Interest) (h/t Cory A.)
  3. The Biggest Jewish Genetic Myths of All Time, by community member Sala Levin (Moment Magazine)
  4. Jewish U.S. Representative Barney Frank (D – MA) becomes the first sitting member of Congress to marry a same-sex partner.  (New York Times) (h/t Moment Magazine)
  5. Does the West Bank count as a settlement?  An Israeli government-appoint panel considers the question (Reuters)(h/t Moment Magazine)
  6. Former Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir, died, aged 96.  (LA Times)
  7. American Presbyterians mull boycott and divestment of Israel (The Jewish Daily Forward)
  8. Chabad holds “Living Legacy” conference here in Washington, DC  (Washington Jewish Week)
  9. Cliff Goldkind – Potomac native and resident – talks poker (Washington Jewish Week)
  10. Israelis develop “highless” marijuana (News Daily)(h/t Jewlicious)
  11. Romney to visit Israel this summer (New York Jewish Week)

Number 4.  From The New York Times















Man Meats Grill… At Sixth & I

Note:  This event is now on August 12 (it rained on original day).

On Sunday, July 15, at 5:00 PM, Sixth & I will host an interactive grilling seminar for men in their 20s and 30s.  To learn more about the event, I threw a few questions to Aaron Weintraub, Director of Live Entertainment Programming at Sixth & I.  Click here to buy your tickets.


SR:  “Man Meats Grill” …  Sounds tasty, but what’s it all about?

AW:  Our Men’s Room (programming series for men in their 20s and 30s) committee got together and thought “What better for a summer event than an interactive grilling session?”  Wagshal’s Foods quickly came to mind as a great group to partner with on the event — they are considered one of the area’s premier butchers. We reached out to see what our kosher options (the event will be strictly kosher) were with them, and found that logistically we could make it happen. We knew we had to secure Pam Ginsberg, one of DC’s best known butchers, so we found a day that worked for her and Brian Fuchs (SR: check out the landing page on his website — it’s awesome) to come down and lead a tutored event.

SR:  I’m not joking when I say I’ve never grilled or cooked anything in my life.  Is this event out of my league?  Will I make a complete fool of myself (something I do on a regular basis, so it won’t matter too much)?  Will I slice off one of my fingers?  Or is this for complete beginners too?

AW:  Definitely not out of your league! This is open to any and all grill-skill levels. Pam and Brian will work with each and every attendee to challenge them to create a great steak/ burger. We’re only giving Pam and Brian the big metal knife, so unless you’re creative, it’ll be hard to slice off any fingers with plastic utensils.

SR:  Don’t put it past me …

SR:  You’ll be grilling with Kosher meat.  Kosher meat vs. non-kosher meat, can you tell a difference in taste?  If so, which do you think tastes better?

AW:  That’s a great question and one that I’m interested to hear it answered by Pam and Brian. You’ll have to come to find out!

SR:  This event is part of the Men’s Room programming series.  Can you tell me more about that?  I mostly prefer watching movies with Meg Ryan, but I’m all about watching football games at bars.  Does any of that happen with the Men’s Room?

AW:  The Men’s Room began a little less than a year ago after we saw how successful our Not Your Bubbe’s Sisterhood (programming series for women in their 20s and 30s) events were. To be honest, I was skeptical at first with how interested guys would be to come to men-only events, but after playing with the idea for a little while we decided to run with it and so far we’ve been very pleased with the response. Our first event, called “The Art of Whiskey,” was a tutored tasting with a local distillery (Copper Fox), which sold out in advance. Our second event was Bracketology 101, an event featuring two local sports journalists/ bloggers (The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg, and sports blogger Ben Standig), which analyzed the NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket, gave helpful tips to win your pool.  We also received great feedback from this event.  The goal of these events is to give young professional men an opportunity to meet, network, and enjoy common interests together.  It’s just another micro-community within the larger Sixth & I one.  We know women would be interested in many of the events we have, but I always tell them that as long as these are successful, we’re willing to try them again on a larger scale open to everyone.  New event ideas are always welcome, so feel free to email me –

We hope to see you this Sunday… tickets are still available but are going fast!


New job opening at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

We know that we’ve been babbling on about the Gather the Jews Executive Director position for the last two weeks, but don’t let us trick you into thinking that our ED position is the only Jewish job out there!  Check out this new job opening sent to us by our friends at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.  Have other job postings, or want to see what else is out there?  Then post to our Job Board!


Resumes and cover letters should be sent to:


Position:              Greater Washington Regional Representative, Masa Israel Journey
Department:      Financial Resource Development (FRD)
Reports To:         Young Leadership Director
Date:                     May 2012

Organizational Vision, Mission and Function: 
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is a non-profit philanthropic organization dedicated to creating a vibrant and purposeful Jewish community.  The Jewish Federation inspires, connects, educates and supports. The Federation’s primary functions are community planning and allocations, financial resource development, and leadership development.

Masa Israel Journey connects Jewish young adults to gap year, study abroad, post-college, and volunteer programs. Through these immersive experiences, lasting between five and twelve months, participants develop a deep, personal connection to Israel and Jewish life.

Masa Israel provides simple access to over 200 immersive experiences that are as varied as Israel itself and helps navigate the entire process at every step along the way.  Masa Israel grants and scholarships make it all possible, automatically connecting qualified participants to up to $7,500.  Over 55,000 young adults have participated in Masa Israel programs since 2004, with over 10,000 participants experiencing Israel during the 2010 – 2011 academic year.

This Regional Representative position is a product of the collaboration between the Jewish Agency for Israel and The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington to enhance the Masa presence in the Greater Washington Jewish community and help integrate Masa alumni into the young adult community. The Regional Representative will work with Federation’s Young Leadership team in an effort to collaborate on initiatives and strategies to engage young adults in the Jewish community and The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

Position Overview:

A strategic team-player, the Greater Washington Regional Representative for Masa Israel Journey is responsible for connecting young adults to experiences in Israel that fit their interests and supporting them through the process. This means recruiting for Masa programs, assisting potential participants in choosing the best fit program, helping them access funding to lower the cost of their experience and advising them on what to expect along the way and in Israel. It also means following up with participants once they return to the Greater Washington area and helping integrate them into the Jewish community.

Responsibilities Include:

  • General outreach to young adults in their 20s and 30s
  • Designing and overseeing a wide-range of recruitment initiatives for high school, college, and post-college populations including outreach to potential participants and their parents
  • Developing partnerships with local community organizations and influencers
  • Supporting local Masa Israel Campus Representatives
  • Coordinating events in partnership with local community organizations
  • Consulting and assisting with Masa Israel program staff on their marketing and recruiting campaigns within the community
  • Initiating projects locally to connect with Masa Israel alumni with local Jewish life and maintain their Israel connection
  • Cultivating personal relationships with alumni, mentoring them on Jewish communal life
  • Connecting alumni to relevant local, regional and national activities to help cultivate their interests
  • Working with the Young Leadership professional team to connect alumni and their peers to the work of The Jewish Federation in an effort to develop their philanthropic, volunteer and/or professional niche


  • Experience in community organizing, communications, Jewish education, customer service or related fields
  • Intimate knowledge of and passion for the Jewish community, its customs and practices
  • Prior Israel experience, long-term preferred
  • Highly motivated and entrepreneurial with the ability to be a self-starter
  • Experience in event coordination and planning
  • Exceptional organization and communication skills (both written and oral)
  • Ability to develop relationships and work with a diverse population
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks and short deadlines
  • Ability to work on a variety of projects simultaneously; seeming them from concept through execution
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Outlook and Excel
  • A basic understanding of social media tools and how to use them to further our goals

Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • 2-5 years of related experience

GTJ’s Erika E. On TV

It’s Erika’s off-week for her biweekly dating column, but if you still need a dating advice fix, check out her recent TV appearances on “Let’s Talk Live” on News Channel 8.

First date turn-offs

Avoiding ridiculous deal-breakers

Preach on, Erika.




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