GTJ December Happy Hour!


GTJ December Happy Hour – 12/1

buttonGather the Jew’s December Happy Hour!

Join us on December 1, 2014 from 6-9 PM at Blackfinn Ameripub!

For more info check out our Facebook event page!


Is “Ghosting” the New Post-It Note? – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 97)


In the days before texting and Tinder, there was actual talking and the art of the real, in-person conversation. Even on Sex and The City, when Berger broke up with Carrie on a (dare I say it?) Post-it note, it was viewed as terrible form. And it was.

So, why now, do people think it’s okay to not even give someone the courtesy of the measly Post-it note? Some people are doing what has been termed “ghosting,” just up and leaving a relationship without having the courtesy to tell your significant other that you’re, well, up and leaving. Some people called it “the fade-away,” some call it the “disappearing act,” and some have called it “falling off the earth.” What do I call it? Rudeness, cowardice, and selfishness, for starters.

There was an article in Huffington Post the other day called ‘Ghosting:’ The 21st-Century Dating Problem Everyone Talks About, But No One Knows How To Deal With. It talked about this phenomenon and how people are simply disappearing because that seems easier than breaking up with someone. It even happened to a friend of mine after over a year of dating someone.

She got an email from her boyfriend saying that he was going through a rough patch. She, as a dutiful girlfriend, said that she’d, of course, be there for him. And that was the last time he ever spoke to her. Her only remaining remnant was her Facebook profile photo, which she promptly took down in first confusion and then disappointment.

With the ubiquitous use of modern technology—text, GChat, Hinge, Tinder, What’s App, Google Voice, OkCupid—it’s almost too easy to think of people as disposable, just as the technology that once was so novel and exciting is now a bit older and less exciting. But people are not things. People have feelings. For that reason alone, you need to buck up and have an actual, real conversation, whether you’ve been on three dates or 300.

While there are no specific rules, this is what I recommend:

After one date

If you mutually do not want to see each other again, then no follow-up is necessary. If, however, one person asks the other out again, and the second party does not want to go, then the best option is to say something to the effect of, “Thank you so much for a nice time the other night. I’m, unfortunately, not feeling that connection that I’m looking for, but I wish you the best of luck.”

After two to three dates

Given that you’ve now spent at least several hours together, it is best to acknowledge that there will not be any future dates. “I think you’re great, and I’ve been having a lot of fun with you, but I unfortunately don’t see this going forward romantically. Some guy/gal will be very lucky to find you!” Email or phone is fine for this.

After four or more dates but before being exclusive

I have the same advice here as the two to three date guidance, but this should really be a conversation where you can hear each other’s voices, either over the phone or in person.

In an exclusive relationship

The only way to break up with someone when you’re in an exclusive relationship, barring

distance, is in person. Period.

Writing about the subject in The Date Report in May, reporter Sara Ashley O’Brien explained that ghosting just prolongs the time it takes to get over someone:

“A simple acknowledgment of an appreciation for the time we did spend together, ‘Hey, I had a fun few dates with you but I don’t think we’re right for each other beyond that,’ would provide so much more closure. It’s always a blow, but you can get over it in a few days. When the ghost disappears, you spend the first few days wondering when you’re going to get a text back and then weeks trying to figure out what went wrong.”

Greg Behrendt of He’s Just Not That Into You fame disagrees, saying, “It’s simple, and there’s no need to contemplate the many ‘reasons’ a date is unresponsive. When someone’s not texting you and you see they’ve read your text, then you should really get it.”

Here’s the difference. While someone might get it, he or she does not deserve it. Greg goes on to say that when you’re tired of something, like a movie or a sports team, you just walk away. He’s turning people into objects. People are not things. We have feelings and emotions and limited time to sit around and wait to see if our love interest is going to contact us again in the next three days… or ever.

Some people rationalize their “ghosting” behavior by saying that they are trying to spare the other person’s feelings by not sharing the truth. If that’s what makes you sleep at night, then fine, but we all know that’s a big load of you-know-what.

The moral of the story is to own up to your actions, take a little discomfort in the present (telling someone how you feel) for a future of knowing you’re an upstanding person who doesn’t hurt others to spare yourself. I’ve seen too many incidents of this happen with friends and clients. Don’t be a culprit, and I certainly hope you’re not a victim. Just be a good person, have fun with dating, and when it’s over, just have the courtesy to let the person you’re seeing in on your decision.

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Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people navigate the world of online dating, and author of Love at First Site.  Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.




Jewish Guy of the Week – Adam

unnamed (2)Want to recommend an outstanding leader to be featured on GTJ? Nominate him/her at

Rachel: So you’re from LA. What was your favorite part of living on the west coast?

Adam: Time seems to slow down on the west coast. It may be just that being on the west coast means I’m not at work, which tends to speed things up, but I think there’s something to it. Life seems to fly by whenever I’m somewhere else. Its something in the air I guess.

What brought you to DC and what do you love about it?

Adam: DC… the land of young professionals with IR backgrounds (if you don’t know what IR stands for, you don’t belong here). Like so many others I came to get a job in this field.

I love the constant supply of fun, usually free activities going around the city. You can find me at the concerts at the park, yoga on rooftops, drum circles, museum parties, festivals, and so on.

Rachel: We heard you served in Peace Corps in Ukraine. Could you tell us more about that?

Adam: Where to start!? I could say this: Peace Corps was an amazing, transformative experience in my life. Ukrainians are the nicest and most welcoming people I’ve ever met. They welcomed me  into their communities with open arms.

It was challenging at times. Definitely colder than the sunny California weather I grew up with. unnamedSomehow I managed to plan and teach seven classes a day, organize 3 English clubs, and pull off a seminar on teaching methodologies in my short time at site, so it was nice to see something kind of concrete come out of the whole experience.

My experience in Ukraine was unfortunately cut short. I was evacuated due to the conflict that broke out there. I hope I was able to make a difference, even if in a small way. I’ve gained personally tremendously in ways I could never possibly give back.

Rachel: You’re a Moishe resident and you run the House’s Hebrew Speakers’ Meetup.  What made you want to start that group and what’s it like?

Adam: So the group is just starting to form. I had my first event last month in our Moishe House Sukkah. It was awesome 100% because of the people that came. Five or Six bottles of Israeli wine and we were all singing songs in Hebrew and I suddenly became fluent. Or at least so I thought…

The inspiration behind it was simple. My mom is Israeli, so coming out to DC I really wanted to join a Hebrew club to practice my language skills. I did some research, and although there are some pretty
unnamed (1)awesome clubs out there, I didn’t find that right meet-up geared towards twenty-some-year olds, so I decided to start my own! This Sunday we’re having an Israeli movie night and an Israeli brunch on the 16th! Spread the word!

Rachel: What’s your favorite way to spend Shabbat?

Adam: With family and no plans in the world.

Rachel: What is your favorite Jewish food?

Adam: Mom’s Moroccan salmon. Not inherently Jewish, but it counts since we only have it on Shabbat!

Rachel: Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather…

Adam: The kevethching begins. 


Share Your Voice – GTJ Seeking Newsletter Contributors!


Gather the Jews is looking for volunteer contributors to our weekly newsletter! Want to cover local news, blog from Jewish events, share information about local Jewish businesses, or whatever’s on your mind?

E-mail Rachel to submit a piece or discuss possibilities!




Are You Obsessed with Online Dating? – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 96)

For many people, online dating is a means to an end. A person wants to, say, end up in a long-term relationship. So, he or she goes on a site like JDate or OkCupid or Coffee Meets Bagel, dates any number of people, truly connects with one, and decides to ultimately cancel his or her account. Success! (Of course, some people don’t want a long-term relationship, in which case, Tinder away!)

Then, there are other people who send messages day in and day out trying to see just how many dates they can line up. They know that if Monday’s date doesn’t work out, then Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s are right on the horizon. To be clear, I’m all for dating multiple

people to see who the best fit is, but once you find that person, cool it with the every-five-minute log-ins. As a college boyfriend of mine said at the ripe old age of 21, “There’s another bus around the corner.” As you might imagine, that’s not exactly what you want to hear from your significant other. Thanks, Geoff. ;)

If you are, in fact, looking for something serious or long-term, then you might want to assess whether you’re actually looking for the best mate for you (A-okay) or whether you’re kind of obsessed with the process of online dating, getting a case of “Grass is Greener Syndrome.”

A client of mine recently asked me this question:

“How do I manage two women and the launch of a promising relationship with one of them, while at the same time protecting myself if things don’t work out?

Things with Sherry (name changed) are really going well; we communicate all day and have several dates lined up. As she wrote, ‘I’m really looking forward to getting to know you to see if we have the basis for a long-term relationship. So far, so good.’ But there are no guarantees and I’ve been blindsided before.”

This happens all the time. Things are going well with one person, but you want to “protect” yourself in case it doesn’t pan out. How are people protecting themselves these days? They’re doing it with the shield of online dating. This shield provides the comfort that someone else (another bus, if you will) is out there for you should the budding romance not work out.

Many people use this online dating shield as a way of making themselves feel special again simply by logging back on to see the other eligible bachelors or bachelorettes. It makes them keep wondering if there is someone even better out there and often unable to recognize a great fit when that person may be sitting right next to them.

Online dating sites are not blind to this, either. While they, of course, want to promote their success stories, they also allow you to reactivate your account with one simple click. While that’s great if things don’t work out, it’s almost too easy to go back on “just to see,” or worse, out of spite.

Online dating is amazing for the options it provides—getting to meet people whose paths you wouldn’t normally cross—but I wouldn’t recommend using these options to the detriment of having a new relationship blossom, which is usually the goal to begin with! Wouldn’t you want to get off the site and not keep making plans to get back on?

My job is to help people put their best foot forward when online dating, either through working with me individually or through reading my book, but the job is supposed to have an end point—my client meeting someone with whom he or she is compatible. I don’t want you to online date forever! I want you to online date effectively so you can meet wonderful people, one of whom may just be exactly what you’re looking for.

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Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people navigate the world of online dating, and author of Love at First Site.  Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.




Jewish Girl of the Week – Ariella


Want to recommend an outstanding leader to be featured on GTJ? Nominate him/her at

Rachel: What brought you to DC? How long have you been here?

Ariella: My family moved here from Minnesota in 1988. I grew up in the area and went to college and grad school in DC. Currently, I teach in Montgomery County Public Schools and run a calligraphy business. My notes home to parents are impossible to forge!!

Rachel: What do you love to do in the city?

Ariella: Anything having to do with food or sports. I also love to  explore  different neighborhoods, go to concerts, museums, etc… when  I can, I  get out of the city to travel!

Rachel: We heard you’re co-chairing Reverse Mifgash.Could you tell us more about that?

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Ariella: YES! This November 3-12, Reverse Mifgash will bring 12 Israeli Taglit-Birthright Alumni for an unforgettable experience in DC. NEXT DC of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, my co-chairs Max and Rachel, and an amazing committee of DC-area Birthright alumni have worked hard to plan 10 full days of jam-packed fun! There are tons of events that GTJ’ers will love, including a volunteer project, Election Night Viewing party, a comedy night with Benji Lovitt, a special Shabbat experience at Sixth and I, and A Night of Israeli Music at Tropicalia on 14th Street. For more information and to register, click here.

I served on the RM committee two years ago, and I can tell you — whether you went on birthright or not — it is a series of events you definitely don’t want to miss! This year will be better than ever!!

unnamed (1)Rachel: What is your favorite Jewish food?

Ariella: Matzo Balls :)

Rachel: Who is the coolest Jew?

Ariella: This guy Joe. He’s a financial adviser who led the campaign to raise  the $200 million to create the U.S. Holocaust Memorial  Museum. Also, he  just happens to be my father, but I  promise I’m not biased! He’s the best, and  an inspiration to my involvement and growing leadership in the Jewish  community.

Rachel: Finish the sentence: When the Jews gather…

Ariella: The “Nelson France Fan Club” must be having a chapter meeting!


Don’t Miss Matisyahu’s Festival of Light at 9:30 Club (12/22)

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Check out Alex Care at 9:30 Club (12/18)

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GTJ named by Slingshot as one of Most Innovative DC Jewish Non-Profits!


Press Release: GTJ named by Slingshot as one of Most Innovative DC Jewish Non-Profits!


Slingshot Guide Highlights the Best of the Thriving Jewish Nonprofit World

Washington, DC – Gather the Jews (GTJ) has been named one of 18 leading Jewish organizations in the Greater Washington, DC area in the first-ever DC Edition of Slingshot: A Resource Guide for Jewish Innovation. The DC Edition was released today, alongside the tenth annual Slingshot Guide (Slingshot 2014-15), a Midwest Edition, and a supplement highlighting Jewish organizations that impact the lives of women and girls. The Slingshot DC Edition will help the selected organizations carry out their missions, as well as expand the resources available to volunteers, activists and donors looking for new opportunities and projects. 

More than 100 professionals with expertise in grant-making and Jewish communal life reviewed a competitive pool of proposals in order for to select the Slingshot to select the recipients. The DC Guide praises Gather the Jews: “With no denominational or political agenda, GTJ has emerged as the agreed-upon atlas for the DC Jewish community.” Organizations included in this year’s Washington, DC Edition were evaluated on their innovative approach, the impact they have in their work, the leadership they have in their sector, and their effectiveness at achieving results. 

“Gather the Jews is honored to be among the 18 organizations included in this brand new edition,” said Rachel Gildiner, Gather the Jews’ new director. “The organizations highlighted in Slingshot’s Washington, DC Edition represent the many ways that Jewish life in DC is thriving. Gather the Jews, which began as a local grassroots effort and maintains its grassroots mission, is thrilled that Slingshot has chosen to highlight the amazing work of organizations in the Washington, DC area. We are proud to now be part of the community of innovative organizations that have benefited from the Slingshot Guide over the last ten years.” 

The DC Edition was supported through a generous partnership with the Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies.  Simone Friedman Rones, Executive Director of the Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies, said, “One of our goals was to highlight the exciting Jewish projects happening here in the Washington, DC region. Without a doubt, DC is one of the centers of gravity for Jewish innovation. The Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies is providing a grant for every program in the guide this year, and our hope is that our friends in the community will join us in supporting those programs that speak to them.” 

To increase the impact of the Guide, the Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies is sponsoring several launch events in Washington, DC. These events, happening October 19th to October 22nd, engage DC area Jewish professionals, college students, and young adults in workshops about innovation and philanthropy. Event participants will have the opportunity to allocate grants of approximately $500-$1,000 to organizations featured in the Washington, DC edition of Slingshot.

Julie Finkelstein, Associate Director of Slingshot, said, “While innovative organizations based in DC have been listed in the national Slingshot guide before, we are excited to publish a resource that better demonstrates the depth and breadth of DC’s Jewish innovation. Our upcoming events are a way to engage the many stakeholders in DC Jewish life that may not yet know about the amazing things happening in the community.”   

Being listed in the Guide is often a critical step for organizations to attain funding and expand their work. Selected organizations are eligible for grants from various DC-based networks of young donors. These donors, who represent the next generation of philanthropists, are focused on identifying and advancing causes that resonate with their peers. The Guide is a frequently used resource for donors seeking to support organizations transforming the world in novel and interesting ways.

About the Slingshot Guide

The Slingshot Guide, now in its tenth year, was created by a team of young funders as a guidebook to help funders of all ages diversify their giving portfolios to include the most innovative and effective organizations, programs and projects in North America. The Guide contains information about each organization’s origin, mission, strategy, impact and budget, as well as details about its unique character. The Slingshot Guide has proven to be a catalyst for next generation funding and offers a telling snapshot of shifting trends in North America’s Jewish community – and how nonprofits are meeting new needs and reaching new audiences. The book, published annually, is available in hard copy and as a free download at

About Gather the Jews

Gather the Jews (GTJ) facilitates Jewish life in Washington, DC for singles and couples (in their 20s and 30s) by serving as a portal for up-to-date and accurate information about the city’s robust offerings of Jewish social, religious, and learning opportunities. GTJ connects Jews to organizations, organizations to Jews, and Jews to one another. GTJ has been the preeminent resource for young adults seeking a connection to DC Jewish life through information provided on its website, a 4,500+ person listserv, and monthly happy hours. GTJ emphasizes its role as a resource and partner to communal organizations and individuals.  

This year, GTJ will usher in a bold new phase for DC Jewish young adults by creating a relationship-based model to enable individuals to further explore their Jewish connections and create community within the robust offerings of DC. Using relationship-based engagement, GTJ will expand its platform through which individuals can connect to each other, connect with Jewish institutions, and create their own Jewish lives based on personal interests and desires. GTJ will provide high-quality training and professional development for young Jewish adults, with the intention of enhancing the social fabric of Jewish life in DC and helping DC become an exceptionally dynamic and inclusive city for Jewish life.   


A Fall Guide To Produce At Local Farmers’ Markets – From

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASukkot is a time for harvest and hosting! Check out this great guide to local farmers’ markets and the best seasonal produce.

Photo by Jordan Anthony-Brown.


Stylish Suggestions For Your Sukkah

SukkahLooking for some interesting ways to spice up your sukkah this year?  Check out these creative ideas on Pinterest.


Online Dating Emails – Your Questions Answered

When you’re in my line of work, you get all kinds of dating questions, ranging from how to contact someone before the date to when it’s appropriate to call yourselves exclusive… and everything in between (and I do mean everything).  Many of these questions revolve around the emailing process on the various online dating sites.  Let’s take a peek at some of them:

Question: Some of the emails are obvious that I will not be answering, but I’m wondering what I should do about winks and the emails that are not so obvious what to do with. For example, several guys wrote something to the effect of this: “You seem interesting. Write me.” How do you recommend that I handle those? ~ Cheryl, 37, Arlington, VA

Answer: For the ones who either wink or write short messages, it’s up to you whether to write/respond after reading their profiles. If they sound appealing, it can’t hurt to respond. On the one hand, maybe they are just lazy by doing that, and on the other, maybe they’re clueless as to how this thing works, too. The good ones will send (or respond with) an email showing that they at least read some part of your profile. Or, you could always prompt them with something like, “Thanks so much for writing! I’m curious to know what piqued your interest in my profile.” Then, they’ll either answer that question or they won’t.

Question: A problem I’m currently having with guys is the “date follow-through.” Guys will ask me out on a date online, usually saying something like “Let’s get drinks next week.” I say something like, “That sounds great. I’m free on Tuesday and Thursday after work around 6:30.” Then sometimes, they don’t get back to me. Or (in the case of the one guy I had a great date with) he said, “Let’s hang out this week.” I gave him my schedule in the same way as above. Then he tells me that he’s busy this week. I say, “Maybe the weekend.” Two days later and no response.

I think that I might be too forward with guys. I’m a very forward and direct person in general and have to make sure that I limit this trait because guys want to be in control. When guys casually ask me out on a date online, is there a better way to make it happen without scaring them off by being too forward? ~ Chelsea, 23, Washington, D.C.

Answer: You actually remind me of myself in terms of being a planner, and there is nothing wrong with that—it’s just your personality. Doesn’t it annoy you when a guy doesn’t follow through or drops the ball? Well, if it annoys you now after one date or even before the date, it’ll annoy you throughout life. So, rather than changing your tactic (giving two choices, like Tuesday or Thursday, as you said, is what I would recommend as well because it tells him when you’re free but ultimately lets him pick the final date), it’s more about finding a mature guy who actually takes the lead and doesn’t just casually ask you out with no intention of putting something on the calendar.

If you do want to soften it a little, you could say, “That sounds great. Tuesday or Thursday might work for me if that works for you.” It’s a little less forward and more “cool” with the word “might” in there and removing the time (after 6:30). But, to be honest, the way you responded was more than appropriate.

Question: It’s been my experience that women sometimes read into things that men simply don’t. For example, if a guy sends an intro email at 2:30 AM, it may be perceived in a negative context… something along the lines of “what is this idiot doing up at 2:30AM on a Tuesday?” Is there a good, or should I say politically correct, time to be sending these things? ~ Matt, 37, Washington, D.C.

Answer: It’s true—people (although, it’s both men and women) read into things that we shouldn’t sometimes. I’d try to email back at night (maybe before midnight) to make things look a little more “normal.” But if that stops a woman from responding, that’s just silly.

Any other burning questions?  Feel free to leave them in the comments!

Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people navigate the world of online dating, and author of Love at First Site. Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.


Help Jewish International End Domestic Violence

1 in 4 women are affected by Domestic Violence. You have until midnight of Thursday, October 3rd, to donate to JWI’s Purple Purple Challenge and make a difference. Help women receive the tools they need to rebuild their lives.

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