Halloween Fun and Do You Believe In Magic?

This delectable spread magically disappeared by the end of our discussion / photo taken by Rachel Mauro

This delectable spread magically disappeared by the end of our discussion / photo taken by Rachel Mauro

In my quest to find a Jewish way to spend Halloween (other than the obvious, of course—observing Shabbat,) I was most enthused to try my hand at Sixth & I’s latest dialogue program Thursday night. Co-sponsored with the newest tribe magazine, Guilt & Pleasure, and local Heeb hangout, Moishe House DC, this event brought GWU professor, Gayle Wald, to a group of young professionals for a moderated discussion on magic, superstition, and spirituality.

Due to the intimate roundtable setting, I didn’t go about snapping my camera, but here’s a pic of the food. For an event where we were just promised “wine and cheese,” there were four cheeses, Israeli wine, Twizzlers, hot cocoa, cupcakes, donut holes and more. Complimentary copies of Guilt and Pleasure were available for our perusal as well. I was certainly impressed; huggles to you all!

The two-hour conversation was lively and engaging. Though participants didn’t linger on the issue of magic for that long, we touched on various intellectual pursuits—including physics, anthropology and philosophy. We talked about “old country” superstitions, controversial rituals like circumcision, the place of God in Judaism, and the labeling of “fringe” societies as witches or that ilk. Hopefully all little girls dressed up in black will get extra candies from these folks tomorrow. 😛

But beyond my glibness, I must give my kudos to a fascinating discussion conducted by my own peers. I am always grateful to Sxith & I for providing such a pluralistic environment where young Jewish professionals can show our true passion and brainpower.

In other news of applauding this organization, InterfaithFamily.com has just re-published Washington Jewish Week’s article on the synagogue opening its doors to a multicultural and multiracial congregation. It’s always so heartwarming to read of Jews finding a spiritual home!  Check out the Jewish Multiracial Network for more on this underrepresented sub-group within our culture.

For those of you celebrating, happy Halloween, and to all of you, Shabbat Shalom!

Upcoming Events: October 26-November 1

Shavua Tov! Below, I’ve compiled a list of Jewish events I’ve found to be going on next week. Hope you had a nice Shabbat. Please feel free to comment with any others, and I will add them. See you around town!

Sunday, October 26

Election ’08: Agenda? What Agenda?

Congregation Olam Tikvah Blood Drive

Hadassah Book and Author Luncheon

B’nai Israel’s Men’s Club Health Fair

JewishROC Oral Law Seminar

NextGen NeXus Program

JCCGW’s Building Israel: A Family Workshop

The Coming of Israeli Environmental Revolution

Monday, October 27

Rita Moreno in Concert

Ethics and War Reading Series

YPK Trivia Night at Fado

Reflections on Israel

Lawyers, Lunch and Learn Program

Introduction to Judaism

Deep Ancestry: Inside the Geographic Project with Spencer Wells

Tuesday, October 28

Doing the Right Thing: Jewish Ethics in the Modern World

Grandma’s Favorites: Chicken and Knishes

Jewish Stories for Younger Children

Variations Ladino: A Voyage into the Heart of Judeo-Spanish Heritage

From the Bible to Broadway: Thee Thousand Years of Jewish Music with Barry Serota

Wednesday, October 29

Yael Naim Concert


Jewish Cultures Around the Globe

Author David Grossman Event

The Two Faces of Jihad

Jewish Writer’s Circle: Write Your Own Novel This Year

Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation Pre-Election Program

Seek the Peace of Jerusalem: Choral Concert

Psalms Through the Fall

Thursday, October 30

Interfaith Couples Workshop: Winter Session

Jewish Twenties and Thirties Halloween Party

Do You Believe in Magic?

The Jewish Origins of the Israeli Army Lecture

Real Estate Affinity Boat Cruise

Israel Bonds Women’s Division Fall Event

Friday, October 31

Halloween Graveyard Jam

Saturday, November 1

Temple Beth Emet Shabbat Services at Sixth & I

Blogging for Examiner.com!

In this quest to further myself as writer/Jew/Web extraordinaire person, I have been accepted as Examiner.com’s D.C. Jewish Life blogger! You can find my page here. (Remember to click long and often cos that’s how I get paid! :P)

I’m excited to see what I can do with this! As I’ve stated on this blog before, my main goal is to serve the D.C. Jewish community, without which I would not have a platform to write at all. ❤ Please let me know what you want to hear about, both here and on Examiner.com.

Shabbat Shalom to you all!

Crossposted in part to Spring Awakening.

Three Martinis and Simchat Torah

Young professionals schmooze over snacks and martinis / photo taken by Rachel Mauro

Young professionals schmooze over snacks and martinis / photo taken by Rachel Mauro

On Tuesday evening, Jews around the world celebrated Simchat Torah, “Rejoicing in the Torah,” which commemorates the completion of the annual reading of the five Books of Moses. D.C.’s Adas Israel kicked it off in style with dancing, a children’s sing-along, and socializing for young adults.

The Three Martinis New Year’s Celebration is where hundreds of members of YP@AI gathered for food and drink. Beyond a sampling of chips, brownies and other snacks, we had our choice between three multicolored fruit martinis—apple, pomegranate, and citron. I tried the first, which was appropriately tinged bright green. 😛

The Torah makes its rounds through the party / photo taken by Rachel Mauro

The Torah makes it's rounds through the party / photo taken by Rachel Mauro

An hour and a half into our revelry, the clergy of Adas Israel weaved its way in, holding aloft a few Torahs like the one pictured here. They invited us to join the rest of the congregation in traditional singing and dancing to herald in this religious cycle. The festivities were rambunctious, including adults, children and everyone in between. Several Torahs were passed between participants for each boisterous song. I left after only a half hour or so, but the party was still goin’ strong!

For more information on YP@AI, contact Elie Greenberg at yp@adasisrael.org. I hope that all Jews reading this had a joyous holiday.

Upcoming Events: October 19-25

Shavua Tov! Below, I’ve compiled a list of Jewish events I’ve found to be going on next week. Hope you had a nice Shabbat. Please feel free to comment with any others, and I will add them. See you around town!

Sunday, October 19-Tuesday, October 21

Reel Affirmations Video Hosting for the D.C. Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Sunday, October 19

Making Strides Against Cancer Walk

B’nai Israel Men’s Club Political Forum

Beth El’s Political Forum

“Secular Humanistic Judaism: Its Ideals, Heritage, Practices, and Potential.” Lecture by Machar Rabbi Binyamin Biber

Jews United for Justice Heschel Vision Awards

Sheldon Low Concert at Temple B’nai Shalom

Yachad Pottery Painting 2008

Monday, October 20

Hadassah Training Wheels Program

Active Retirees Program at Sha’are Shalom

Congregation Olam Tikvah’s lunch in the sukkah

Jewish Literature Lecture at American University

Tuesday, October 21-Wednesday, October 22- Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah

Tuesday, October 21

Three Martinis New Year’s Celebration

Thursday, October 23

Presidential Forum

Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington Concert in Memory of Daniel Pearl

Friday, October 24

Shabbat with Cantor Larry Paul and Robyn Helzner

Saturday, October 25

Temple Beth Emet Shabbat Services

Jewish Study Center Shul Hopping

Sukkah Hop Around Washington, D.C.!

Dozens of young professionals gathered on Saturday evening for a lively Sukkot event put on by the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, Washington Hebrew Congregation, DCJCC’s GesherCity, and Birthright Israel Next. Lasting from 8 p.m. to midnight, we got to say prayers and shake the lulav, learn about the latest events put on by D.C.’s Jewish young professionals groups, and of course, imbibe in a variety of delicious food and drink, including Chinese, chips and salsa, desserts, sangria, and more. An optional after-party followed at Townhouse Tavern.

A special kudos to the bus drivers who shuttled us around to the three sukkahs that you can see below! And of course, none of this would have been possible without the responsible staffers who kept us on track even after a second or third round of drinks. Their dedication and care is amazing, and I hope it aided to everyone having a great time. I certainly did!

The pictures below are from Sixth & I, Washington Hebrew Congregation, and the DCJCC respectively. You can check them out through the end of Sukkot (Shemini Atzeret) this Tuesday!

Sixth & I Historic Synagogue's Sukkah / photo taken by Rachel Mauro Washington Hebrew Congregation's Sukkah / photo taken by Rachel Mauro The Washington, D.C. Jewish Community Center's Sukkah / photo taken by Rachel Mauro

Upcoming Events: October 12-18

Shavua Tov! Below, I’ve compiled a list of Jewish events I’ve found to be going on next week. Hope you had a nice Shabbat. Please feel free to comment with any others, and I will add them. See you around town!

Sunday, October 12

Young Professionals Kesher goes to the Maryland Renaissance Festival

Community Leadership and Engagement Summit

GLOE’s Come OUT and Decorate the Sukkah

Monday, October 13

Vanessa Ochs: Midrash, Now and Then

Tuesday, October 14-Monday, October 20: Sukkot!

Read more about this holiday:

Tuesday, October 14

Olam Tikvah Tot Sukkot Service

Wednesday, October 15

Jewish Seated Twenties and Thirties Four Minute Dating

Thursday, October 16

Legacy Benefactor Lunch at the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington

Talking Politics with the editors of The New Republic

Jewish Federation of Greater Washington Health and Professionals Program

Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation Pre-Election Program

Sukkot and Social Justice: :earning and Doing in Washington, D.C.

Friday, October 17

Congregation Sha’are Shalom Sukkot Festival Dinner

Dinner in the Sukkah: Ruach Minyan at Adas Israel

Saturday, October 18

DC Metro Sukkah Hop

Temple Beth Emet Shabbat services at Sixth & I

Gaby Meyer Shabbat Performance at Am Kolel