Find your Inner Olympian

Sue Bird

As it hits Day 4 of the Olympics, most of the talk has been surrounding the USA swim and gymnastics teams, and whether or not they are competing at the level that many people want them to.

But let us focus on athletes who have not gotten as much attention–mainly the USA Women’s Basketball team and, for us here at the DCJCC, one of the players, Sue Bird.

Sue Bird, who currently plays for the WNBA team Seattle Storm,  holds a dual citizenship to both the USA and Israel.  The USA Women’s national team has so far cruised in their first two games of the preliminary rounds.

Aly Raisman

Not only do we have Sue Bird to root for, but  in the Women’s Gymnastics team final, we have yet another athlete to cheer for: Aly Raisman, who is competing for Olympic gold tonight and in the next few days for the All-Around Gold medal in gymnastics.  In this year and years past, many Jewish athletes have medaled in the Olympic games.

Join us here at the DCJCC as we start our very own fitness challenge next week–we’ll walk, bike, run and swim the length of England to meet our athletes at the games.

Find your inner Olympian!

Send a Tu B’av Card to Someone You Love!

Tu B’Av (the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Av) is the Israeli-Jewish “Day of Love.”  The closest thing to Valentine’s Day in the Jewish calendar, this ancient holiday occurs in late July or early August. This year Tu B’Av falls out on Friday, August 3.

Jewish tradition relates how millennia ago, on the 15th of Av, the “daughters of Jerusalem” dressed in white and danced in the vineyards to entice the young men. In recent years, Tu B’Av has experienced a revival, especially in Israel, with weddings, singles events and gifts and a flurry of flowers, chocolates and hearts.

In celebration of the Jewish Day of Love, the DCJCC invited the community to compete in a Tu B’Av Greeting Card contest. Congratulations to Rachel Scheer for her winning design! Rachel will enjoy a romantic dinner for two at the Distrikt Bistro.

Click on the greeting card image below to send a card to someone you love!



Shabbat Surfing: Olympics

Today marks the first day of the 2012 Summer Olympics. The Olympic Games can be traced back to 776 B.C.E , where they were held for nearly 12 centuries before being banned due to their pagan roots. The first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896 and have evolved and grown ever since.

Tisha B’Av is also this weekend. At the same time when the Jewish community will be participating in communal mourning of the destruction of the Temple and the loss of thousands, the 11 Israeli athletes killed 40 years ago at the 1972 Munich Games will also be on many people’s minds–official recognition or not.

Looking back to more uplifting Olympic moments, this story of the 1936 US Olympic rowing team certainly highlights a proud achievement in the face of adversity. Called the “high spot” of the Games by sportswriter Grantland Rice, it must have been an especially uplifting moment for the USA as a group of college rowers from the University of Washington came from behind to defeat Germany as Hitler and other Nazi officials looked on.

And lastly, if you were ever curious about Jewish Olympic athletic prowess here is a list of all Jewish Olympic medalists. Feel free to tally up the total number of golds, silvers and bronzes.

Shabbat Shalom!

So long DC!

With my Avodah year of service just about done, I wanted to send a quick note and thank you to those who have supported and encouraged me throughout the year.  Erica and Randy, keep up the excellent work!  You are both incredibly inspiring and a joy to work with.  I have been fortunate to spend my Avodah placement at the DCJCC, where I am able to combine my interests in service, community development, and religion.  This year I wanted to explore social justice issues in the nation’s capital, while repairing and rebuilding low-income family housing, public schools, and other community spaces.  And in working with shelters, at-risk families, or the chronically hungry, this year has empowered and enabled me to do just that as we improve the health and quality of life of individuals suffering from poverty.  Preparing several thousand servings of food at Everything But The Turkey, celebrating December 25th Day of Service, making MLK Day 2012 a day on and not a day off, or just debating the merits of quinoa with my nine other roommates, I will always carry this work and this year with me.  

Cheers,
Danny

 

Danny Obeler spent the last year in Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps working in the Morris Cafritz Center for Community Service’s Behrend Builders program.

Michael Chabon on Writing

“Writing for me grows out of reading. When I was a child I wanted to become a writer because I loved to read so much. I loved the books I was reading so intensely that I wanted to make my own.” -Michael Chabon

In this intimate video, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author delves further into his origins as a writer, focusing on his first real writing studio, a cramped crawlspace of a work room in his mother’s house.

His latest novel, Telegraph Avenue,  comes out on September 11, and we’re so excited to be hosting him on October 14 as Opening Night of the Hyman S. and Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival! Tickets go on sale September 1.

Podcast: Etgar Keret and Nathan Englander

On May 1 the DCJCC’s year-round literary series Authors Out Loud presented Etgar Keret and Nathan Englander in conversation. It was a truly magical evening–the wish fulfillment of every book-lover who’s ever wanted to eavesdrop on two epic literary talents (and friends) talking life and literature. It was the event of a lifetime, and lucky for you, we recorded it!

Right click and “save link as” to download as an MP3
Or listen online here

“It’s Not Just for Jews Anymore!”

Grace here. I recently saw this posting on Craigslist:

“Anyone out there interested in catching the History of Invulnerability at Theatre J tomorow night, on 16th at about P, NW?

… Me: 41, fit, attractive, well-traveled, multiply degreed, floss my teeth, cut my toenails blah de blah. also certified shiksa..this play comes highly recommended by a friend…

if interested write and tell me a little about yourself. as a convo starter, will note last book i read and enjoyed was Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84. You???”

The thing that disturbed me about this posting was the part where she said she’s a “certified shiksa”coming to Theater J because the play was recommended by a friend. The implication there is that her ‘shiksa’ status would have prevented her from coming to the J (were it not for her friend’s recommendation) suggests that she perceived Theater J  as a place primarily for Jews.

That is so last century…

JCC stands for Jewish Community Center, yes, but let’s not forget that central word: Community. If you live or work in DC, regardless of your religion, come on in–you’re part of the community! As a theater staff (half of whom are not Jewish, by the way), we strive to create plays that appeal to a universal audience.

With the immortal words of  Neil Patrick Harris’s deliciously satirical opening number of the 2012 Tony Awards, we learned that Broadway’s “not just for gays anymore!” So let me take up his tuneful cry and add my own rejoinder, “Theater J: It’s not just for Jews anymore!”

 

Everything’s Coming Up Guthrie!

Woody Guthrie Makes Front Page News in the Washington Post (Take that, TomKat!)

 

Shabbat Surfing: When the Lights Went Out in DC

While Europe was discovering the power of the universe with the Higgs boson breakthrough, back here in DC, many of us spent days without power in the aftermath of the storm – including a simcha or two that went forward even without electricity.

If the storm had you all shaken up, that’s okay, as we learn in the Arty Semite’s post this week, because Jews are awesome at anxiety – recognizing it, dramatizing it, grasping it, differentiating it, talking about it, and even dealing with it.

Dan Fishback, who joined us last year at the Washington Jewish Music Festival, is taking that anxiety and putting it to productive use in The Material World, which “features an anachronistic cast of neurotic Jews, all trying to save the planet. (…) And unlike other pop musicals about Madonna and socialism, this play has scenes in Yiddish.”

For those still feeling unsettled and needing more assurances about the future, Jewcy has begun prognosticating, introducing Jewcy Horoscopes, and explaining the Jewish astrological tradition, which has been around for centuries, apparently.

Since my horoscope is warning against ruining things by over-analyzing, I’ll sign off with a final Shabbat wish: may your A/C be humming, your summer salads be chilly, your swimming pools open for everyone.

 

Recipes: Israel’s Summer Salads

From the desk of Jean Graubart, Director of Jewish Living and Learning

As we head into early summer, the idea of turning on an oven (or even a stove top, for that matter) is almost unthinkable. Besides ice cream in every form, size and shape, salads are the only food that make sense. So I have leafed through my many recipes, especially those I have enjoyed at friend’s and family’s homes here and in Israel, and I am picturing the wonderful Asian produce stores I frequent when in San Francisco. The combination of the vivid colors and the tastes from so many memories are inspiring me to shop for and cook a whole meal of salads.

All I need is for my power to come back on to keep my vegetables chilled and my house cool, so that when I put the salads on the bright summer table with fresh flowers and colorful dishes, they will stay crisp and tasty. Right now they would droop and sag, but I can dream.

Trips to Israel are filled with delicious salad dishes. Enjoy these and taste the flavors of the middle east, knowing they are being enjoyed at tables all across Israel. There is a repeat of many of the vegetables in each dish, making shopping easy and flavors blending.

Serve with grilled meat or fish or as a meal itself, and don’t forget the pita.

B’teyavon!

Moroccan Carrot Salad

1 pound bag of whole carrots (organic are just so much sweeter), peeled and cut into thick round circles
1 bunch of flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
Cumin to taste
Salt to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
2 cloves garlic minced

Blanch the carrots for 3 minutes in boiling water
Drain in cold water
Mix in oil, lemon juice, garlic, and spices
Add finely chopped parsley
Mix and chill before serving

Mixed Veggie  Salad

1 large hothouse cucumber or 4 Persian cucumbers
4 large ripe tomatoes on the vine or 6 roma tomatoes
4 scallions (green onions)
Handful of red radishes or large daikon radish (white and spicier)
2 avocados, firm and ripe
2 bell peppers (use different colors, green, red, yellow or orange)
4 medium dill pickles
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped
4 tablespoons fresh mint chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste.

Dice all the vegetables into small pieces and put in bowl with greens of choice (mint, parsley, cilantro) and Toss together
Add oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper and toss.
Chill and serve

Tunisian Cherry Tomato Salad with Basil

2 small baskets of cherry tomatoes cut in half
10 chopped basil leaves
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of roasted shelled pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoon shelled and roasted sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons roasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil

Place tomatoes in bowl
Warm oil in a frying pay and add seeds and nuts to brown
Add garlic
Mix with tomatoes and add salt and chopped basil
Chill

Green Salad

1 bunch of parsley
1 bunch cilantro
10 leaves basil
10 mint leaves
4 green onions, white and green parts
1 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 ½ lemons
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup roasted cashews chopped

Roughly chop the greens
Place in a bowl and season
Add cashews when serving

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