The Team

Aaron Potek is the community rabbi for Gather the Jews, a hyperlocal organization in DC that engages Jewish 20s and 30s. He was ordained at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School in New York, and he served as the campus rabbi for Northwestern University before moving to DC. He has worked as an educator for many different Jewish organizations including Hunter Hillel, Harvard Hillel, Nesiya Institute, Genesis, Impact:Boston, and Sydney’s Moriah College. Besides being angsty about Judaism, he loves tennis, improv, music and deep talks. 


Michele Freed thrives when outside - outside in the outdoors and outside of her comfort zone. She loves to meet new people, deepen existing relationships, and bring friends together to do good things for our world.  After graduating from the University of Michigan Michele moved to Washington, D.C. about 9 months ago to work for the Schusterman Family Foundation. Outside of her role at the Foundation, you might catch her on a soccer field, playing Bananagrams over tea with friends, or petting a stranger's dog. 


Brandon Mond is a native born Texan (raised in Dallas and schooled in Austin) who currently finds himself in Washington DC. Some have described him as liberal but we aren't sure if that is a description of his political affiliation or the way he pours his shots. He enjoys learning about the intersection of politics, prophetic Judaism, and breakfast tacos. 



Mary Ann Weiss is originally from New York City, but has been a sort of vagabond for the past few years. Since graduating from a small liberal arts school in New York (where the unofficial major was forest drum circling), Mary Ann moved from Nicaragua to Copenhagen to Denver, and now happily calls D.C. home. Mary Ann's favorite hobbies include being in nature, urban hiking, snowboarding, listening to podcasts, eating cheese, traveling and of course, Jewish learning. 



Jackie Zais was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, surrounded by her large family and 20 first cousins. She is a graduate of Brandeis University, where she studied anthropology and psychology. After her dreams of moving to New York were crushed, she settled in DC where she lives with a roommate and dying plants. At Gather the Jews, she loves meeting new people and helping them make new connections to their Jewish DC. When not in the office, you can catch her reading in the zoo or cooking a feast for friends.


Facilitation team from the inaugural Beyond the Tent Retreat July 2016

Facilitation team from the inaugural Beyond the Tent Retreat July 2016