The Team

Rabbi Aaron Potek is the Community Rabbi at GatherDC. He loves to help people find new ways to think about Jewish identity, understand themselves, and process the world around them. There are many ways to be Jewish, and he wants to help you find a path that works for you. When Reb Aaron isn’t meeting with community members, hosting a Mini Gathering, or leading GatherDC’s Beyond the Tent experience, he’s making people laugh at an improv show, or being active on the tennis court or hiking trail.


Leah Donnella is from Philadelphia, PA, (home to the 2017 Superbowl champs and the 2018 NBA champs.) By day she works for NPR’s Code Switch team, where she tells stories about race, identity and culture. She also runs a racial advice column called “Ask Code Switch,” but will happily dole out unsolicited advice on other topics. By night, Leah is a big fan of gardening, grocery shopping, and gentle exercise.  

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Mark Nathanson has been in the DC area for just over 3 years now. He was born and raised in Baltimore, so is quite familiar with the DMV. He currently works at the University of Maryland (Go Terps!) and loves spending his free time outside whether that involves training for a marathon or backpacking in the Rockies. If he is not running around DC or having deep conversations around a campfire, you might find him hosting Shabbat dinner or booking a spontaneous trip because "you just can't say no to a flight deal."  He is excited to facilitate for the sixth Beyond the Tent! 


Joseph Schuman is an innovator, change agent, capital B builder, and LinkedIn buzzword aficionado. By day, he works to help startups collaborate with the Department of Defense. By night, he releases his political angst on his civil discourse blog FixPnyx. He can otherwise be found backpacking, reading non-fiction, and playing piano while singing painfully out of tune. Joe is a self-appointed GatherDC Platinum Member, having participated in Mini Gathers, Aaron’s Wednesday night discussions, and Beyond the Tent. He always laughs at Rabbi Aarons jokes because they are very funny. He was not paid to say that.


Jackie Zais is the Community Engagement Director at GatherDC. Jackie helps facilitate the programs our community has come to know and love. Every day, she gets to meet and connect amazing people in DC, dream up new ideas for our community, meet people for coffee, and help build vibrant Jewish life here in DC. When she’s not crushing it at the GatherDC office or grabbing coffee with community members, you can catch her reading at the zoo, cooking a feast for friends, or making hysterical pop culture references that make every conversation a little more awesome.