I hate to say it, but finding Jewish singles to date in San Francisco isn’t an easy task. The Jewish community in the Bay Area isn’t as large as New York or LA, making it easy to feel like your dating options are limited when you’re focused solely on meeting Jewish men and women. So you can image how thrilled I was when Rabbi Shmulik Friedman and his wife Tzippy of the San Francisco SOMA Shul suggested that I help them host an “Exclusive Singles Shabbat Dinner” to kick off Valentine’s Day weekend. This was the perfect opportunity for us to bring together a group of young, Jewish, single professionals in the Bay Area to mix and mingle offline.
As Tzippy says, “My husband, Rabbi Shmulik and I are constantly meeting single, talented, ambitious men and women through our once-a-month happy hours, weekly services and personal Shabbat dinners. After the end of each night, we discuss who would be a potential soulmate for whom. Finally, while discussing the topic of the ‘dating Jewish guys crisis’ with my two girlfriends, Jessica and Rachel, we decided to let people match themselves up by hosting an Exclusive Singles Shabbat Dinner with 20 men and 20 women!”
Not only was our singles dinner a success, we gained some insights on what can happen when Jewish singles in San Francisco come together. Here are 5 things I noticed:
#1. Icebreakers Actually Do Help “Break The Ice.”
It might sound cheesy to include icebreakers at a singles event, but preparing a game or an activity actually does help people open up and want to engage with another. During our Shabbat dinner, for example, we decided to place a brown paper box filled with photos of random images like animals, furniture, food, etc. on each table. Everyone in the room had to reach in, choose a picture and then stand up and explain how that image relates to them. My personal favorite came from a man who had chosen a banana. He mentioned that just like the image, he has a big banana (this got a lot of laughs). I also enjoyed the remark from a woman with a picture of a gem who noted that she was a “diamond in the rough.” Once the icebreaker had ended, everyone seemed more confident and excited to meet one another.
#2. Jewish Men In SF Want To Meet Jewish Women.
I’ve never been to a singles event in San Francisco where the men actually showed up before the women. As soon as the Shabbat dinner started, almost all of the men were present. Some were even eager to help us set up the last-minute details (bonus points to them). It was certainly refreshing to see the majority of men arrive on time, as it seemed like most of them were excited to meet and make a good impression on the women attendees. Props to the Jewish single men of SF!
#3. Have A Sip Of Wine, It’s Shabbat!
Of course, it’s not necessary to have a drink during a singles event, but I must admit that after a glass of wine or two, men and women seem more comfortable with getting up and talking to one another. As soon as our guests had arrived, I encouraged people to open the wine bottles on the tables and have a drink. I noticed that people started mingling more. Unfortunately, we ran out of wine during dinner, so next time we will be sure to be fully stocked. (Tip: Always be sure to have enough drinks!)
#4. Singles Are Also Looking To Make New Friends.
I only knew one person when I first moved to San Francisco. Making friends was a must, but working full time didn’t really allow me to meet people outside of the office. I soon started attending events on the weekends and going on dates regularly. While most of the dates didn’t turn into anything romantic, I ended up making some great guy friends. Also, I met some of my closest girlfriends through events that I’ve attended. That being said, another reason we hosted the Shabbat dinner was simply to help men and women in the Jewish community make new friends. I met a ton of awesome girls and some really sweet guys that evening, all who would make awesome friends.
#5. It’s Important To Ask For Phone Numbers.
As soon as our singles Shabbat dinner started, I got up and announced to everyone that if they met someone who they were interested in, to ask for their phone number. It’s never any fun going to a singles event, meeting someone you truly connect with and then leaving without getting his/her phone number because you were too shy to ask. Don’t connect on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn if you are actually looking to spend more time with a person. Trust me, getting someone’s phone number goes a long way. It shows that you are confident enough to give him/her a call in the near future. And FYI – stop texting all the time!
A Great “Singles” Experience
Overall, the best part about hosting a Jewish singles event in San Francisco is that it helps raise awareness for the Bay Area Jewish community. Sure, there aren’t as many Jewish men and women in SF as there are in New York or LA. There are, however, more than a few great catches just waiting to be swept off their feet. Just remember, before going to your next singles event you should be open to meeting new people, arrive on time, don’t be afraid to have a glass of wine, understand that sometimes friends are the best option and finally, be sure to get that special someone’s phone number before it’s too late!
Huge mitzvah points to you Rachel, I was glad to hear that you/ the SOMA shul community had put this event on, and even happier to hear that it was a success! Congrats!
How does someone get invited to these dinners and do you ever have them for older Jewish singles?