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Being young, Jewish and single is not what it used to be. There is no longer a place for meddling mothers, nosy neighbors or even a shadchan (matchmaker); and Internet dating should definitely be laid by the wayside, as culture-inspired, social events and volunteering opportunities take top spot as a new way of finding your bashert (soulmate) – or at least connecting with other young singles.
With this purpose in mind, Drachim Young Professionals is offering young Jews from around the world, in the 20 to 30 age bracket, a seat at its Tel Aviv Seder table tonight, in what will be the group’s launch event.
The more than 50 attending participants – from places as diverse as Australia, the UK, South America and of course Israel – will sit around one long table in order to promote interaction and discussion.
“We’re trying to create a place where young Jews can gather and experience Israel in a more meaningful way, and so we hold events combining these aspects – what it means to be Jewish and [to be] in Israel,” says Drachim founder Jessica Rosenraich, who made aliya from the United States 18 months ago.
“The specific purpose of Pessah is unity and community and people coming together, so what better place to do this than in Tel Aviv – [the cultural, religious and social melting pot of Israel],” she says.
Carol Dweck, a recent olah from London, England, who will be participating in the Drachim Seder, says she was attracted by the event’s social-cultural aspect, and will be attending with some friends.
“I was deciding what to do for Pessah, and I was going to go and spend it with my family here, but then I realized that I’m here to meet new people and do new things, and I liked what the organization believes in – in bringing all kinds of Jews together to have meaningful experiences in Israel,” she says.
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“The message behind Drachim is obviously deeper – it’s not really being marketed as a singles event – it’s more just young people coming together. Also there will be loads of people coming from abroad who wouldn’t necessarily be looking for a long distance relationship, but then you never know.”
Dan Abram, an oleh from Los Angeles, California, says that looking for love is not his specific intention in attending the Seder. “This is such a new, fresh idea – this kind of stuff has never happened in Israel before. I’d rather celebrate Pessah with a bunch of different people in cool surroundings.
“The whole concept of bringing young professionals from all over the world to meet each other in the Holy Land, in such a cool city overlooking the beach – it’s a no-brainer”
Rosenraich hopes that all the young singles who attend – new immigrants and those from abroad – will come and enjoy the shared cultural experience of being Jewish together.
“This isn’t exclusively a club for singles, although what I’ve found with other groups making aliya, for example young families, is that they tend to already have an established support network – but for singles it’s more difficult.
“A big part of absorption is finding that network of social support, because otherwise it’s a struggle. In the age group we’re targeting, people are looking to meet and connect, so there is a need [for this type of forum], and it’s not being met by the traditional channels.”
She says that the experience Drachim is offering “is different, for example, from a Birthright trip, because although everyone is welcome to our events, we’re trying to attract a crowd who either doesn’t necessarily qualify for Birthright – for instance they’ve already been on the trip – or who are older. This group is usually dating for marriage and looking for a support network other than the younger, more collegiate student audience [of Birthright].”
When Rosenraich established Drachim, the objective behind it was to bridge the cultural and social divides within Israel’s young professional scene.
“I was so excited to make aliya and get absorbed into Israel,” Rosenraich told The Jerusalem Post
, “but then I found that each group tends to stick to themselves – for example the English-speaking immigrants don’t mix with the Israelis born here, the religious and the nonreligious, the Sephardim and the Ashkenazim.
“So I developed the idea of bringing young professional Jewish singles from all over the world to bridge the gap, and create a new pluralistic Jewish community, because there’s definitely not enough cohesion [in the singles scene].”
The Seder is to be held in conjunction with JCorps, a global volunteering organization for professional singles, ages 18-28. Also non-denominational, it provides a framework for young Jews to meet one another while contributing to the community.
“We have held programs in hospitals, soup kitchens and other
non-profit organizations that are in need of assistance,” says
Jerusalem director Leora Schanfield. “Many people have met through
JCorps and continue to meet while also feeling their efforts are
helping to change the world.”Last
minute tickets for Drachim’s singles Seder are still available. Prices
range from $150 for the first Seder night, to a full eight-night stay
at the Dan Hotel Tel Aviv, with two kosher Seders, daily breakfast and
full use of hotel amenities for $2,185.For more information about these organizations and to sign up, visit
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