“ And I realized it was an ideal environment for singles to meet each other.” She interviews singles and promises those selected for the dinner a potential partner, a night of unlimited alcohol and a meal, at her apartment or one of the guests’ who chooses to host, all for just $36—a division of 18, or chai in Hebrew, a lucky number in Judasim—The idea became a business when Davis applied and received a fellowship through Presen Tense, a social entrepreneurial program with a focus on the Jewish community.
He explains it as a more wholesome experience than dating at a bar. One dinner was called Bourbon and Beatbox, where contestant and special guest Jay Stone beatboxed the Shema, a prayer from the Torah.One night it was Magic and Macarons, where a Jewish magician performed and macarons were served for dessert.Another called Shabbat in the Sky was held in a 52-floor penthouse in New York’s financial district.And her next one will feature only male homosexual couples.I’m sitting in a Manhattan apartment watching the sun set with 11 of New York’s most eligible Jewish singles.It’s Friday night and the table is a traditional Shabbat setting—a Kiddush cup filled with red wine, freshly-blessed candles and challah bread that’s been ripped apart and passed around the table.
The crowd is hushed as Erin Davis a 30-year-old, waif-like blond, our host for the night, announces it’s time for ice breakers, where we’ll read funny and ironic facts about each other and guess who it could be.
Later I’ll leave after arranging a date with an adorable man handpicked by Davis whom my mother would kvell—ahem, gush—over.
This is “Shabatness,” an invite-only service that sets up young Jewish professionals over Shabbat dinners.
Davis is quite rare, a matchmaker who does things the artisanal way, setting up singles through dinner parties, not apps or algorithms.
She started hosting at least one Shabbat dinner a month in 2013.
“I felt there was a void in the Jewish community of Shabbat dinners in intimate homes,” she says.