Hooking Up for the High Holy Days

Pssst! Synagogue Services Are Hottest Singles Scene Around

I’ve Got the Apples, Baby: The High Holy Days are a great time to try out new pick-up lines. Who knows, you might get lucky.
Courtesy of Manhattan Jewish Experience
I’ve Got the Apples, Baby: The High Holy Days are a great time to try out new pick-up lines. Who knows, you might get lucky.

By Lenore Skenazy

Published September 13, 2012, issue of September 21, 2012.
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But, strangely enough, the fellow showed up at another singles event after that. And that’s when Cohen learned the baby was his nephew. Reader, she married him! (The grown-up. Not the baby.)

Is it wrong to go husband/wife-hunting on the high holidays? On the contrary, says Rabbi Mark Wildes, founder and director of the Manhattan Jewish Experience. “It’s actually a huge mitzvah” — as long as it doesn’t interfere with praying.

If you ask me, flirting is praying.

Wildes’s group holds Jewish classes, dinners, services and get-togethers in, obviously, Manhattan. Most Shabbats he draws a crowd of 150 to 300 at the organization’s three sites around town. But on the High Holidays, he gets about 700 people — mostly young — and one of his goals is to encourage them to get to know each other. To this end, he has gone so far as to install mini bars in his three locations. “I want people to feel comfortable mingling in the environment they’re used to,” he explains. And does it work? “Are people picking each other up?” he asks. “Listen, I’m facilitating it!”

So is Benzion Klatzko, a Monsey, N.Y., rabbi and founder of Shabbat.com, a website that helps people find places for

Shabbat in 101 countries. “The world has it a little backwards,” Klatzko says, about looking for love. “They think that everyone wants the party girl or the cool dude. But the truth is people want to see that somebody is devoted to something and has principles and they’re earnest.”

Comedian Esther Paik Goodhart puts it a little more bluntly: “If you want to marry a particular kind of man, you gotta go where they are.” She did. And now she’s married, teaches Hebrew school and braises a mean brisket — even though she grew up the daughter of a Korean minister. She always knew she wanted out, and as far as Judaism goes, she wanted in. The key was attending High Holiday services with her friends.

And this technique, by the way, has an ancient pedigree. “We’re talking [back] in Talmudic, if not Temple, times,” says Rabbi Wildes. “On Yom Kippur, the women would go out to the fields dressed in white looking for their potential spouses.” Really, that was the thing to do. Meanwhile, back in shul, the rabbis read aloud from the Torah texts dealing with sexual mores.

In other words: Sex and the High Holidays go together like apples and honey.

Maybe that’s the line to try. Good luck!

Lenore Skenazy is a public speaker and author of the book and blog, “Free-Range Kids.”


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