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Underground Speed Dating for Tu B’Av

There was romance in the air in — or, rather, below — Jerusalem earlier this week on Tu B’Av, often referred to as the Israeli Valentine’s Day. Youth for Jerusalem, an organization encouraging young, secular Israelis to stay in or move to Jerusalem, hosted a speed dating event last Sunday evening in Zedekiah’s Cave, an ancient quarry site underneath the Old City.

Many of the 60 or so attendees were game to meet successive dates for only a few minutes each, in the hope that the timeless atmosphere would lend them luck for this very contemporary mating ritual.

Famous early dwellers of the city, like King David and King Solomon for instance, were not lacking for (multiple) wives (or concubines), so shouldn’t a young Israeli today be able to find at least one soul mate in the same location?

The AP reports that a good time was had by all. The cover charge was only $7.00 and drinks and sandwiches were served courtesy of — who else? — JDate.

Some singles interviewed said they welcomed the chance to seek a partner in Jerusalem, and expected the city’s spiritual karma to help them out. “There’s something spiritual here, and I think that maybe if I will be in Jerusalem, it will help me find what I’m looking for,” said Guy Ashkenazi, a 40-something computer engineer who drove 40 minutes to get to the event.

It’s actually nice to hear young secular Israelis wax romantically about Jerusalem. Usually they say how much they don’t want to be in the city, where one third of the population is Palestinian and another third is ultra-Orthodox. But let’s just wait and see whether the Jerusalem love spell works or wears off in time. A lot will depend on whether or not that cute guy or girl actually calls.

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