Whether you are swiping through profiles on your phone or trying to make conversation at an event, being single and Jewish in the Valley can be tough, especially this time of year.
AJ Frost, operations director and assistant to the president and dean of Valley Beit Midrash, thinks this is partially due to the pool of potential Jewish romantic partners in the area being “very small.”
“If you want to meet somebody new, they pretty much have to be a recent transplant,” Frost explained.
When an eligible new Jewish person does show up, they are typically inundated by suitors and either end up pairing off quickly or being scared off entirely, Frost said.
“The bottom line is that it’s really difficult out here,” Frost said.
Lucky for Frost and others in a similar position, there are a number of organizations working diligently to improve the scene and create events that bring people together and promote deep, meaningful connections among their participants.
One such event was “36 Questions for Jewish Love,” organized by Scott Lorsch. Held at a park near Lorsch’s home on Dec. 2, the event paired off potential partners, who went through a series of carefully selected questions to learn a little more about each other while sharing some wine and a picnic in a laid-back atmosphere.
Lorsch said the idea for the event came to him after attending a speed-dating event last year. He wanted to create something different, something that would promote a “more soulful connection” among its participants. Instead of swapping partners every couple of minutes, Lorsch paired off couples for a couple of hours of one-on-one time.
Hillary Low was one of the participants at Lorsch’s event.
“It was a really creative way to get to know someone and to take away some of the awkwardness that happens on blind or first dates,” Low said.
Jennifer Gale, founder and managing director of Project Jewish Love, said she started her program roughly two years ago after experiencing her own frustrations in finding eligible Jewish singles and hearing similar complaints from her friends.
“I was so stubborn that I could not accept that Phoenix, as one of the biggest cities in the country, had no single Jews to date,” Gale explained.
Her group aims at the 40 and up crowd, but she said dating is pretty much the same whether you’re 21 or 72. Through Project Jewish Love, Gale has hosted a range of events from happy hours to dances to Shabbat dinners.
Although Gale understands that going to an event and not finding a romantic partner can be frustrating, she said people need to keep putting themselves out there and meeting new people.
“Everyone wants this quick wow factor,” Gale said. “Until you really slow down and get to know someone over time — three meetings, five meetings, seven meetings — you cannot really pinpoint, either for yourself or the other person, what is truly meant to be and whether a relationship could flourish.”
Cory Shapiro, a founder and board member for Schmooze, a group that promotes events for both Jewish singles and couples, thinks the Valley offers a wealth of events for Jewish singles.
But Shapiro thinks it is important for those seeking a relationship to not limit themselves to singles-specific events.
“The first step is just walking out the door,” Shapiro said. “Look for some of the events that are just for young adults to meet other people. One of the best ways to meet other Jewish singles is through friends of friends. People often forget it is not just about going to events or online dating, its also making friends and using their connections too.” JN