JDate: The Weekend

August 12, 2012 1:09 am 0 comments

A shot from a promotional video for JDate's "Club Getaway" weekend. Photo: JDate.

It was not beautiful Jewish maidens who greeted me at JDate’s recent Club Getaway weekend in rural Connecticut, but a couple of guys from New York who raised dust and kicked gravel as they flew into the parking lot. They joined another fellow who was sitting in his idling and air-conditioned orange Camaro as they kvelled over each other’s cars. But when one started flinging a Frisbee around, I knew that my skills—honed at a liberal arts college in nearby Massachusetts—would make me look pretty cool, and that did help sustain me for the weekend.

I came alone to meet over 200 Jewish singles and relive those lovely summers I enjoyed at camp in West Virginia 40 years ago, under different and adolescent circumstances. While Club Getaway also had a lakefront, organized events and sports, its air-conditioned cabins were a new thing to me and instead of “bug juice” we got beer, wine and frozen drinks.

I joined a crowd of new faces gathered for an informal evening buffet by the waterfront clubhouse. Little by little, first impressions became second impressions (if we so chose) as we eyed each other in the humidity, lubricated by the lovely setting and for some, by alcohol.

Everyone was trying to look their best, and in all candor, I’d have to say that I came out looking okay. A little boldness and self esteem never hurts. It was de rigeur to introduce yourself to others, and it was refreshing and comfortable to be around fellow tribesmen—and of course, tribeswomen!

As darkness fell, we crowded into the dining hall for a surprisingly tasty—albeit noisy— dinner. I was in the middle of three younger ladies, all in the New York fashion “industry,” who arrived together as a highly bedecked, made-up and bejeweled package deal. Sex Outside of the City? They were too young and too materialistic for me, but when the three fashion bugs started discussing Justin Beaver (or was it Bieber?) I realized that precious time was being wasted. I had to mingle with more purpose and had at least a few spurts of extreme flirt alerts.

Loud techno music that night made my ears ring, but no wedding bells were ringing yet—if that’s what you’re in to, of course.

After a hike in the hills the next morning, I played volleyball, swam in the lake and played on all the inflatable rafts under the watchful eyes of a half-dozen lifeguards and many JDaters. We had another lovely lunch and I played ultimate Frisbee, but with a full belly, I fizzled rapidly in the heat so I went to the wine tasting seminar in the shade. The wine flowed, the conversations became a bit more unfocused, and I got sleepy—but did manage to blurt out at least one yiddishkeit joke about “decanter.”

Speed dating paired off some 30 men with 30 women for two-minute exchanges of perfunctory greetings. It was way too rushed, they did not have enough pencils, and it was little more than an icebreaker. It was disorienting and disappointing, but I did put a “perfect” next to Joanne’s name.

Another lovely evening meal under the big tent was quieter and more relaxed than the night before. That was followed by a marvelously talented singer-comedian belting out loud music, to which I and others danced the night away. We also enjoyed singing around the campfire by the beach.

I enjoyed early-morning coffee on Sunday with a handful of guys, and we found ourselves in an impromptu morning men’s club. It turned out to be a highlight of the weekend. More or less strangers, we male-bonded over separation, divorce, ex-spouses and, of course, the JDate scene. We knew we shared a commonality but were also soon going our separate ways, back to our respective and distant cities. There was little expectation and little concern about being together or getting together again. We had a refreshing conversation in a situation that I, and maybe the others, found lacking back home.

All told, I had a weekend of good weather and pleasant and physically challenging fun, with good people and good food. However, I had no idea how there would be any follow-up without scribbling lots of notes, and the weekend seemed to end in a rushed blur, even before the New York-bound buses were loaded. Even though I met great people, I was disappointed that JDate seemed to overlook effective ways to facilitate mixers or icebreakers or future contact. It was up to each camper to figure out how to meet others and form more lasting connections.

The short and very active weekend could be described as a two-day speed dating session. It had all the promise and opportunity of speed dating, but also with all of its distractions due to the variety, the multitude and the whirlwind nature of it all. There were great people to meet and many activities from which to choose, but all you can really hope for is to meet and connect with but a small number of people in the vast crowd.

On the other hand, sometimes one is all you need, or all you want, so I’d urge JDate to make that more likely by holding activities geared toward being introduced to and meeting people—perhaps everyone, if only for a few seconds. JDate could potentially arrange that by age group, with a wide range from 20-somethings to empty nesters and even grandparents. Such events could be held in place of or in addition to the extremely loud music that made it impossible to talk.

JDate could have also had some activities such as music and dancing designed to attract the younger crowd in one venue and “boomers” such as yours truly in another. Additionally, it would also have been nice if there had been more “yiddishkeit,” at least lighting candles and making blessings on Erev Shabbat.

And the speed dating—well, that was so fast that I never met up with “perfect” Joanne again. Joanne: Are you there? What happened to you?

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    JNS.org – Five months after Israeli forces tried to assassinate Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif in Gaza, Deif appears to have signed a letter that the terrorist group claims he wrote in hiding. The letter, addressed to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, expressed Deif’s condolences for the death of Hezbollah terrorists during Sunday’s reported Israeli airstrike in Syria. Deif is said to have survived multiple assassination attempts, but he has not been seen in public for years. According to the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    JNS.org – The cracks that had been simply painted over for so long began to show in Ferguson, Mo., in November 2014, but in truth they had begun to open wide much earlier—on Saturday, July 13, 2013. That is when a jury in Sanford, Fla., acquitted George Zimmerman of culpability for the death of a 17-year-old black man, Trayvon Martin. The cracks receded from view over time, as other news obscured them. Then came the evening of Aug. 9, 2014, [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    A controversial scene in the season finale of Homeland sparked outrage by comparing former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to a fictional Taliban leader, the UK’s Daily Mail reported. In the season 4 finale episode, which aired on Dec. 21, CIA black ops director Dar Adal, played by F. Murray Abraham, justifies a deal he made with a Taliban leader by referencing Begin. He makes the remarks in a conversation with former CIA director Saul Berenson, a Jewish character played by Mandy [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Shining Light on Fiction During the North Korea-Sony saga, we learned two important lessons. The first is that there are two sides to this story, and neither of them are correct because ultimately we should have neither inappropriate movies nor dictators. The second is that we cannot remain entirely fixed on the religious world, but we also must see beyond the external, secular view of reality. It’s important to ground our Torah-based thoughts into real-life activism. To view our act [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    JNS.org – Hollywood has had its share of big-budget biblical flops, but until now, the Exodus narrative has not been among them. Studios have brought Moses to the big screen sparingly, but in ways that defined the image and character of Moses for each generation of audiences. The first biblical epic In 1923, director Cecil B. DeMille left it to the American public to decide the subject of his next movie for Paramount. DeMille received a letter from a mechanic [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – The story of the Exodus from Egypt is a tale as old as time itself, to borrow a turn of phrase. It’s retold every Passover, both at the seder table and whenever “The Ten Commandments” is aired on television. But the latest adaptation—Ridley Scott’s epic film, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”—fails to meet expectations. Scott’s “Exodus” alters the source material to service the story and ground the tale, but the attempt to reinvent the biblical narrative becomes laughable. Moses [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Lifestyle ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    JNS.org - In December 2007, leaders of the Hazon nonprofit drafted seven-year goals for what they coined as the “Jewish Food Movement,” which has since been characterized by the increased prioritization of healthy eating, sustainable agriculture, and food-related activism in the Jewish community. What do the next seven years hold in store? “One thing I would like to see happen in the next seven years is [regarding] the issue of sugar, soda, and obesity, [seeing] what would it be like to rally the [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Education Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    JNS.org – Forget the dioramas. How about working on an Israeli Air Force drone? That’s exactly the kind of beyond-their-years access enjoyed by students at the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) industrial vocational high school run by Israel Sci-Tech Schools, the largest education network in the Jewish state. More than 300 students (250 on the high school level and 68 at a two-year vocational academy) get hands-on training in the disciplines of aviation mechanics, electricity and energy control, and unmanned air [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.