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...

  • Music Personalities Recycling His Roots

    Recycling His Roots

    JNS.org – Having started his career playing on his family’s pots and pans, Jewish musician Billy Jonas has maintained this homemade performance ethic while spreading his messages of simple living and environmentalism to a shared home throughout the world. After beginning in the kitchen, Jonas soon moved to the music room, where he picked up the piano, guitar, and trombone. These days, the multi-talented multi-instrumentalist plays on with pretty much anything he can find, including cans, bottles buckets, and other recycled-object [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    JNS.org – Sara Davidson’s The December Project is a new book that should be read by all senior citizens, and by those who hope to live a long life, for it raises a question that most of us have not been taught how to answer: What should we do in that final stage of our lives? Many of us continue working past the traditional retirement age of 65, not because we need the money and not because we find the [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish History Why the Holocaust Occurred in Germany, and Why So Few Resisted (REVIEW)

    Why the Holocaust Occurred in Germany, and Why So Few Resisted (REVIEW)

    It’s hard to make a new contribution to the field of Holocaust studies,  but German historian Götz Aly accomplishes just that in Why the Germans, Why the Jews? His premise is that the origins of the Holocaust were rooted in the specific anti-Semitism found in Germany in the decades and centuries before World War II. Aly (who is not Jewish) seeks to prove his theory by studying only pre-Holocaust history, and tracing how the German people’s envy and hatred of [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Looking at Anti-Israel Celebrities and Their Brands

    Looking at Anti-Israel Celebrities and Their Brands

    JNS.org – During the current conflict in Gaza a number of celebrities have voiced their opinions in support of either the Israeli or Palestinian positions. But others—be it during Operation Protective Edge or at other times—have gone further than simply supporting the Palestinians by actively supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, making false accusations about the Jewish state, ignoring Israel’s position on the conflict, or justifying the actions of the terrorist group Hamas. Many of these [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Israeli UFC Fighter Returns to Jewish State to Rejoin IDF

    Israeli UFC Fighter Returns to Jewish State to Rejoin IDF

    JNS.org – Days after winning his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight bout against Steven Siler on July 26, Israeli-born mixed martial arts competitor Noad Lahat boarded a plane for his native country, choosing to temporarily exit UFC’s octagonal cage to rejoin the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as a paratrooper for its operation against Hamas in Gaza. Except he didn’t actually consider it a choice. “When [our] home is in danger, there is no other way for us [but to serve [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    JNS.org – My wife Suzy and I will never forget our wedding day. It was not just the uplifting ceremony and beautiful party that left an indelible mark. Some life-altering advice that we received from one of our guests informed and shaped our lives from that day forward. My high school teacher, Rabbi Moshe Yagid, pulled us aside just before the chuppah and challenged us to choose one mitzvah that would be the foundation of our marriage and our lives. He explained [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    JNS.org – Influenced by his Jewish upbringing and a summer on a kibbutz, basketball coach David Blatt is embarking on his highest-profile challenge yet: coaching LeBron James, the four-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player who has made waves for returning to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. After guiding Israel’s storied Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball franchise to its 51st Israeli league championship and 6th Euroleague title this past season, Blatt landed the Cavaliers head-coaching job in June. Just weeks later, [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    JNS.org – At the turn of the century, a young Jewish immigrant arrived in New York. So begins the history of many American Jewish families. It is 27-year-old Albert Allaham’s story, too, with a few unusual twists. Albert’s “century” is the 21st—he arrived almost 100 years after the massive waves of European Jewish immigration. Rather than coming from a small town along the Danube river, his shtetl was Damascus. His first American business was not a pushcart on the Lower East [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.