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 Theater US & Canada New Play Explores the ‘Arrogance’ of American Jews Critical of Israel, Playwright Says

    New Play Explores the ‘Arrogance’ of American Jews Critical of Israel, Playwright Says

    In his new play Mr. Goldberg Goes to Tel Aviv, playwright Oren Safdie tackles an issue that he has a major concern with: the relationship between Israelis and left-leaning Diaspora Jews with their “I know better” critical views. At the heart of the one-act play is Tony, a Jewish and gay Palestinian sympathizer who expresses strong anti-Israel sentiments when the play begins and at one point even sides with a Palestinian terrorist who holds his captive. Tony, who is also an [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Hassidic Parody of Taylor Swift Song Apes Long Jewish Holidays (VIDEO)

    Hassidic Parody of Taylor Swift Song Apes Long Jewish Holidays (VIDEO)

    A Jewish comedy troupe released a parody video on Wednesday of Taylor Swift’s hit song Shake It Off in which they joke about taking extensive time off from work for Jewish holidays. “And the goyim gonna stay, stay, stay, stay, stay. And the Jews are gonna pray, pray pray, pray, pray. I’m just gonna take, take, take, take, take. I’m taking off,” goes the chorus for I’m Taking Off. Menachem Weinstein, the video’s lead singer, is the creative director at [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Literature On 75th Anniversary, Looking at the Jewish Influence on Gone With the Wind

    On 75th Anniversary, Looking at the Jewish Influence on Gone With the Wind

    JNS.org – The 75th anniversary of the premiere of “Gone with the Wind” on Dec. 15 presents an opportunity to examine the Jewish influence on one of the most popular films of all time. That influence starts with the American Civil War epic’s famed producer, David O. Selznick. Adjusted for inflation, “Gone with the Wind” remains the highest-grossing movie ever made. It earned the 1939 Academy Award for Best Picture, the same honor another Selznick film, “Rebecca,” garnered in 1940. Selznick [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Music US & Canada EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    Matisyahu got candid in an exclusive interview with The Algemeiner on Monday about his religious and musical journey – after shedding his Chassidic skin, yarmulke, long beard and all – from the start of his career in 2005 when he became a reggae superstar with hits King Without a Crown and Jerusalem. The singer-songwriter embarks on his Festival of Light tour this month, an annual Hanukkah event that stops in Montreal, New York, and other cities before ending in San Juan, [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Personalities ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    JNS.org – It was an era of steel strings, guitar heroes, and storytellers—high on heroin, rebellious. Outlaw country music, the hallmark of Nashville’s powerful and angry music scene of the 1970s, was the brew of greats such as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Townes Van Zandt. But there is another, little-known music hero of that era: Daniel Antopolsky. A Jewish lad from Augusta, Ga.—the son of immigrants who settled in the south and ran a hardware store on Main Street—the [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi replaced Israeli star Gal Gadot as the female lead in the new Ben-Hur remake, Hollywood.com reported on Tuesday. The Homeland actress will play Esther, a slave that Ben-Hur sets free and falls in love with. Gadot quit the movie when it became clear that filming conflicted with her schedule for the Man of Steel sequel. The Israeli actress plays Wonder Woman in the superhero film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Actor Jack Huston takes on the [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    JNS.org – There is one sentence in “Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel” that made me sit up in surprise. I thought that I knew the basic facts about how Israel came into being, but while describing what it was like in the days and hours before the state was declared, author Anita Shapira provides one important anecdote I was not aware of. On the 12th of May, the Zionist Executive met to decide what to do. Moshe Sharrett had just returned [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    An actress starring in the controversial Met Opera The Death of Klinghoffer defended the show on Tuesday by comparing it to the 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List, New York Post reported. “To me, this was like [the movie] Schindler’s List. We make art so people won’t forget,’’ said the actress, who plays a captured passenger in the show and asked not to be identified. The Met Opera focuses on the infamous murder of Lower East Side Jewish resident Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The wheelchair-bound father of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.