How to incorporate Jewish rituals into your dating life

Veteran singles often grumble about dating: they're sick of the small talk; the same rehashing of old relationships; the repeated apologizes for deviations from online profiles. But the problem for many of these kvetchers isn't dating: it's the dates. How many dinners and movies can one person endure? Dating can seem much more exciting when there's something different on the agenda. One fun and affordable addition to the usual program of eating and drinking is a Jewish-themed activity. If you and your date have nothing else in common, you know being Jewish is important to both of you: otherwise, neither of you would be searching for a date with a Jewish background. So why not get to know each other while doing something that celebrates your culture? Some activities are clearly out: observing a fast together or studying Talmud would be excessively solemn for most first daters. But the Jewish calendar is crowded with holidays that seem custom-made for dating. Many holidays are occasions for parties: local synagogues or community centers may organize a masquerade in conjunction with Purim or an Israeli dancing festival for Yom Ha'atzmaut. If you'd rather keep your distance from the dance floor, you might create your own holiday project: nothing brings two people together like a task to complete (unless they're contestants on a reality show). You could plant trees for Tu b'Shvat or - assuming you own an excellent tool kit - build a sukkah for Sukkoth. One ambitious Jewish dater arranged a Rosh Hashanah visit to a local nursing home, during which she and her online match blew the shofar for residents who couldn't travel to a synagogue to hear it. Both daters had a good time, and thirty appreciative nursing home residents had a great one.