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The Three Weeks

by Aaron under Israel,Judaism,Single Life

As I write this entry, I’m certain it will not come out grammatically correct, maybe not even as rational thoughts. Normally that’s not an issue as I write, but today it kind of is. The reason is that today, I am hungry.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to start playing sad music and show you starving kids in Africa, nor will I go on about food stamps. Instead, I am writing about a different cause of hunger: two fasts that begin and end the period in Jewish life known as “The Three Weeks.”

The Three Weeks always scare me. They started on Tuesday, July 15 (The 17th of Tammuz) and end on the evening of August 5th (The 9th of Av). These are three weeks that were very difficult for the ancient Jews (yes, even by Jewish standards these weeks weren’t easy). Some people don’t listen to music or get haircuts during this time of year.

For me, these weeks are always scary. I worry I’ll lose a job, a girl I’m dating, or worse. My brother returns from Israel in two days, but obviously having him there as I write this scares me as well. While I won’t get too much into it, the situation in Israel during this time of year is an obvious reason for worry right now.

But worry would defeat the purpose of these weeks, in my opinion. The Shabbat service I went to last Saturday discussed the reasoning for studying the rituals of the temple during these three weeks — not to mourn their destructions (both took place during this three-week span), but to hope for the days when we go back to the temple and have to use those rituals again.

Life is gonna kick you in the face sometimes, that’s how it goes. As a new guy in New York, it’s literally happened to me once or twice. But you can’t let it sway how you live. That means if someone turns you down on a dating site, don’t go on and on about it if you meet that person in real life. Don’t whine to others about how you’re always single.

What people really want is someone who will keep them upbeat. At any given moment, we are all just one or two complaints from a total kvetch-fest with the right crowd. Who doesn’t like to complain? But in this three-week period, I encourage you to make the choice to say nice things, to learn about the positive things around you. Destruction will always happen, we may lose the temple, but one day it will stop, and maybe the temple won’t be rebuilt tomorrow, but maybe we can make each other a little happier in the meantime. Have a safe and happy three weeks everyone — and if you’re fasting, may your fasts be easy as well.


JNF/JDate Singles Trip to Israel – Day 4

by Mark Feuer under Israel,JDate,Judaism,Single Life

New JBlogger Mark Feuer is joining several Jewish singles on an unforgettable singles trip to Israel! Mark will be sharing all about the sights, sounds, flavors and spirit of Israel on his unique and unforgettable journey! Here’s a little snippet from day 4:

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Off to the Golan!

After grabbing a quick breakfast, we checked out of the hotel. We were on our way to Golan Heights for a jeep ride. First we stopped by Metzudut (Fortress) Koah. We were within eyesight of the Lebanese/Israeli border and the contrast between the lush green Israeli side versus the barren Lebanese side was amazing.

The Lebanese/Israeli border

The Lebanese/Israeli border

Hula Valley Overlook

Hula Valley Overlook

On the way we met up with a group of single Nefesh b’ Nefesh Olim who would join us for the day and give us their perspectives and stories as new immigrants to Israel. Nefesh b’ Nefesh aids immigrants from North America with their transition to life in Israel and helps them cut red tape in getting benefits as well as help with integration into Israeli society.

Group meet-up

Group meet-up

We also did a bit of off-roading on the Golan Heights, overlooking the Syrian border:

JeepJeeps

Group shot on a tank left from the 1973 Yom Kippur War

Group shot on a tank left from the 1973 Yom Kippur War

Off to Another Winery!

From the Golan border to lunch and wine tasting at the Ramat Golan Winery. This winery produces over 6 million bottles of wine a year.

WineryWinery2

Onward to Safed!

We went on to go to Safed and went to a workspace used by Marc Chagall, which is now home to works of art by 82 different artists.

Chagall workspace

Chagall workspace

Lastly, we had a chance to do some shopping! It was a long day and I was glad to get to our new hotel at the Nof Ginosaur Hotel. Tomorrow we go to Jerusalem and I cannot wait as it is one of my favorite places in the world.


Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

If you like a friend of yours as more than a friend, and don’t tell them, and then they start dating someone else, you have no one to blame but yourself.

What have you got to lose? Chances are you’re not going to stay friends with someone you had a crush on if they get into a serious relationship with someone else, so why not tell them how you feel?

If you are in a relationship and don’t speak your mind about how you want to be treated, or touched, or teased, then don’t be upset when your partner disrespects you, or isn’t affectionate, or doesn’t know your limits… because you never made your expectations clear!

People are not mind readers, you need to tell them how you feel and what you’re thinking. If you are honest with your words (and your actions support them) and the feelings are not reciprocated, then at least you put it all out there and will have no regrets.


JNF/JDate Singles Trip to Israel – Day 3

by Mark Feuer under Israel,JDate,Judaism,Single Life

New JBlogger Mark Feuer is joining several Jewish singles on an unforgettable singles trip to Israel! Mark will be sharing all about the sights, sounds, flavors and spirit of Israel on his unique and unforgettable journey! Here’s a little snippet from day 3:

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Day 2

The day began with getting up and using the gym at the facilities at the Dan Carmel Haifa Hotel. I really have to say, JNF/JDate set us up at a great hotel.

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View from overlook near the hotel

After a quick shower and change, I met the rest of my tripmates for breakfast, which was typical Israeli fare. We spent the meal discussing the previous day’s events. We were glad that we had not heard a single Red Alert since the tour started. We were very lucky in that regard, but we know that our tour leadership would not knowingly put us in any danger.

Group Pic

Group photo

First Stop – Atlit Displaced Persons Camp – South of Haifa

Today we visited what was once a displaced persons camp where the British detained Jewish people trying to enter the land of Israel while it was under the British Mandate in the 1930′s and 1940′s. We went through the processing center, the barracks, and a replica of the type of ship used to transport Jewish people into the land. It was a powerful experience.

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Sleeping area at Atlit Displaced Persons Camp

Second Stop – En Nof Artists Colony

The next stop was the En Nof Artist Colony. We met with several artists, saw some beautiful artwork, and enjoyed some homemade ice cream to help cool down in the heat!

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Some of the great artwork we saw

Third Stop – Tishbi Winery

After the Artists Colony we were off to the Tishbi Winery for lunch and a wine tasting. Lunch was simply fantastic. Just when we thought that they were done serving us they kept bringing more and more food. Gnocchi, Ravioli, Pizza, Salads of all types and the wine kept flowing too. They took us on a tour of the winery after lunch.

Wine and chocolate tasting

Wine and chocolate tasting

Last Stop: Baha’i Gardens

We were heading back to the hotel but one last stop, literally behind our hotel was the Baha’i Gardens.

Baha'i Gardens

Baha’i Gardens

Bastille Day!

Today was Bastille Day, so there was a great block party down in the German Colony. Everyone there was having a great time, with live music and drinking. Security was high, but non-obtrusive. It was exactly the thing people needed to decompress from the tensions of the past week. The conflict of the past week was on everyone’s minds and this was a great way to blow off steam. When people found out that we came from the states they were always very appreciative for our support in coming.

Bastille Day Block Party

Bastille Day Block Party


Living in the Minority

by Haley Plotnik under Judaism

The other day, I met someone who had never met a Jew before. I would have been happy to tell them more about Judaism, but I didn’t get the sense that they were interested. Finally, they said, “You know what would make this night even more fun? If every time you said something obnoxiously Jewish, I took a shot.”

I thought about speaking with Yiddish accent words all night, but then I figured it wouldn’t be of any help. Sometimes people are ignorant. I know that this is not the first or last time I will be targeted for being “obnoxiously Jewish.” I didn’t even think I used that many Jew-isms looking back on it. I maybe said an “oy vey” or the like.

I go to a college that is very Jew-friendly. We are one of the largest minority groups on campus. I sometimes forget that when I leave the safe haven of my college that it may be in my best interests to tone it down. I spent my entire childhood toning it down though. I would like to live in a world where I won’t be called out for an “oy” here or a “gevalt” there.


No Views? No Way!

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

I’ve been getting a lot of people complaining about not getting any views, and to that I answer: there’s just no way that’s happening if you’re using JDate correctly.

  • First, check your settings and make sure your profile is visible. It’s up to you to decide if you want to be visible to non-members, but I suggest you do so.
  • Next, complete your profile. If you have photos, but nothing written, or vice-versa (not having photos is always a detriment with online dating, but bad photos could be even worse!), then take the time to finish up your profile.
  • Expand your preferences if they are too narrow. If you live in a small town in the middle of nowhere, then your range should be set to a much broader mileage radius then if you live in a major city. Someone who lives in New York City may want to stick to Manhattan for quite some time before extending their range to the other boroughs, then neighboring states.
  • Are you going on JDate enough? Potential prospects look to see when you’re online. If you haven’t logged in since last week then you’re not active enough. You don’t need to have multiple IM conservations going on simultaneously at all hours of the night, but you should show that you are active by logging on daily.
  • Are you sending the right signals? Are you viewing the people who have viewed you? Are you using Flirts and Favorites and Secret Admirer? Have you sent an easy-breezy email? If the answer is “no” to any of these questions then you have some work to do.

If you’re still not getting the results you want, then feel free to email me your profile name and I’ll be happy to review your profile to see if there’s anything glaringly wrong that could be turning off potential suitors.


JNF/JDate Singles Trip to Israel – Day 1 & 2

by Mark Feuer under Israel,JDate,Judaism,Single Life

New JBlogger Mark Feuer is joining several Jewish singles on an unforgettable singles trip to Israel! Mark will be sharing all about the sights, sounds, flavors and spirit of Israel on his unique and unforgettable journey!

Mark grew up in Southern Florida, went to school in Massachusetts, and was recruited by a cruise line where he worked around the world for a few years before he co-founded a tech company, ForensiS, of which he is still a managing partner. This is not Mark’s first trip to Israel, but he looks forward to sharing new experiences in the homeland with other JNF/JDate participants. Here’s a little snippet from day 1 & 2:

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7/12/2014 12:26pm EDT
I am sitting here in the crown room in Fort Lauderdale, anxiously awaiting my flight to start this amazing trip to Israel. I will be meeting up at JFK with several other tour members and we will begin our trek with JDate and JNF. I have been to Israel before, but with everything that is going on there, this trip has a new meaning for me, to stand with Israel , it’s people, as well as JNF.

7/12/2014 6:15pm EDT
I met up with one of my tripmates after landing in JFK and we had some drinks and dinner while waiting for the others to arrive.

7/13/2014
Our Flight was delayed due to a medical emergency, but the four of us on our flight have made it into Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Our driver was ready to meet us at the baggage claim and ready to spirit us off to Haifa to meet the rest of our group.

Our Hotel, the Dan Carmel was beautiful and they had dinner waiting for us along with the rest of our group. After dinner a bunch of us, including our JNF group leaders, Stephen and Jason, went out to a bar to find some place to watch the World Cup Championship. It was a great night and I am excited to see what is in store for us tomorrow.

JNF/JDate Singles Trip to Israel, Day 1

JNF/JDate Singles Trip to Israel, Day 1


Leading with Looks

by Haley Plotnik under Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

I get far too many messages about the way I look. The same way that getting a “Hey, what’s up?” message can be frustrating in that the conversation fire hasn’t been lit, it’s hard to continue a conversation when someone messages, “You are so pretty!” Once you acknowledge the compliment (or not), you still have to make a fast u-turn to get into good conversational territory.

Let’s look at some ways to respond to a looks-based message:

1) The good old fashioned thank you

Initial message: “You are gorgeous, wow!”

Response: “Thank you very much!”

Where did that really get you? Maybe you brightened up the recipient’s day, but now you have to start a conversation from scratch.

2) The thank you/ u-turn

Initial message: “You look like a real life Disney princess!”

Response: “Thanks. I love Disney movies. My favorite is _______. How about you?”

At least the compliment helped a little in this instance. Sometimes it’s more like this:

“You’re cute. I’m _________. I look forward to hearing back.”

“Hey, thanks! What do you like to do for fun, _________?

3) The bratty response

Initial message: “You are stunning. I would love to get coffee.”

Response: “Yeah. You and every other Jew in New York.”

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Not only do I have trouble responding to these looks-based messages, but I also feel like my better personal qualities aren’t being valued. For me, one-line, looks-based messages don’t stand out among the pack. I don’t typically reply, even if I am interested in the guy, because I am looking for someone who appreciates more than being easy on the eyes.

Next time, try a messaging someone with NO looks-based compliments. See where it gets you. Here’s a start:

“Hey. I noticed you like _________. I’ve wanted to try _________ and was wondering how you got into it…”

This is not the most creative. Some people are super creative and comic. If that’s not your thing, don’t try to be something you’re not. Be yourself, but don’t be obsequious. Leading with looks makes me wary that the sender may be a panting puppy when it comes to approaching a potential date. Coming on strong is called coming on strong for a reason. It’s too strong for many people. If you come on too strong, someone may be offended. I’ve yet to be offended by someone not hitting on me enough. Maybe you’re not exactly mysterious or aloof. I’m not either, but it’s typically better to tread lightly. Once you’re in back-pedaling territory, you’ve likely lost the battle.


Two-Timing or Poly-Dating?

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

Here’s the scenario a JDater recently asked my advice about:

“I’ve been poly-dating as you recommend in your book, but I’m afraid I’ve let it get too serious with two guys at the same time! Now I feel like I’m two-timing. Each relationship is just progressing naturally and I haven’t had “The Talk” with either, but I feel like I’m betraying both of them because I like both of them. What do I do?”

In short, keep dating both of them unless you feel stronger about one, or until you have “The Talk” with one. People, particularly women, are not used to poly-dating and feel guilty. “Betrayal” is an accurate word for how people feel, but unless you are in a committed, monogamous relationship, then you are free to date whomever you want and you’re not betraying anyone. Poly-dating is not for everyone. But if you are finding yourself in a pattern where you fall for each new prospect too quickly and then get hurt, poly-dating may be something you ought to start practicing. It will keep you grounded and prevent you from falling too quickly for anyone… and it’s fun (just practice safe poly-dating and no one should get hurt!).


Breaking In

by Aaron under Judaism,Single Life

I recently wrote a piece on man-dating. Much of that post was about how to handle going out and reaching out to friends of friends or old friends, but one thing I didn’t cover was how to go about making friends any time you go out. I’ve covered it a little bit in the past, but with the new perspective of actually being new to a city and going through this challenge recently, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned in a month of living in New York.

For me, the challenge started when I went to a very popular young professional shul here. I had no idea where to start, aside from the one or two people I knew, and I found myself, for the first time in years, unable to work a room. I made a vow to myself to fix that though, so here’s what I did:

  • Don’t act like you know anything about the environment around you… I have a habit that can be both good and bad, and that is my ability to walk into a room and act like I own the place. While it can sometimes be charming, I’m sure it can also come off as arrogant. The greatest mistake I made when moving to New York was acting as if I’d been there forever and understood how things worked.
  • And yet, be observant… I’ve said it plenty on this blog, but observe things around you that make you curious. Ask someone if the crowd is normally this big, ask if they know a lot of the people, if they’re from the area, etc. Make comments about the food (food especially is a good common ground), the service, etc. Shared experiences are a basic building block of relationships, and reminding people through observing things that you’re sharing something helps a lot.
  • Lean on the fact that you’re new… Introduce yourself immediately as a new guy/gal. It makes you immediately vulnerable and gives people a reason to introduce you around. You can be fairly socially inept at first given the guise of being new. This one even works if you’re not new to town — you may just be new to a group, but even that works at breaking down barriers.

I realize none of these are groundbreaking, but they helped me to make friends at synagogue this last weekend, and maybe they can guide you a bit as well.