If You Build It

by Aaron under Judaism,Relationships,Single Life

As I get ready to move, one thing really scares me: the idea of not having a built-in group of friends around me. Luckily, I have some family and friends in NYC; it’s just not quite the network I have in Dallas where I’m a regular at a few shuls, and have made a great circle of friends and acquaintances.

What comforts me, however, is knowing that I have the skill-set to manage. When I got to Dallas after college, I felt like a stranger in a familiar land. I was from Dallas, but not a part of the community I was trying to break into. I grew up conservative, regularly going to USY events, but the people I largely grew to know were not those same people from my youth.

The big challenge I found in my first year in Dallas was finding people to date. I wanted to date someone younger, but being 21 in a community of young adults (who were largely much older than me) made that difficult. I did make friends, however, and found the second year to be a much easier experience. Friends would set me up with newly graduated girls they knew, and I found it easy to find dates when I was a regular at events and had people to introduce me.

If there’s one thing I’ve found since entering the real world, it’s the strength of a network. Whether it’s for getting a job (I had a friend send a recommendation for me to a recruiter hew knew and often found ways to make new friends through LinkedIn by having local friends introduce me to New York contacts), or just getting a date, a strong network can change everything.

So when I think about New York, I still worry a bit. I’m worried largely about that first Saturday night, about the first time I walk into a shul I don’t know for a class, and about where I’ll be spending Shavuot. And then I think of the people I already know, and the people I met as I networked my way to New York. I think of the first time I walked into an event in the Dallas young adult community, and I remember the first time I finally just learned to sit in a circle and listen to a rabbi’s class, letting my worries take a back seat for just a minute and then managing to make friends.

And that’s how I know it will all be fine — life is scary, but the more you put yourself out there, the more you’re bound to inherently build a network and move forward. Chances are your Besheret is not going to be sitting at the next Jewish or secular event you go to. Looking for that would be silly. Instead, consider that his/her best friend may be checking out a class that night, or their boss, or their cousin’s dogsitter. The world is a wide place, but if you just focus on the people around you, and constantly add new people into your life, life has a great way of surprising you by eventually adding the right people in.


I’m a man!

by Aaron under JBloggers,Judaism,Single Life

Eleven years ago this week, I participated in a ritual that has been part of Jewish custom for all of time: I became a Bar Mitzvah. I read from the Torah, led some services, and, of course, had the party that the ritual has come to be known for in secular culture. While I didn’t have dancers welcome me to the stage with neon signs, I still felt like it was a very meaningful experience.

So for this week’s blog, I thought it might be appropriate to touch on some of the learnings from my Bar Mitzvah portion. The lessons this week (as with most weeks) can be applied to your life, secular or religious, Jewish or otherwise. The Parshah this week is called Bo (in English this translates to “come”), and the basic premise is the occurrence of the final three plagues in Egypt (I’m assuming everyone’s at least seen Rugrats Passover and remembers this part), as well as some other milestones for the Jewish people.

It’s also the birthday of the Jewish people (so if you’ve been wanting to throw a surprise party for us, now you know when to do it). It’s kind of an odd thing for an entire people to have a birthday together, and this raised an interesting point at the discussion class I go to on Monday nights: what’s more important, an individual or a community?

An individual needs to be well-rounded to help build a community, but at the same time, one can’t be fully community focused. It’s fitting to me that this is the Bar Mitzvah portion I was assigned, as community involvement is something very dear to my heart. I’ve run a community blog for a few years now, updating local young Jewish adults with events going on every week in Dallas, and in the meantime I have also witnessed tremendous growth in the young adult Jewish community in Dallas.

So when people come to Jewish events and dating inevitably comes up (what can I say? I really enjoy talking about dating and this blog), people tend to ask me what they could do to meet someone in Dallas. The easiest advice I always have to give is to come to more events in the community. Whether you’re Jewish or not, you’re never just going to meet someone being alone.

So if you’re not finding anyone, there’s no better time than the New Year to go out and get involved in a group or two in your community. Join one of the countless Facebook pages for Jewish life in your area, join a meetup group, or just any group where you can make new friends. Life didn’t get easier after I became a man, but after finding my community, it definitely did.


There’s A Place In The Community For Everyone

by RollingStone9862 under JDate,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

Recently I’ve spoken with several women whose profiles identified them as being in Chicago when in actuality they were really moving to Chicago soon and had joined JDate in order to help ease the transition. My initial reaction was that I felt slightly misled, especially by the woman who told me she wasn’t moving to Chicago for another month. However, after getting the chance to think about it, I’ve come to realize that this really is a great strategy.

Even though I’ve always view JDate through a narrow lens, where I only saw it as being a “dating” site, when I really think about it thiswebsite is much more than that. The site is a way for people to connect, meet people they wouldn’t normally meet and provides another way for people to form meaningful relationships. The most important aspect of the site is not that it matches people up who will eventually fall in love and get married, but rather that it lets you use the site in whatever way best suits you and what you are looking for.

That’s why the idea of joining JDate before moving to new city is such a great idea because while some people on the site are looking for love, others are simply looking to meet people and connect, even if it’s just as friends. Perhaps I wasn’t interested in being an activity partner or friend to someone who had just moved to Chicago, but I’m sure there’s someone else on the site who is, and that’s the beauty of JDate and the community it fosters.