Absolutely Tolerable, Actually Fun, Distinctly Jewish,
Guaranteed Non-Embarrassing Jewish Singles Programming
Frieda’s Table is a grass-roots program for Jewish singles in their 30’s and 40’s, with committed Jewish couples serving as hosts.
If you live in the New York area and would like to become involved – as a host or as a participant – please
A personal note from Rabbi Debra: I met my husband “late,” and had children early in my 40’s, just "under the wire." Unfortunately, the Jewish community did not offer resources that helped me to date and marry. Finding my bashert and having children with him has been the single most important spiritual influence in my life. I am eager to facilitate the same joy, meaning, and continuity for other Jewish singles.
I first mentioned Frieda’s Table publicly in a letter-to-the-editor of The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, responding to an article by Rob Eshman about the lack of dating partners for Jewish women in their 30’s and 40’s. You can read Rob’s article entitled
"Our Hindu Widows."
My response is below:
The week your article “Hindu Widows” was published was also the week that I launched a new venture, Frieda’s Table, focusing on single, eligible Jews in their thirties and forties. As a woman who met my bashert late and had my children just “under the wire,” I am keenly aware that I might not have been so lucky. I also know that many events for Jewish singles are devoid of Jewish content, and that Jewish singles are (still!) treated with condescension. The meet-markets and even singles services can be very alienating. My goal is to create interesting, rewarding, programs in a respectful and caring atmosphere. The worst-case scenario for a singles event should be that someone might say, “That was a great program. I got a lot out of it, and I met some really nice people. Too bad I didn’t connect with anyone I want to date.”
All those “beautiful, brilliant” women you describe can regale you with horror stories of Jewish events that scarred them rather than helped. I don’t think rabbis can responsibly recommend inter-dating until we do our part to promote intra-dating. We need to make showing up as a single person – whether to a singles event or to anything else in the Jewish community – a welcoming, positive experience.
I am starting simple: Shabbat dinners with equal numbers of single men and women hosted by loving couples; holiday parties and gatherings with uplifting Jewish content - Ushpizin & Appetizers Under the Stars in a Sukkah, a Purim ball and Megillah reading.
The project is named for my Aunt Frieda - herself a beautiful, brilliant woman who remained single until she was 40. She broke off an engagement in her 20’s to a famous but self-involved man, and waited for her bashert, a wonderful mentsch with two children. Frieda was my coolest relative. She lived in Greenwich Village (in the same building as W.H. Auden!), worked as a social worker, did untold acts of kindness for others, and loved and introduced me to the arts. She was a great cook, a lively conversationalist, and a gifted hostess with a knack for putting the right people together. No one I have ever met had her energy. In her 80’s, Frieda developed Alzheimer’s. She reached the stage where she didn’t know the names or identities of her children and husband. Yet, in her last days, she always remembered to ask me: “What’s the story with you and Craig? Are you two getting married?”
I married him. In tribute to that, and to Frieda, I am channeling her energy for bringing people together. If others would like to help, I invite them to contact me. - -Rabbi Debra Orenstein
Again, if you would like to become involved as a host or as a participant in the Greater New York area, please