On November 11th I attend Friends of IDF 2nd Annual Casino Night Gala. What sets this Young Leadership event apart from all others that I’ve attended in a long time is that it’s very difficult to have a bad time. Actually, you would have to proactively want to have a bad time. It’s an evening that asks you to get decked out as you enter a fantasy world of gambling, from blackjack and roulette, to craps and poker. Almost by osmosis the Guys and Dolls show tune “Luck be a Lady Tonight” starts playing in your head putting you in the mood to ante up the stakes for this good cause. This year amazingly it sold out and there were over 2000 young people from all walks of Jewish life. It brought together singles that are reform, conservative, and orthodox to Ashkenaz, Sephardic, and Persians. It was one great Jewish melting pot out for a common cause.
While this was one of the most successful fundraisers ever it terms of turnout, I think about its success in terms of shidduchim. After the event I polled a few random friends and they all said the same things: “There were too many people” or “The guys were busy gambling their money away.” Everyone seemed to love taking a chance at the craps table but not on their respective futures. Their bashert could have been wandering around in that very room and they refused to take a chance.
I guess organizers are partially to blame for not creating an atmosphere that’s conducive to hooking up or talking. Who could talk there? No one. Part of the challenge of organizing an event is having everyone’s needs in mind. True it’s a fundraiser but it’s a fundraiser for Young Leadership. It implies that like-minded people are going to get together and have opportunities to interact. That indeed more than the cause is what attracts people to these events, but there is no follow through.
And the worst thing about it all is having your parents ask you if met anyone. The yenta in them automatically emerges to find out if there is some kind of hope for the future. They want to know if grandchildren are in the near future or not. And you feel stupid saying nothing happened. Truthfully, how could anything happen when you are sandwiched against hundreds of people and your hand inadvertently brushes up against body parts that you never wanted to touch before in your life? It just cannot. Yet, there is something absurd about being in a room and not meeting anyone. It reminds me of that old adage about you can be in a room with a hundred people and be so alone or you can be in a room with one person and not feel lonely at all. I must admit that despite all the action around be I felt alone. There was no there I could talk to; there was no one there I could root for or who could root for me. That’s not to say I had a bad time, but it could have been so much better if I could have shared it with someone.
The bottom line is that I am one small voice airing her views about something in the hand of the powers that be. Can this article make a difference? I don’t know. But perhaps some of you out there won’t feel as alone anymore knowing someone else feels the same way you do. Maybe it will induce someone out there to take a chance in the future.
About The Author
Sarah J. Pollack is single and living in Manhattan. “Single in the City” is her compilations of the frustrations of Jewish singles in the community.