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“The larger a pool of potential dates you have, the more the paradox of choice causes people to freeze up,” says Ori Neidich, one of Davis’ Presen Tense mentors.“Erin has tapped into a need, you still have to meet people in person no matter what because that kind of chemistry can never be imitated by technology.” Old-school matchmaking is making inroads onto the scene for the crowd of those sick of swiping their phones to no end.(At the dinner I attended, fewer than half the group could read Hebrew.) There are small touches of Jewish customs like her logo, a heart-shaped Challah bread, and the business’ name, “Shabbatness.” Nes means miracle in Hebrew, Davis says.
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“It’s a huge passion of mine to take a direct role in stopping [anti-Semitism,]” she says. It’s inspired me to do whatever I can to continue the tradition and to modernize Shabbats to make them for the times today.
Davis incorporates bits of tradition into each dinner she hosts, whether it’s a group of modern Orthodox Jews or, what’s more common, a group of Secular ones.
One night it was Magic and Macarons, where a Jewish magician performed and macarons were served for dessert.
Another called Shabbat in the Sky was held in a 52nd-floor penthouse in New York’s financial district.
“You don’t just have to do it for Shabbat, there can be Christian dinners, Muslim dinners,” Stanger says.
“There are ways to do this for any type of common interest.” Davis has a long way to go before the company is truly ringing in a profit.
Davis’ inspiration comes from her own grandmother, Rose Goldberg, who survived the holocaust in hiding after being sent to the ghettos of Wladimir Wolynsk in Poland.
“I used to think she was just this old-school sweet Polish lady,” Davis says.
“ And I realized it was an ideal environment for singles to meet each other.” She interviews singles and promises those selected for the dinner a potential partner, a night of unlimited alcohol and a meal, at her apartment or one of the guests’ who chooses to host, all for just —a division of 18, or chai in Hebrew, a lucky number in Judasim—The idea became a business when Davis applied and received a fellowship through Presen Tense, a social entrepreneurial program with a focus on the Jewish community.