Chosen Ones: The Dinner Club

maniFor more info on the Craigslist post, check out this article on the Huffington Post.

A friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend showed me an ad they had seen on Craigslist titled “Seven Single White Jewish Males Looking to Host Seven Single Females for Shabbat Dinner.”  Now, I’m not one to actively seek out internet friends, but the contents of this particular ad were too funny/good to pass up.  So, duh I responded, duh I got picked, and duh I went. Only after the fact did I learn that the ad had gone viral, and the boys had received responses from all over the world.

I arrived at the designated meeting place to find confused looking girls who could only have also been respondents.  We look at each other, thinking we are about to meet our future husbands, make a friend or two, have dinner, or wind up dead and chopped up in a closet.  Either way, it will be a good story.

It was then that one of the seven single white Jewish males comes out with a ‘How to Talk to Girls’ book, and we know it’s going to be a memorable night.  He leads us to a room, where we find a beautifully set Shabbat dinner table, and I imagine the synchronized voices of Jewish mothers everywhere cooing, “Ooooh what menches!”  The boys take our coats to hang and one girl comments on mine.  “Thanks, it’s my Nana’s,” I say.  She smiles because she’s wearing her Nana’s too.  We sit boy girl boy girl.

Two boys are missing because one is sick and one has to work.  One girl doesn’t show.  I guess the prospect of getting chopped up into little (Jewish) pieces isn’t appealing to everyone?  We all have our differences.  But five boys and six girls is enough to dance the Hora.

I look around at the other ladies.  The “Chosen” of the “Chosen Ones.”  The “Sensational Six.”  The “Dinner Club.”  I am more excited to meet them than the boys.  They must have been handpicked for a reason, and I want to find out why.  Surrounded by strangers, but everyone is oddly familiar and I feel like I’m with family.  Awkwardness offset by flowing Manischewitz, and stomachs filled with challah, salmon, and guacamole (not in that order), the night goes swimmingly.

We talk about our backgrounds, how we found the ad (none of us had originally seen it on Craigslist), best case scenario for the night (this), worst case scenario (chopped up in a closet), and laugh and laugh.  Pass the Manischewitz please.  We share family stories and find that some of us know each other, some know family members of others, and some have mutual friends.  I’m not surprised: The Jewish community is small, and it makes me feel at home in a city I am new to.

The dinner continues with stories, games and even a dreidel, and the theme of the night is: Weird that this is so normal.  TOO normal.  Waiting for someone to break out the strip twister while blasting klezmer, but it never happens.  Pass the Manischewitz please.  We bond in the unique experience, but it is clear no one is actually seeking a date.  We stay past 1am and wonder why the ad got the reception it did.  Was it a Jewish thing?  Was it a DC thing?  Was it a DC Jewish thing?  Whatever it was, it feels like a double mitzvah.  The night winds down.  One more glass of Manischewitz please.

So while I did not meet my Jewish husband, friends were still made and information was exchanged.  This is a night we will always have and remember and it made me grateful to be Jewish, but even more grateful for Craigslist.

PS. The “Sensational Six” women have since been invited to a SECOND dinner by an entirely different group of six men that will happen sometime in February.  Updates to come.

The story continues! Read Part II here.