While most people in the basement of the Hawthorn that Saturday night don’t know each other, they all seem eager to mingle.Most are friendly and enthusiastic, if a little bit sheepish about why they are there.The most recent event — a dinner for 60 people — sold out, and coming up is a Purim party organized with Emanu-El and a weekend trip to Las Vegas at the end of February.The Facebook page has 428 members, and the newsfeed is regularly populated with information about other Jewish social events in the city.They feel similar to that same mindset from Jewish camp, where the prized campers are the ones who meet at camp and got married and now have a plaque on the wall at the dining hall.There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just not what I’m about right now,” said Marx.While the people interviewed for this story represent a range of social and political affiliations, and the events they attend are various — from late nights at San Francisco dance clubs to bonfire Havdalahs on the farm in Berkeley, queer Shabbat services in living rooms and Hanukkah parties in backyards — a few things become clear: Despite the differences across social, religious and political spectrums, young Jews are showing up at Jewish events hungry for connection and community. In the Bay Area, home of the startup, the proactive do-it-yourself energy is front and center in the Jewish dating world.While most say they are seeking a romantic partner (or two), they no longer look to Jewish online dating apps or longstanding Jewish institutions to create the social scenarios. Enter Jewbilee, a grassroots social event started six months ago by two entrepreneurial brothers that meets at different alcohol-friendly locations in San Francisco.
We’re nonaffiliated, nondenominational, and try to appeal to both synagoguegoers as well as those who would never set foot in a synagogue,” said Doochin, 29, who brainstormed the idea with older brother Jonathan shortly after moving to San Francisco a year ago.
Benji Marx, a 26-year-old musician and educator in Berkeley, uses the Internet to meet people, but he does not have profiles on JDate, Bubby or JSwipe, because he finds them alienating.