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“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.“The studies disturb me, and there are small things to do to keep the tradition alive but make it our own,” she says.And the recent rise of anti-Semitism across Europe is especially troubling to her, even thought it’s not prevalent in New York.
Sure, JDate is popular and apps like Tinder and Hinge are growing, but that has consequences.
“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.
Labe Eden, a committee member at Presen Tense who has attended a few Shabbatness dinners, says he was struck by Davis and her idea from the get go. The idea could seem old school—but each dinner has its own special twist.
He explains it as a more wholesome experience than dating at a bar. One dinner was called Bourbon and Beatbox, where contestant and special guest Jay Stone beatboxed the Shema, a prayer from the Torah.