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I’m sitting in a Manhattan apartment watching the sun set with 11 of New York’s most eligible Jewish singles. It’s Friday night and the table is a traditional Shabbat setting—a Kiddush cup filled with red wine, freshly-blessed candles and challah bread that’s been ripped apart and passed around the table. The crowd is hushed as Erin Davis a 30-year-old, waif-like blond, our host for the night, announces it’s time for ice breakers, where we’ll read funny and ironic facts about each other and guess who it could be. Later I’ll leave after arranging a date with an adorable man handpicked by Davis whom my mother would kvell—ahem, gush—over. Jewish professionals over Shabbat dinners.

Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know right now. Davis is quite rare, a matchmaker who does things the artisanal way, setting up singles through dinner parties, not apps or algorithms. She started hosting at least one Shabbat dinner a month in 2013. And I realized it was an ideal environment for singles to meet each other. Davis got access to mentors, donors and business classes to put her vision in place. He explains it as a more wholesome experience than dating at a bar. You don’t have to necessarily impress anybody.

The idea could seem old school—but each dinner has its own special twist. Jay Stone beatboxed the Shema, a prayer from the Torah. 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. And her next one will feature only male homosexual couples.

Even with modern traditions, the core of the evening is Judaism. But after traveling Europe and researching the genocide, she felt it a strong pull toward preserving Jewish heritage and rituals. And it’s a heritage that’s getting diluted. A 2013 PEW study revealed that the percentage of U.

Jewish when asked about their religion has been cut by about half since the late 1950s. And more than half of Jewish Americans have married a non-Jewish spouse. And the recent rise of anti-Semitism across Europe is especially troubling to her, even thought it’s not prevalent in New York. A lot of it goes back to my grandma’s story. 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. At the dinner I attended, fewer than half the group could read Hebrew.