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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.
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.
“ 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 $36—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.
Davis got access to mentors, donors and business classes to put her vision in place.
Her goal is to make it a 501(c)(3), a nonprofit and tax-exempt organization similar to the Birthright Israel Foundation.
“I’ve seen the passion behind birthright donors and the sustenance of Jewish practice and the formation of Jewish couples,” Davis says.
Apps have taken dating and turned it into a giant game of hot-or-not, where choices are endless and real relationships are few and far between.
Sure, JDate is popular and apps like Tinder and Hinge are growing, but that has consequences.
She started hosting at least one Shabbat dinner a month in 2013.