As the weather turns from sweltering hot to a little cooler, and with the High Holidays upon us, it’s time to deal with a question that might arise: Is it kosher to date on Rosh Hashanah?
Now, I don’t mean that you should analyze whether it’s unkosher (perhaps literally) to grab some moo goo gai pan at the Chinese restaurant next door after Rosh Hashanah services if your stomach is growling during the shofar blowing. What I mean is: What if you see a good-looking gal (or guy) at services? Would it be sacrilegious to start a conversation and potentially ask for her contact information? I’d venture to say no… but use plenty of caution and respect.
Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of a new year after all, and we’re supposed to fill it with sweet things, like apples and honey. While common wisdom would have us believe that said honey should be viscous and come from a bee, what if there’s another form of something sweet at services, and instead she’s about 5’3 with honey brown hair, freckles on her face, and cherry red lipstick. Should we deprive ourselves of one type of sweet new year to maintain respect for the other?
I used to have a friend (we’ll call her Diana) who moved to Baltimore and didn’t know anyone there. Rather than driving down to DC to join me at services, she decided to attend services there by herself. She was on the seat second from the end. Just as the service started, a guy (we’ll call him Joey) sat down next to her, also by himself. They exchanged pleasantries – name, job, the usual – and that was that. Joey wanted to ask Diana out, but he was afraid that it went against all social and religious norms to do it in the synagogue, and on the holiest of holy days (this time Yom Kippur) at that. So he waited a week, got creative, looked her up (these were pre-Facebook days!), and asked her out. They are now married with a baby boy.
Now, I’m no religious guru, but my thought is: Would G-d want us to stop ourselves from “going for it” on the holiday? While no one could ever know the answer to this question, what I recommend is that if you think someone might be worth talking to after services, it doesn’t hurt to strike up a conversation and end with some form of, “I really enjoyed talking to you. Let’s definitely be in touch after the holidays. May I get your number?” A lighter alternative would be to ask for the other person’s business card… an easy peasy way to exchange information without using the line, “What’s your number?”
As we internalize the spirit of the High Holidays and try to enjoy the year 5774, remember that it’s ok to start off on a bold and exciting foot. L’Shanah Tova! I’ll be at the 6th in the City New Year’s Eve Party tonight. Hope to see you there!
Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people stand out from the online dating crowd and have a rewarding experience. An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available. Want to connect with Erika? Join her newsletter for updates and tips.