(idea submitted by Melissa L.)
Jewish Young Adults are known to be social beings. They enjoy interacting with other JYAs, and will maintain prolonged contact with friends from all corners of the globe. They also claim to be culturally conscious, interested in world affairs, up to date on the latest trends, and frequently reading the news or periodicals. These two characteristics combine symbiotically whenever a JYA finds him/herself at a Charity Event.
Whether it is Darfur, Haiti, Hurricane Katrina, or even a voter drive, JYAs are frequently at the helm; organizing, promoting, and sending Facebook invites to all of their friends. The sheer number of these events, and the sheer number of JYAs involved, has become a substitute for other “normal” social interaction. JYAs will see the same people time and again, finding that they have nothing to say to each other, just like in the last event, and sometimes not even acknowledging that they met just last week at the fundraiser for the Jewish Women’s Federation of New York.
In reality, charity events, even though ideologically commendable, quickly devolve into a meat market, with the hope that a potential romantic interest might emerge amidst the familiar crowd. Unfortunately, by the end of the event, most JYAs will find themselves drinking as much red wine as possible from plastic cups, deftly avoiding the awkward conversations with the people who hit on them at countless other events.
A subset of these charity events are so called “Networking Events”, which dangerously blur the line between business, humanitarian goals, and dating. It is not uncommon for a JYA to give a business card to a potential donor for their Save the Crested Macaque of Indonesia gathering, only to receive a solicitous email two months later from a 50 year old divorcee looking for arm candy and inviting you to late night drinks at the Campbell Apartment.
Interestingly, even though JYAs are consistently disappointed with the lack of “fresh meat” at Charity Events, they continue attending, harboring some illogical hope that the next event will lead not only to more donations for some tragic event, but also to a potential Besheret. While the odds of a match made in heaven are slim, at least money is going to a good cause along the way.