There’s nothing like a Jewish young adult event to mingle with Jewish friends, do some quality networking and maybe even search for that special someone. Or, perhaps you just need to prove that you do indeed still exist and don’t spend every night curled up with your DVR remote or spooning with your laptop.
When you finally do put on your schmoozing shoes, you’ll meet all kinds of people at these events. Some will simply offer good conversation, some will be supremely awkward and some will change your life. But no matter how it shakes out, where would you rather be than with hundreds of fun-loving, like-minded Jews?
1. A friend from a previous Jewish life
Hebrew school, Jewish summer camp, youth group, an Israel trip – if you’re at a Jewish young adult event, you can probably check one or two things off of that list. (Otherwise, why would you be getting your party on at a Jewish young adult event?) Consequently, someone from “a lifetime ago” will most likely be there, whether you recognize them or not. Hopefully you recognize them – and hopefully reconnecting leads to more than awkward “remember when?” stories only one of you remembers.
2. The person you’ve never met but see at literally everything Jewish
No matter how involved you try to be in Jewish social events in the city, this person always has you beat. They’re at everything, you know their name, and you’ve seen them so many times that when you do happen to interact face-to-face, you are left with no choice but to pretend you’ve met before.
3. The Jewish professional
If you ask someone what they do and they reply with an acronym of some sort and just assume you know what it stands for, you’ve probably just met a Jewish professional. Tip: conversations with Jewish professionals will be interrupted multiple times by other people wanting to say hello. Be patient and you may be rewarded through personal introductions to new people.
4. The overly enthusiastic Jewish geographer
Talking with someone you’ve recently met about the overlap in your Jewish circles is a natural part of conversation. But to the overly enthusiastic Jewish geographer, investigating Jewish social Venn diagrams is a full-time hobby. This person will give themselves away pretty quickly by actually saying the term “Jewish geography” aloud along with phrases such as, “what a small world!” and “that’s so funny!”
5. The networking maven
The networking maven is a well-trained, stealthy Jewish geographer. So outgoing, warm and friendly, you won’t even know you’ve just spilled your life and resume to them until it’s too late. Hopefully you’re ready for and open to the barrage of connections that will ensue. Some of the suggestions might be a bit obscure, but if you’re lucky, the right connection might be just across the room.
6. That kid from high school
Although you might do anything to avoid them, there’s just no getting away from that kid from high school whom you technically know but haven’t spoken with in around 10 years. He or she WILL be at this event. Neither of you particularly want to catch up, but neither can you pretend like you don’t know each other. If you can’t suck it up and approach them, be prepared to dart your eyes away all night and take long and unnecessary paths to the bar or snack table.
7. The person who just moved here
If you feel uncomfortable at a Jewish young adult event, once you meet this newbie, you will suddenly feel loads better. You will probably want to try and adopt them, sharing wisdom about the city introducing them to everyone at the party whose name you remember… even though in reality they’re probably more comfortable at this event than you are.
8. The suburban couch-crasher
This person drove in from the suburbs just for this event and will be crashing on a friend’s couch after. The only thing this person is more desperate to do than find a job that will let them move out of their parents’ house is have the most amazing fun social night in the city ever. Get them a drink and make them feel awesome, or stay out of their way.
9. The person who makes you feel old
Maybe you were their camp counselor or even their babysitter, and now they are at this party drinking with you. No one really cares how old anyone is after college, but seriously, those recent graduates in the corner are practically babies! Like, didn’t you just graduate from college? What the hell?
10. The person who makes you feel young
For every baby-faced young ‘un at the event, someone will be talking about how they’re almost some age that ends in a zero. Cue sigh of relief. Good thing you’re not that old …
11. The touchy-feely person who keeps violating your personal space
Loud, crowded rooms and social drinking often lead people to be less cognizant of personal space. In a sea of many people looking to meet their future friend or soul mate, you may find it hard to avoid a sweaty palm on your shoulder, an awkward hug, or someone talking an inch from your ear. You may as well just embrace it. (Ba-dum, ching.)
12. The person who tries to lock you into a “really deep” conversation
Them: Trying to discover the meaning of life.
You: Just trying to reach for a bagel.
13. The Israeli whom you desperately want to impress
They’re likely (definitely) the most attractive person in the room, they have a cute accent and they probably make a mean hummus. Obviously, you are drawn to the Israeli at the event and desperately want them to know how up you are on all things Israel. Finally, an opportunity to put those years of Hebrew lessons to good use! Aifo ha-shei-ru-tim indeed.
14. The new mom who finally has the night off
She’s the first one on the dance floor, but she’ll stop on a dime to show off photos of her bundle of joy. She’s also done by 8 p.m. – maybe 9 if she had a nap today, so show up late and you’ll miss her. And if she arrives with a little bit of baby vomit in her hair, give her a break – she just created a small new human.
15. The guy who thinks this is a college party
No, you can’t rock that polo like you used to, no, this event is not serving Old Style in red solo cups and lastly no, nobody wants a shot of whatever mouthwash liquor you love even if you can pay for a dozen with your big boy job. Please try to control your disappointment.
16. The person who asked for your number at the last Jewish event
If this person was looking for love at the last Jewish event, chances are they’re at it again this time around. If you blew them off, you can probably get by, but if you gave them a fake number, well ... Pro tip for next time: Give your real number but with one digit off, so if you see them again you can pretend it was an honest mistake.
17. The person you awkwardly messaged with on JDate for awhile
You had just started bonding over your mutual hatred of mayonnaise when they dropped off the face of the earth and stopped replying to your messages. You had convinced yourself they lost their phone or had a traumatic brain injury… but alas, here they are. Awkwaaaaard ...
18. Your beshert
Hey, it could happen.
Looking for the next great Jewish young adult event? Check out YLD’s Big Event on Nov. 16 featuring comedians Amy Schumer and Jim Gaffigan. Register here.