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Cleveland Yentas

by Rachel Heiser

While we have been fortunate so far this season, let’s get real, it’s going to snow at some point in the near future. It is December in Northeast Ohio, after all.

That being the case, I turn to the discussion of snowflakes. We Ohioans often think of snow as an inconvenience and look at snowflakes as a big mass, clumping together as cold, white snow.

However, each snowflake is quite fascinating and beautiful. Each is different from any other snowflake in time.* But, we don’t usually stop to appreciate individual snowflakes.

Being in the “winter holiday” month, it is a good time to get out and mingle. There have been some great Hanukkah options to gather with others, especially Coach Blatt. And, there are more coming up, such as JCLE’s Wrap Up Bash at Paladar on Christmas Eve.

But, what do you do when you meet that special someone, at one of these events, through a matchmaker or another route? You can invite her/him for coffee, drinks or dinner to get to know them better. Or, you can show how unique you are.

There is so much more to experience in Cleveland together. Show you are not just one among the clump of cold, white snow. Trying something new together can be a great ice breaker and bonding experience. Here are some examples.

First, learn to mambo. You may not like ballroom dancing** or any kind of dancing, but offering this as a date option can make you stand out from the crowd. Even if you both have two left feet or cannot keep a beat, you will have shared a unique experience and created a discussion piece for that follow-up drink.

Second, take a hike. Explore the Metroparks or take a ride down the toboggan chutes. By navigating this terrain in warm or cold weather, you create opportunities to solve problems together.

Third, go shopping. That’s right. But, not for yourselves. Roam the aisles with your Starbucks in hand to pick canned food items to donate to the Cleveland Food Bank and, then, stay and sort cans together. Or, pick up some clothing essentials and toilettes to donate at a local shelter or organization like the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless.

Fourth, get crafty. Paint pottery or a canvas. Most painting places allow you to bring food and adult beverages with you. Take a private glass blowing class. You will have walked away from this experience having built something together.

Fifth, get your good Samaritan badge. Work together at the City Mission to serve meals to the homeless. Or, meet during your lunch hour and participate in Federation’s Winter Break Lunch Program to serve lunch to and engage with underprivileged urban children.

You can always cozy up with someone special you meet this winter by the fire of a restaurant, coffee shop or local ski lodge to deal with the snow this winter. Or, you can break away from the mounds of white snow and stand out as a unique, ice crystal by showing your creativity.

* Some say that two identical snowflakes were discovered in 1988.** Many dance studios in town actually offer a first class for free.

Rachel Heiser is President and CEO of Cleveland Yentas, a non-profit organization. Cleveland Yentas provides free matchmaking for all Jewish singles over 21. Over 350 people have registered. Learn more or register at www.CLEyentas.com.

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