Old & New Jewish Singles Groups Hope To Take Off

The Jewish Singles Collaborative (JSC) is struggling. There’s plenty of interest with about 150 organizations and 650 people on the email list, but the sole volunteer — Cindy Dubansky — said not enough people are willing to volunteer.

Dubansky, a social worker, sends out tailored newsletters two to three times a month with events in the Twin Cities for Jewish singles ages 21-29, 30-49 and 50 and over. However only the 50 and over demographic is active in JSC events.

Though JSC lacks volunteers, funding, and attendance, Dubansky said it is the only group for Jewish singles in the area. Individual congregations used to have singles groups, but the Twin Cities is left with the Collaborative which is meant to include all Jewish singles.

JSC lost funding and a paid coordinator in 2009. It then had success with volunteer coordinators when Dubansky and Ellisa Heilicher, who passed away this past December, took over with no budget.

Now with full-time and part-time jobs, Dubansky has little time to do much more than monthly coffees and some continued annual events like a dinner at Cecil’s followed with a concert at the St. Paul JCC.

Speech-Language Pathologist Jen Schwartz is ready to volunteer but interested in starting up activities for a 40s-50s age group. Dubansky said she would add that age range if there was interest. However, only about seven people said they were in the age group and interested.

Already involved in hobby groups through the community-building platform Meetup, Schwartz created her own Meetup group called MOTs in MSP in March. 

The group has 17 members and held its first event on June 19. Four people attended a happy hour in Hopkins.

Those who were able to attend were very friendly and enthusiastic about the opportunity to connect with new people,” Schwartz said. “Others took the time to reach out and express their regret about not being able to attend, so I am extremely optimistic about future events as word gets out in the community.

Upcoming events include lawn bowling and dinner, trivia night, and a concert at the Lake Harriet Band Shell.

Schwartz said the focus of her group is not religious: “I thought it might be fun to try and create something that’s really low-key and social to just meet new people that are kind of in my same boat.”

Both Schwartz and Dubansky hope to see their groups grow and have others organize activities too.

“I just have to hope that someone’s going to come out of the woodwork, and I would love to work with them and support them as much as possible to try to get some more activities off the ground,” said Dubansky.

Dubansky hopes JSC will find new life and that “some person or some organization will take an interest in Jewish singles and want to do something for Jewish singles.”