To the Altar, At Full Speed

As Harvard Hillel’s Web site states, “Speed dating is as Jewish as kugel.” And the ritual has some roots in tradition: in the ’90s, Yaacov Deyo ’85 set up “SpeedDating” events to match up single Jewish men and women in Los Angeles. According to Michael B. Pershan ’11, president of the Harvard Hillel Men’s Club, this year’s Saturday night speed dating at Hillel aimed to “give Jews a chance to meet other Boston-area Jews,” true to Deyo’s vision.

Co-sponsored by the Men’s Club and the Jewish Women’s Group, the event attracted over 100 eager singles from a variety of colleges around Boston.

An overwhelmed Pershan surveyed Hillel’s bustling dining hall. Additional tables and chairs were hastily arranged to accommodate the unexpected turnout as the room quickly filled with students donning name tags, introducing themselves, and munching on Trader Joe’s treats.

“We would have been happy if 30 people showed up,” he says.

Reyzl R. Geselowitz ’10 of the Jewish Women’s Group saw the crowd as a testament to the drab dating scene at Harvard.

“There is a very small number of Harvard couples who are basically married for four years, and everyone else is lonely,” she said. “The outrageous turnout tonight is evidence of that.”

To add to the appeal, the event’s tagline stated: “Make your mother proud.”

“It’s not an exaggeration,” Geselowitz said. “Whenever my parents or grandparents call they ask me ‘So...?’”

Four minutes after everyone had settled in, the peal of a shrill whistle provided the speed daters with another chance to make their parents proud, or perhaps remedy the perpetual singlehood so often induced by Harvard culture. Even a few non-Jews could be found in the mix.

“My parents push me to go out and meet a good Jewish woman,” claimed Anthony J. Sterle ’11. “And I’m not even Jewish.”