Famous Jewish matchmaker, dating coach and host on the Netflix show “Jewish Matchmaking” Aleeza Ben Shalom headlined a fun event at Kehilat Pardes – The Rock Creek Synagogue in Rockville on Dec. 4 for singles in the community that the synagogue hopes will lead to additional future programming opportunities for singles.
Ben Shalom hosted the show’s first season in 2023 and it became a popular hit, with many expecting the streaming giant to renew it for a second season, although no plans have been announced. The show led Ben Shalom to gain a large following and partake in numerous events across the United States, but this event was special, as Ben Shalom personally knows Kehilat Pardes’ head rabbi, Uri Topolosky.
“My wife and I are friends with her and her husband. We have known them for a very, very long time and we’re close with the family. And when her show came out on Netflix, we immediately knew this would be a great draw for our community and exciting and so we reached out first and tried to line up her schedule,” Topolosky said.
It was initially tricky to find a time for the event because Ben Shalom lives in Israel, but they made it work, much to the excitement of Topolosky and the congregants. Topolosky added that it was great to be able to bring in someone with such dynamic energy to educate people on the important issue of finding and maintaining healthy relationships.
One of the ways that they accomplished this during the event was by having some of the singles in attendance go on stage with Ben Shalom and talk with her, which enabled the audience to become potential matchmakers as well.
Topolosky emphasized that the program was a community event, with many married couples attending as well. He said that it was the responsibility of the entire community to work toward building relationships and looking out for one another.
“It was a hugely successful event. It was a way for our congregation to underscore our commitment to singles and to the importance and responsibility we should all feel towards matchmaking and helping people find a partner. We had a terrific turnout,” Topolosky said.
But matchmaking was only one part of the program, as they also discussed ways to establish and maintain healthy relationships, which applied to the couples in the audience as well.
“Even though there was a matchmaker part of this, it was also about Jewish matchmaking and thinking about what makes a successful and healthy relationship. And that’s advice that we can all get, even those of us who are married, and it’s an important spiritual responsibility of the congregation to help those of us in relationships, to maintain those relationships and to build healthy relationships,” Topolosky said.
And that was a major takeaway from the event that Topolosky mentioned, saying that while he wasn’t aware of any matches because of the event, he was hopeful that it sparked conversations in the community that may lead to matches in the future and cause reflection among those in relationships about what they need to invest in their partner and their connection in order to continue enhancing their relationships.
Topolosky added that having events like this that force conversation and reflection allows for the congregation to gain deeper and more fulfilling bonds with each other and with God.
This event also may lead to other similar programs down the line, as the synagogue works to put a focus on communal relationships and different types of interpersonal relationships that are worth giving plenty of attention to, according to Topolosky.
He said that one of the ways they’ve been doing that is through a focus on hospitality and working on a number of events and programs that will serve the broader community.
“I think the Jewish matchmaking event is one piece of a larger puzzle of what it means to think about our community, to create an accepting and accessible community where all people can feel, embrace and love, and go on as part of the community,” Topolosky said.