There are events for young people who like sports and cooking and volunteering. There are intimate discussion groups and big parties for hundreds. There are programs just for men, and programs just for women. There are events for those who like things more Jewish, and for those who like them less Jewish and even for those who aren’t looking for any Jewish content at all. There are classes for those who are into health and fitness, and get togethers for those who just want to kick back with a beer at the end of a long work week. There are cookouts and pool parties and ski trips. There are events just for singles, for parents with newborns and for growing families.
For the past decade The Mayerson Foundation has been working hard to provide a wide range of programming for young Jewish professionals and families to help make Greater Cincinnati a vibrant and exciting place for Jewish young people of every possible taste and interest.
“Young people are the life blood of any thriving community. And through programs like Access for Jewish young professionals (YPs), 21-35, Shalom Family for young families and YPs at the JCC we are proud to have made a contribution to the many efforts to help make Cincinnati a great place to be for this young Jewish cohort,” explained Pam Saeks, director of Jewish Giving for The Mayerson Foundation. “However, one size doesn’t fit all, and what we learned early on is that in order to be really successful we had to be willing to cater to the wide variety of our constituents’ needs and interests,” she continued.
“We realize that there are many points along the way when young people can lose their connection to Judaism and the Jewish community, so we have dedicated ourselves to providing as many entry points for as many different types of individuals as possible.
“But just when we thought we had covered every base, we discovered a very important group we had left out of the mix—young ‘couples.’ That’s when we created Access’ newest signature program, Schmooze for Twos.
“Now, young couples, primarily those without children, have a way to meet others in the Jewish community like themselves. When Jewish or interfaith couples can make connections with one another through programs like these, there’s a much better chance they will stay connected to Jewish life in the long run,” she added.
“We started noticing that some of the people who had been attending our Access events for years weren’t coming as much anymore,” said Rachel Plowden, Access event coordinator. “We did some analysis and discovered that a majority of them are now in committed relationships and as a result, their social needs and interests had shifted,” she explained. “That’s when we came up with the idea to do something just for young couples. After testing it with some focus groups, we were happy to learn that it was the perfect way to re-engage past participants and attract new ones,” she added. “Even though our community now offers several ways to meet other young Jewish singles and families with young children, there really wasn’t a formalized way for young couples to meet others like themselves, especially those who don’t have children, or who are just in the beginning phases of their relationships when most of their other friends may still be single. We are encouraged by the large number of couples who have attended our Schmooze for Twos events, and are glad to be able to fill this important niche in the Jewish community.” “When my fiancée and I moved to Cincinnati we didn’t really get to know anyone for three months,” said Marie Krulewitch. “When we went to our first Schmooze for Twos Happy Hour we ended up meeting some really cool couples, and have already gone pumpkin patching, made home-made pizzas, gone to the park, and had a campfire with a couple we met at that very first event. Schmooze for Twos not only offers people in relationships a group of others to go on double-dates with, but it gives us a readymade group of people who have and will go through similar experiences as their relationships continue to develop.”
Schmooze for Twos is open to couples who are married, engaged, or in committed relationships and in which at least one partner is Jewish and in which at least one partner is between the ages of 21-35. The program began last September with a dinner party at Stir in Olde Montgomery, and was followed by a Couples’ Lox and Box: Breakfast and Boxing Class at the Mayerson JCC, an Art-rageous Latka and Martini Bar event at The Mayerson Foundation’s Private Penthouse Art Gallery and a Sinfully Delicious Date Night for Sweethearts for Valentine’s Day.
Next up, couples will be treated to ballroom dance lessons when Schmooze for Twos takes to the dance floor for Dare 2 Dance Date Night and Dinner on Wednesday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Dare 2 Dance Studios in Blue Ash. Experts will teach participants the basics that will have them “dancing like the stars” in no time. They will learn the fundamentals of some traditional favorites such as the Fox Trot, and of course, the most popular social dance, Salsa. The program is free with advance reservations and includes refreshments and drinks.
“I really enjoy the Schmooze events because they are more intimate,” said Karen Overmyer, who attends events with her husband Mark. “We really enjoy the low-key atmosphere, the smaller venues, and socializing with other couples like us. And, everyone there is a candidate for a double date so it’s easy to make friends! Mark and I are planning a camping trip with a couple we met at the Stir Happy Hour.”
For more information or to RSVP by May 6 for the Dare 2 Dance event, please contact Rachel Plowden at Access.