Young men wearing dark suits pressed against the walls as young women in pencil skirts and high heels carefully made their way up the stairs, balancing berry pies and dishes of potato salad in their arms.
One of the dinners took place in the 12th-floor apartment of Baruch November, a 31-year-old Orthodox man. Although dating is a major preoccupation of the vast number of single twenty- and thirtysomethings, it’s hard to think of a group that so completely chooses to live in a neighborhood based on dating opportunities as the city’s young Orthodox Jews. And the
In the past 10 years particularly, the community has undergone what Michael Landau, the chairman of the Council of Orthodox Jewish Organizations of the
“If you get to be 23 or 24 and you’re not married, your parents are going to say you shouldn’t be living at home anymore,” said Rabbi Allen Schwartz of Congregation Ohab Zedek, a synagogue on
Mr. November, an English professor and poet from Pittsburgh who moved to the Upper West Side five years ago, put it this way: “It’s like all roads lead to the West Side.”
The Lure of the
Many people trace the development of the dating scene on the Upper West Side to the mid-’60s, when a charismatic young rabbi named Shlomo Riskin took the helm at the new Lincoln Square Synagogue, near Lincoln Center.
Throughout the ’70s, young people from Orthodox enclaves in the city and beyond moved in droves to the
There’s no question that that influenced the Orthodox as well. People were postponing marriage.”
As real estate prices rose in the 1980s, the young singles migrated north toward
The oldest of four children, he grew up in Squirrel Hill, the leafy, picturesque neighborhood on the east side of
“It’s the cable TV syndrome,” explained Rabbi Schwartz of Congregation Ohab Zedek. Flirting and Kabbalah
One fixture on the Orthodox social circuit is Congregation Ohav Sholom, on
Despite the grumbling among some Orthodox singles about the pressures of dating, Mr. Eisenberg believes that they are still better off than many of the city’s singles, whose dating life consists of one-night stands and endless evenings in murky bars.
Even as the young, unattached Orthodox Jews of the Upper West Side gravitate to such scenes, parents back home are sometimes less happy about the way their offspring are spending their courting years.