Valentine's Day Shabbat Speed Dating Party. An odd combination, but that's exactly what I encountered on February 14th upon reaching the first hostel of my post-Taglit stay in Israel. Needless to say, it was a lot of fun. A group of the Taglits came for one night at one of the most lively, artsy, community-oriented hostels I've ever stayed at. The volunteers who worked there during my stay were wonderful and welcoming.
Shabbat dinner was attended, to my surprise, mostly by non-Jews. There was a genuine interest from both guests and volunteers in learning about and taking part in the tradition and communion of the Shabbat dinner.
Our speed dating experience took place in their "Green Room," which seemed to be a converted soundstage in the basement with a giant green screen taking up one of the walls. Now used as a hangout area and screening/projector room, it contained us as we took turns drawing portraits of one another on our "dates." The artwork is undoubtably gallery-worthy and can be seen below.
If you find yourself in Tel Aviv or Jaffa, I highly recommend this place. It's inexpensive and you'll certainly have some great conversations with fellow travelers. In true artistic form, there are no signs on the building, so navigating there can be a bit of a challenge. When you find it, however, you're sure to get a warm welcome.