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Davis’ inspiration comes from her own grandmother, Rose Goldberg, who survived the holocaust in hiding after being sent to the ghettos of Wladimir Wolynsk in Poland.
“I used to think she was just this old-school sweet Polish lady,” Davis says.
“It’s a huge passion of mine to take a direct role in stopping [anti-Semitism,]” she says. It’s inspired me to do whatever I can to continue the tradition and to modernize Shabbats to make them for the times today.
Davis incorporates bits of tradition into each dinner she hosts, whether it’s a group of modern Orthodox Jews or, what’s more common, a group of Secular ones.
“The studies disturb me, and there are small things to do to keep the tradition alive but make it our own,” she says.
And the recent rise of anti-Semitism across Europe is especially troubling to her, even thought it’s not prevalent in New York.
Train Spottings uses matchmakers, known as ‘conductors,’ who scope the New York City Subway scene for singles to match with clients.
Labe Eden, a committee member at Presen Tense who has attended a few Shabbatness dinners, says he was struck by Davis and her idea from the get go. The idea could seem old school—but each dinner has its own special twist.
He explains it as a more wholesome experience than dating at a bar. One dinner was called Bourbon and Beatbox, where contestant and special guest Jay Stone beatboxed the Shema, a prayer from the Torah.
“You don’t just have to do it for Shabbat, there can be Christian dinners, Muslim dinners,” Stanger says.
“There are ways to do this for any type of common interest.” Davis has a long way to go before the company is truly ringing in a profit.