Taking the Freeway to Love

The 405 Jewish Singles circuit bringstogether men and women from nine synagogues along the rush-hourartery

By Ruth Stroud, Staff Writer


Single and stuck in evening rush-hour traffic onthe 405 Freeway on the last Friday of the month? Instead of leaningon the horn and screaming at the driver in the next lane, you mightconsider pulling over and dropping in at one of nine Reform andConservative synagogues that have joined the new 405 Jewish SinglesShabbat services circuit.

Rabbi Gary Davidson

Participating shuls are scattered from FountainValley at the southern extreme to Westchester in the north. RabbiGary Davidson of Temple Beth Shalom in Long Beach, a 35-year-oldbachelor, helped kick off the effort, along with Rabbi Michael Bealsof B’nai Tikvah Congregation in Westchester.

Davidson had attended rotating singles services inBoston before moving to Southern California and accepting his firstrabbinical position. Once here, he found that there was scant singlessynagogue programming which didn’t require driving into thecity.

Separately, Beals had been thinking of startingsomething similar. He had met his wife, Elissa, five years ago atsuch an event hosted by major conservative synagogues in Los Angeles.”I thought if it worked for the big synagogues, how about our smallsynagogues located in the South Bay, Long Beach and northern OrangeCounty.”

After an initial meeting, nine rabbis agreed toform their own rotating services for Jewish singles, ages 22 to45.

Forty people were expected at the first event, atB’nai Tikvah on Jan. 30; 90 showed up. The sushi ran out at thekiddush/cocktail mixer after services, but everyone apparently had agood time — even one septuagenarian who had misread the upper agelimit.

Davidson, who was ordained two years ago, admitsthat there is a bit of self-interest in his eagerness to initiate thesingles Shabbats; he hopes to meet his beshert at one of them. Ofcourse, it will have to be at his own shul, since he is too busyleading services on Fridays to travel elsewhere on the 405. Davidson,6-foot-6, will be hard to miss, wherever he is. His specificationsfor a wife? “Someone who’s as lovely on the inside as she is on theoutside.”

The next 405 Singles services will be on Feb. 27,at 8 p.m., at Temple Israel, 3538 E. Third Street, in Long Beach. Forinformation, call (562) 434-0996.

Other participating synagogues include:Congregation Tifereth Jacob in Manhattan Beach; Temple Beth El in SanPedro; Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Fountain Valley; Temple BethZion-Sinai in Lakewood; Temple Beth David in Westminster; and TempleMenorah in Redondo Beach.