Young adults, parents, and grandparents packed into the Mayerson Jewish Community Center’s auditorium on September 5 to see one person: Aleeza Ben Shalom, the break-out star of “Jewish Matchmaking.” Some folks in attendance had never even seen a full episode of the Netflix show.
“I wasn’t able to watch the full series,” said Danielle Silver, 30. “I’ve seen a lot of clips on Tik Tok, I know who she is, I’m just here supporting other women in the community. Especially if they’re looking to be matched.”
Other audience members discovered the show because of their non-Jewish friends.
“My non-Jewish friends introduced me to it. I watched a couple of episodes, and then I saw she was coming to Cincinnati and I had to come – it sounded like fun,” said Josh Rothstein, 37.
The evening was part one-woman show, part interview, and part matchmaking. Ben Shalom opened the show by telling her story, how she grew up in a secular home, found her way into Orthodox Judaism, got into matchmaking, moved to Israel, and was cast on the popular Netflix show.
Through her show, Ben Shalom offered advice on dating and how to maintain a healthy relationship – all based on her perspective as an Orthodox Jew. Her main advice for those currently searching for someone was an acronym PUSH: pray until something happens.
The highlight of the night was when four Jewish singles, Jeff Goodman, Lulu Gordon, Dani Issachsohn, and Sophia Yasgur were brought up on stage to answer questions, not only from Aleeza but also the audience on what sort of person they were looking for and about their likes and dislikes.
“One of the organizers is my best friend’s mom, and she guilted me into it,” joked Jeff Goodman. “And she knew I would say yes…so I did it.”
Not everyone in attendance wanted to give matchmaking a try, but others were open to the idea if someone like Ben Shalom was taking the lead.
“If somebody with the skills of Aleeza could do it, yeah, of course, I’d never close off an opportunity,” said Rothstein.
Before the event began Cincy Jewfolk had a chance to catch up with Aleeza and talk about her whirlwind world tour. She has been hopping from city to city for the entire summer, rarely spending more than a day in each city.
“I’m a little lucky when I get 24 hours in a city. If it’s longer than that, it would be Shabbos,” said Shalom. “The shortest time has been eight hours in a city.”
While in a host city, her schedule has been tight, giving her very little time to rest.
“I came from Australia, so I left there on Sunday at 9:30 a.m., arrived in L.A. at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, then I went to a friend’s wedding, she is also a matchmaker, so I had 15 hours in L.A., then took a red-eye to Chicago, had a show there, and then I flew [to Cincinnati] this morning,” said Ben Shalom.
She’s been able to keep up with her schedule by taking little naps when her packed schedule allows. Even on the tour, there has been some matchmaking success from the live events, and she has also been focusing on making inter-city matches.
“We had a guy in Arizona who was on stage with us get a message, and we had a match!” she said. “And it’s already been two months and they’re very happy.”
Even with her packed schedule and lack of sleep, Ben Shalom is having a great time on her whirlwind world tour.
“I’m in heaven,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to travel the world, and I thought I missed the boat, you know getting married, having my kids, moving to Israel. But this[show] has afforded me the opportunity to travel, and reach people that I would not have otherwise.”