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Matzo Ball

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Title: Matzo Ball  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Singles event, RAVSAK, Emunah Magazine, Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, Jewish Federation
Collection: Balls (Dance), Christmas Events and Celebrations, Debutante Balls, Winter Traditions
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Matzo Ball

The Matzo Ball is an annual

  • Matzo Ball official website
  • Photo gallery from Matzo Ball 2010 in Washington, DC
  • The Ball official website
  • Seattle Latkepalooza 2009
  • Phoenix Mazelpalooza 2009
  • San Francisco Latke Ball 2009
  • Tampa Vodka Latke 2009
  • Stu and Lew Productions presents Schmooz-a-Palooza and JDate Events listing for Schmooz-a-Palooza

External links

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l , Associated Press (Washington Post), December 24, 2006Dec. 24 Becomes Party Night for Jewish SinglesJessica Gresko,
  2. ^ a b c , Jewish Tribune (Canada), November 10, 2009Famous Matzo Ball parties to land hereMike Cohen,
  3. ^ a b , JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency), reprinted in j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California, December 20, 2002Christmas time inspires Jews 'to express own Jewishness'Joe Berkofsky,
  4. ^ ,, 2008Party pics: 12th Annual MatzoBall party
  5. ^ , - Upcoming Events forum, 2009The Matzah Ball at KISS & FLY - Thursday, Dec 24th 2009
  6. ^ , The (Philadelphia) Jewish Exponent, January 8, 2009Hitting the Road to Check Out the Scene During Holiday SeasonRoy S. Gutterman,
  7. ^ ,, December 20, 2005Record 10,000 Jewish Singles to Attend Matzo Ball Parties on December 24Society of Jewish Young Professionals, Press Release:
  8. ^ a b c d e f , JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency), December 17, 2009What’s a Jew to do on Christmas Eve?
  9. ^ , New York Times, December 24, 2008A Season of MoreJennifer 8. Lee,
  10. ^ a b c d , The New Republic, December 19, 2013Christmas is the Greatest Jewish HolidayMarc Tracy,
  11. ^ , New York Times, December 16, 1987Deciding to Celebrate Christmas, or NotBrenda Lane Richardson,
  12. ^ , New York Times, December 22, 2003Off on Yom Kippur? It's Probably Time To Work a HolidayDaniel J. Wakin,
  13. ^ , New York Times, December 23, 2004Things to Do if You Don’t Do ChristmasJennifer 8. Lee,
  14. ^ a b c d e , JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency),December 31, 2007Hitting the Matzo Balls on Christmas EveBen Harris and Jacob Berkman,
  15. ^ This Jewish singles party comes but once a year, Christmas Eve has become the hottest annual date for meeting a potential mate, Philadelphia Inquirer, December 25, 2003, available via Newsbank Archives
  16. ^ , Boston Globe, December 24, 2008Looking for a marry little holiday?Meredith Goldstein,
  17. ^ , 2006, pp. 243–244Daughter of the BrideFrancesca Segrè,
  18. ^ a b , PepGiraffe, 2007Twas the Night Before Christmas, 2007PepGiraffe,
  19. ^ EventsSociety of Young Jewish Professionals,
  20. ^ a b c d e f ,, 2009Select Your CitySociety of Young Jewish Professionals,
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ , Palm Beach Post, December 23, 2008Jewish singles in Palm Beach County will spend Christmas Eve mingling at Matzo BallAndrew Abramson,
  24. ^ , The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 19, 2012Calling all Jewish singles to the 26th annual MatzoBallLucy Briggs,
  25. ^ Joanne Apice, MatzoBall celebrates 26 years of helping singles mix and mingle on Christmas Eve,, December 19, 2012
  26. ^ , The Denver Post, December 16, 2006Colorado Sunday
  27. ^ a b Society of Young Jewish Professionals, Matzo Ball Cities, 2013
  28. ^ , The (Montreal) Gazette, December 23, 2009Matzo Ball coming to town at lastJean-Sebastien Marier,
  29. ^ a b c d , Shalom Life, December 17, 2013.Matzoball 2013: A Quarter Century of Jews Partying Together on XmasDaniel Koren,
  30. ^ a b , OnlineDatingScene, December 7, 2006Spark Networks Acquires Schmooz-a-PaloozaPress Release,
  31. ^ Plans Under Way for holiday 'Matzo Ball' in Boca, Elsewhere, Boca Raton/Delray Beach News, November 4, 2007, p. 6A, available via Google News
  32. ^ a b c , JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency), November 30, 1999Seeking the perfect Matzo Ball
  33. ^ a b , Jews' Next Dor, December 12, 2008Move over Latke Ball, The Ball 2008 is in Town'challahbackgirl', , archived at
  34. ^ ,, 2008The Ball 2008 in Ft Lauderdale- The Nation's Biggest Jewish Singles Event (Christmas Eve, December 24)Press Release, , archived at
  35. ^ a b c ,, December 22, 2008Hooking up This Hanukkah?Josh Novikoff,
  36. ^ , Washington Post, December 20, 2007Nightlife AgendaFritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz, ("Correction to This Article: The Ball, originally listed under Dec. 25, has been cancelled.")
  37. ^ , Huffington Post, December 28, 2009Jewish Singles Gather in LA to Celebrate the Holidays in Style and Support the ElderlyJulie Spira,
  38. ^ , NBC Los Angeles, December 23, 2009Mix and Be Merry at The Ball: Jewish singles hobnob in Hollywood on December 24thAlysia Gray Painter,
  39. ^ , The Guardian (newsletter), Winter 2009, p. 10Young Divisions' Holiday Ball
  40. ^ a b , Chicago Magazine blog, December 11, 2008Matzo Tov!Sarah Preston,
  41. ^ Aruna Jain, (December 23, 2004) For Those of Other Faiths, a Not-So-Silent Night Washington Post
  42. ^ a b , Washington Jewish Week, January 3, 2013Falafel FrenzyEmily Jacobs,
  43. ^ a b Detours: Alterna-thrills, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 9, 2006, p. 28, available via Google News/NewsBank
  44. ^ SCENE: MUSIC / PARTY / CHARITY, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 29, 2005, p. P24, available via NewsBank
  45. ^ SCENE: NIGHTWATCH: Bagel Bash to tell hole story at Tavern, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 23, 2004, p. P24, available via NewsBank
  46. ^ , The Jewish Georgian, November-December 2009, p. 9Thought You’d Like to KnowJonathan Barach,
  47. ^ a b , Denver Post, December 23, 2011Holiday parties offer something for everyone — from "Heebonism" to "Mistletoe Madness"
  48. ^ , LA Weekly, December 28, 2009Last Night: Strip Dreidel, Christmas Eve Heebonism and Jewjitsu in Palm SpringsJeff Weiss,
  49. ^ , Westword, December 12, 2008How Jews Do ChristmasLisa Rab,
  50. ^ , Seattle Post-Intelligencer - The Big Blog, December 24, 2007What if you're Jewish and bored stiff on Christmas Eve?Candace Heckman,
  51. ^ , The Jewish Journal (Los Angeles) - Calendar Girls blog, December 28, 2007One Jew's Christmas EveJay Firestone,
  52. ^ , Jewish News of Greater Phoenix, November 21, 2008Mazelpalooza rolls out red carpet for YJPLeisah Woldoff,
  53. ^ Samantha Nelson, 8 Holiday Parties, Chicago RedEye, December 13, 2013
  54. ^ Kevin Friduss, The Official Matzo Bash 2013 in Chicago!,, November 5, 2013
  55. ^ , NBC 4, December 20, 2013Social and Seasonal: Schmooz-a-Palooza: Jewish singles will gather at Red O for a festive mixer of glammed-out proportionsAlysia Gray Painter,
  56. ^ JDate's 16th Annual Schmooz-A-Palooza, (2009)
  57. ^ , Jewish Journal (Los Angeles), December 18, 2003Have a Holly Jolly Schmooz-festKeren Engelberg,
  58. ^ ,, December 23, 2008Christmas Time for the JewDanny Baram,
  59. ^ ,, December 24, 2007Your week, on a platter: Dec. 24-30 brings you horny Jews and Hamburger comboversAlie Ward,
  60. ^ Calendar: December 21 - January 3, The Jewish Journal, December 19, 2013
  61. ^ , Los Angeles Jewish Journal, December 18, 2011Chanukah events around Los AngelesRyan Torok,
  62. ^ Get Out There!, The Dallas Morning News, December 22, 2008, available via Google News Archives/NewsBank
  63. ^ Weekly Planner, The Dallas Morning News, December 15, 2001, available via Google News Archives/NewsBank
  64. ^ , Dallas Observer, December 23, 2009Kosher KissesKatey Margolis,
  65. ^ , (Los Angeles) Jewish Journal, May 10, 2001CalendarMike Levy,
  66. ^ ,, March 4, 2005Parents Pissed About That Shiksa You"Fat Asian Baby",
  67. ^ , New York Times, December 23, 2009And To All a Good Night
  68. ^ , Brooklyn Bowl, 2009Brooklyn Bowl's First Annual Matzah Bowl! - Inaugural Tribal Music Festival
  69. ^ , in Temple Beth Torah Times, June 2008From the Prexy's ComputerSteve Dershowitz,
  70. ^ ,, August 15, 2004What's your big thing(s)?KSUViolet06,
  71. ^ Kansas City Star, March 31, 2004, p. 24, available via NewsBank
  72. ^ , Kansas City Jewish Chronicle, April 2, 2010Nordaunian AZA alumni plan reunion alongside Matzo BallRick Hellman,
  73. ^ , Chapter2006, December 25, 2006Merry ChristmasGreenEggsSamDC,
  74. ^ , Chimpstein, January 1, 2006Nothing Left to the ImaginationEvan Gahr,


The Matzo Ball and similar events have been subject to mild criticism that the events are "meet markets"[8] or, more punningly, "[kosher] meat markets."[35][73] Women attendees tend to dress inappropriately in a revealing manner while men at the event are liable to use awkward pickup lines and noticeably prowl.[18][32][74]


The Greater Kansas City Council of BBYO and its AZA Nordaunian chapter sponsor a large annual teen dance called the Matzo Ball, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in April 2010.[71][72]

Smaller Jewish community entities have also used variations on the "Matzo Bowl" name for a variety of events, including for knowledge competitions held by individual synagogues[69] and fundraising events organized by chapters of Alpha Epsilon Pi.[70]

Other events not targeted at single adults

The [66] A 2009 Christmas Eve musical event at Brooklyn Bowl, co-sponsored by Israel's New York Consulate General, was dubbed "The Matzah Bowl".[67][68] The event derived its name in part from its location in a Brooklyn bowling alley.

Bowling-related events

[29] As of 2013, it is sponsored by the Canadian unit of the [29] An identically named Matzoball event has been held on Christmas Eve in Toronto since 1988.

The [62] or 1984.[63] The Dallas event continues under that name currently[64] and is unaffiliated with the Matzo Ball event and Rudnick.[20] Atlanta also had its own "Matzah Ball" for many years.[43]

Prior to Rudnick's organizing of the Matzo Ball in Boston in 1987 and expansion into other cities, Jewish organizations in other cities had used similar names for their own Christmas Eve singles events.

Other Christmas Eve singles events

Similarly named events unaffiliated with SYJP

By the late 2000s and early 2010s, Schmooz-a-Palooza had become integrated into the Matzo Ball network of nationwide events[20][27] and faced competition from other local events, including a local young Jewish professionals charitable group's directly competing mixer and a Jewish comedy night at the Moishe Houses.[61]

Schmooz-a-Palooza is the long-running Los Angeles counterpart to the Matzo Ball, and in its 20th straight year in 2013.[1][55][56] It originated with Stu & Lew Productions, which was acquired by JDate in 2006.[30] The event evolved over the years from a social mixer to a party atmosphere, bringing together, for example, southern Californians who had not seen each other since their younger years in Jewish communal settings.[57][58] It was also a noted opportunity for reconnecting and romance.[59]


In Chicago, the local Federation's YLD, in conjunction with Taglit - Birthright Israel, FIDF, and other groups, sponsors the Matzo Bash.[53][54]

Other major cities have homegrown and well-attended Christmas Eve events that were established long before the Matzo Ball or The Ball entered the local scene. These include Seattle's Latkepalooza,[50] San Francisco's The Latke Ball,[51] Tampa's Vodka Latke,[1] and Phoenix's Mazelpalooza,[52] all of which are sponsored by their respective Jewish Federation's young professionals division.

Federation YAD/YLD Events

Heeb Magazine sponsored and organized its 'Heebonism' events in various U.S. cities on Christmas Eve, targeted toward a "hip" audience seeking an alternative to events like the Matzo Ball, beginning in the late 2000s.[8][40][47] By 2009, Heebonism had expanded to five cities nationally.[8] Nationally, Heebonism organizers sought to offer a more "culturally substantive" and non-conformist event, with activities including "strip dreidel", video games, and light food.[8][47] At the Los Angeles/Palm Springs Heebonism in 2009, strip dreidel was led by porn stars James Deen and Joanna Angel.[48] In Denver, the local Heebonism event had its origin as a private pre-party for those seeking alternative entertainment before heading to the Matzo Ball.[49] By 2013, Heebonism had retrenched and Heebonism events outside of Denver apparently had been eliminated.

Heeb Magazine 'Heebonism' events

Atlanta, which had previously hosted an annual "Matzah Ball" unrelated to the SYJP event,[43] has been the home of competing events for both mainstream audiences, such as the 'Bagel Bash',[44][45] and niche groups, such as the local NCJW section's 'Santa Klutz Ball' for older singles.[46]

Beginning in 2010, an informal group of Washington, DC, Jewish young professionals decided to organize another competitor to the Matzo Ball, the Falafel Frenzy, with all proceeds going to charity.[42] The event has been successful in collecting money for local charities and continues to be held.[42]

In Washington, DC, a longtime competitor and alternative to the Matzo Ball has been the Gefilte Fish Gala, an event with no admission charge but only a requested donation, which is usually also held on Christmas Eve unless the night of the 24th coincides with Friday night, the Jewish sabbath.[41]

Likewise, by 2008, Chicago Jewish Christmas Eve events ran the gamut of tastes and preferred crowd. These included gatherings named 'Rockmitzvah', 'Hubukkah', the 'Heebonism' bash (sponsored by Heeb Magazine), and the more mainstream 'The Juju Ball' and 'Retro Eve', a long running but now defunct event.[40]

The sheer number of events, combined with the compactness of Manhattan, means that events are often held within a short walking distance, if not eyesight of one another.[32]

Other New York City Jewish Christmas Eve events include parties for "the pro-Israel crowd, Jewish gays and lesbians, and downtown Jewish hipsters."[14]

Niche and local events

In 2008, the organizer of The Ball, LetMyPeopleGo, attempted to expand the event into 24 other cities with significant Jewish populations.[33][34] In almost all of those cities, with local marketing and co-hosting of the event performed by JDate,[35] it was cancelled near the event date.[33][35][36] However, the Los Angeles version of The Ball, which was instead co-sponsored and co-marketed by the young adults divisions of the LA Guardians, the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging foundation, was successful and held again in 2009.[37][38][39]

The largest and most geographically widespread competitor is known simply as "The Ball".[1] In New York City, The Ball focuses on having separate venues, five as of the late 2000s, targeted by age demographic, and with attendees receiving limousine service between venues.[14][32]

The Ball

There are also a number of competitors to the Matzo Ball and other events organized in cities where no Matzo Ball is held.[1][14]


Matzo Ball events are organized by the Society of Young Jewish Professionals, an organization created by the founder of the event, Andy Rudnick.[1] The organizers believe that more than 1,000 marriages have resulted from meetings at various Matzo Balls, and Rudnick himself met his wife at a Matzo Ball.[1][31]

Prior to the mid-2000s, in Los Angeles, the Matzo Ball had ceded the region to the much more locally long-standing Schmooz-a-Palooza hosted by Stu & Lew Productions[1] (which was acquired by JDate in 2006[30]), before becoming a co-promoter for the event with JDate.[20] Since at least 2009, the Matzo Ball has partnered with JDate and has promoted as a Matzo Ball the JDate/Stu & Lew Productions Schmooz-a-Palooza.[20]

  • Toronto (planned for 2009,[2] but apparently withdrawn;[20][28] not to be confused with the independent Toronto Matzoball event functioning since 1988[29])
  • Las Vegas
  • Montreal
  • Denver, which was a Matzo Ball site in 2013, and had been a previous location for the Matzo Ball through the mid-2000s,[26] before its absence in the late 2000s and early 2010s
  • northern New Jersey - Roselle, a 2013 venue[27]

In past years, the Matzo Ball also held events in the following cities where it no longer does:

  • New York
  • Chicago
  • Washington, DC[21][22]
  • Miami Beach (with suggested age-separated rooms for the 21-35 and 25-55 crowd), Fort Lauderdale, and Delray Beach (a change from the pre-2009 Palm Beach County locations, which had been either Boca Raton or West Palm Beach[23])
  • Philadelphia (with suggested age-separated adjacent venues for the 21-35 and 25-55 crowd), a previous location for the Matzo Ball before its absence in the late 2000s and early 2010s[24][25]
  • Atlanta, which had been a MatzoBall site in the past, for example in 2009, but had been omitted for several years leading up to 2014
  • Los Angeles, although apparently a JDate/Stu & Lew Schmooz-a-Palooza branded as a Matzo Ball by SYJP [see below] (with suggested age-separated rooms for the 21-35 and 25-55 crowd)
  • San Francisco, a new site for 2014
  • Scottsdale, a new site for 2014
  • Detroit, a new site for 2014
  • Charlotte, a new site for 2014
  • Austin, a new site for 2014
  • Boston, the original site of the event

Matzo Ball events are generally held at popular nightclubs in the cities in which the event is located.[14] The event is typically scheduled to begin at 8 or 9 p.m. and run through the last call time for the state/locality, with peak attendance and crowds at approximately midnight.[18] As of 2014, it has expanded to the following cities:[2][19][20]


[17] The event has permeated American Jewish consciousness, even winding up in fiction.[1] The first Matzo Ball event was held in

Thus, with Christmas Day a work holiday throughout the United States, there is a space of unfilled free time during which much of American commerce and society is not functioning.[1][10] The night of December 24 has become an opportunity to transform this otherwise brief period of alienation or loneliness[1] into one made to gather, socialize, network, drink, flirt, and romance.[10][13] The event has turned Christmas Eve into a matchmaking or dating event for young Jews[1][14][15] and "the biggest singles night of the year."[16]

The atmosphere of religious liberalism and tolerance in the United States has offered American Jews the opportunity to enjoy the holiday period.[8][10] At the same time, many American Jews do not engage in the same family-gathering activities on the Christmas holiday that Christians in the United States do.[10][11][12]

Historically, Jews in Europe would hide in their homes and villages during the Christmas holiday, for fear of violence from locals.[8] In the United States, Christmas and Christmas Eve typically serve as times of family gathering and prayer for Christians and many others.[9]



  • Background 1
  • Events 2
  • Competitors 3
    • The Ball 3.1
    • Niche and local events 3.2
    • Heeb Magazine 'Heebonism' events 3.3
    • Federation YAD/YLD Events 3.4
    • Schmooz-a-Palooza 3.5
  • Similarly named events unaffiliated with SYJP 4
    • Other Christmas Eve singles events 4.1
    • Bowling-related events 4.2
    • Other events not targeted at single adults 4.3
  • Criticisms 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

There are a number of competing social events in Jewish communities throughout the country held that same night. In addition, Matzo Ball and similar spellings are also used as the names for a variety of other, unrelated Jewish community events in particular regions.

The name of the event is frequently styled as MatzoBall,[3][4] Matzah Ball[3][5] or MatzahBall.[6][7]


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