Chabad Sparks Romance with Tu B’Av Party
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Chabad Sparks Romance with Tu B’Av Party

Chabad of Buckhead and Brookhaven hosted its second annual black and white party in the ancient tradition of Tu B’Av, a joyous holiday for matchmaking.

After 35 years with the Atlanta newspapers, Marcia currently serves as Retail VP for the Buckhead Business Association, where she delivers news and trends (laced with a little gossip).

Rabbi Yisrael New welcomed the young crowd, shown here with Ben Brasch and Sasha Avchukov.
Rabbi Yisrael New welcomed the young crowd, shown here with Ben Brasch and Sasha Avchukov.

On Thursday, Aug. 11, the one-year-old Chabad of Buckhead and Brookhaven sponsored its second Black and White party at a chandeliered and mirrored speakeasy parlor in the heart of the Buckhead Village. Rabbi Yisrael New welcomed the young crowd with appetizers, desserts and drinks.

Rabbi New addressed the group by explaining the origin of the Black and White theme: “The Talmud states there was no happier day on the Jewish calendar as that of day Tu B’Av — not even Sukkot, Simchas Torah or Hannukah! Unmarried girls would dress in their finest white clothing and ‘speed date’ with the young men in the local vineyards.

“So, you see speed dating is not a new concept. And back then they had to decide on the spot about selecting a mate, there was no six-month courtship. It was a wonderful celebration and in modern Israel is referred to as ‘Chag Ahavah.’ Communities all over the world have adopted this idea and make a Tu’ B’Av party for the young Jews.”

Kayle Rothenberg came to hang out with friends, shown here with Michael Brainin, a field engineer at Honeywell.

The black and white theme was chosen because the women traditionally wore white, while black is the contrasting color for the men.

Just one year ago, Chabad of Buckhead and Brookhaven opened its doors, and is now a blossoming center for Jewish life in the heart of Atlanta. Rabbi Yisrael New, a native Atlantan who has deep roots in the Jewish community here, was appointed to lead the new Chabad. He is the son of Rabbi Yossi and Dassie New, who have led Chabad of Georgia since the early 1980s and have since established 18 chapters around the state.

Chabad of Buckhead and Brookhaven’s initial focus was to engage the youth community, and Chabad Young Professionals (CYP) was founded as a home for post-college Jews to engage with the Jewish community.

Ariana Barton met up with first cousin Micah Hirschman, a middle school Phys. Ed. teacher.

“Parents appreciate knowing that their children have a warm, wholesome and safe environment to relax in and take a break from the stress of college life,” said Rabbi New.

“Upon graduating college, many students are thrown into ‘real life,’ often in a completely new city where they know no one. That’s where CYP comes in. Until people settle down with a family, it can be tough to create and maintain a sense of community life. For many, life is ‘job, eat, sleep, repeat.’ CYP opens the door to social, professional and educational programming for young Jews and creates a young, active and connected community.”

CYP Leadership Committee member Ethan Arbiser, an environmental data analyst at Cox Enterprises, agrees.

“Atlanta is booming and young people are moving in by the droves,” he said. “CYP is here to welcome them with open arms, regardless of background or affiliation. Much of the programming is subsidized, ensuring all young people are welcome as they begin to grow their careers.”

Another member of the CYP Leadership Committee, software sales exec Sasha Avchukov, chatted with Ben Brasch, also a software engineer. “We (at CYP) strive to keep together as a Jewish community post-college because Atlanta is so spread out,” Avchukov said.

The speakeasy venue was decorated by Nechami Kessler.

Brasch recalled that he grew up playing sports against Rabbi New. Marketing coordinator Kayle Rothenberg stated that she came to hang out with friends. Phys. Ed. teacher Micah Hirschman ran into first cousin Ariana Barton, who was visiting Atlanta from Colorado, where she goes to school.

Guests enjoyed the photo booth out front as Israeli music blared. The décor, with couches and counters to facilitate the night’s goal of meeting and mingling between likeminded singles, was the work of Nechami Kessler. Robin Varon catered the array of humus, guacamole, fruit trays and homemade desserts.

Outdoors, at the photo booth, Erin Cohen, Sasha Avchukov and Oryah Bunder posed for the camera.

Chabad of Buckhead and Brookhaven already has a jam-packed calendar of events for next year, beginning with the High Holy Days in September. Rabbi New encourages anyone in the area to join them for services, a class, or programming and to find out why Chabad is the place to be for a young Jew in the city.

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