Having grown up in observant homes, “fun” during dating was a secondary goal to finding out as quickly as possible: Do I want to marry this person?

In their circles, it is expected to get past idle chit chat quickly and talk about such issues as their levels of observance, how much involvement they want to have with the secular world, and of course, goals and roles they foresee in their professions, in their marriages and as parents.

Tolson wants to close what she calls the "exposure gap." More than eight in 10 Anderson students are classified economically disadvantaged, so they can't always pay to sign up for extracurricular activities the way kids in wealthier neighborhoods do.

speed dating and small talk-1

Yeah, I knew it was a totally made-up holiday, a sort of extortion for men to ante up with jewelry, chocolates, and cards – or else.

But if you were relationship-less on February 14, it was hard not to feel left out of all the giddy romance seemingly swirling around you.

Each year, dozens of nonprofits and public school principals gather for a ritual that looks kind of like a well-lit version of speed dating.

There are long rows of tables, roving herds of unmatched candidates, and even some awkward small talk.

Yet after only a few weeks of dating, when I thought everything was going well, he started making me jittery by tossing out the Big Religious Questions of Life: How often did I think about God? Did I think that Jewish law should change according to the times, or did I think it made sense to design my life to align with traditional Jewish values, even if it would put me a bit out of step with the prevailing culture? In fact, I was a bit of an intellectual snob, no doubt overestimating my own cerebral capabilities. In fact, I really did want Jewish values to inform my life.

No one had ever asked me questions like this, let alone on a date, and I was way out of my comfort zone. Jeff’s first exploration of traditional Jewish philosophy at Aish Ha Torah in Jerusalem only a few months before we met had sparked his desire to meet the challenge that Rav Noah Weinberg, ob”m, had presented to him: What are you living for? I had only dated Jews and considered myself “very Jewish,” but was more comfortable talking about politics, movies, even the latest antics of celebrities in the news. Jeff’s questions startled me into realizing I needed to give them more focus.It’s not to avoid romance altogether; it’s actually a way to speed up the point where romance is possible.We don’t want to wait one or two or five years into a relationship to discover we don’t share the same religious values.But instead of talking about settling down and having kids, the conversations are about helping kids.Welcome to the School District of Philadelphia's annual Partnership Fair, a chance for principals and nonprofits to see whether they can work together.I thought I was intelligent (hey, I had a degree from U. I was reminded of all this when I read the recent “Modern Love” column in the New York Times.