"When are you going to find yourself a nice Jewish boy and settle down?" Raise your hand if you've ever heard that one, whether from your own mother or from your friends complaining about their mothers. See? You are not alone. And you won't be alone on Christmas Eve, either, if you get your friends together for one of the biggest Jewish singles events of the year. The Eighteenth annual Matzo Ball will be held at Opium Garden (136 Collins Ave, Miami Beach) on December 24, and you don't really have to be Jewish to attend. (Don't worry, no one will call you a shiksa.) Anyone interested in dancing, cocktails, and meeting other young and hip professionals is welcome to join the party.
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"It started innocently enough," explains Sam Halpert, director of Star Singles, one of the organizers of the Matzo Ball in South Florida. "A college guy, Andy Rudnick, wondered öWhat do the Jews do on Christmas Eve?' because everything is closed" and your Christian friends are gathered around the tree with their families. He realized the only options were eating Chinese food and seeing a movie. Rudnick, also the founder of the Society of Young Jewish Professionals, decided that he would create his own party and he held the first gathering for his single Jewish friends in Boston in 1986. The idea really took off and now there are 13 Matzo Balls around the U.S. and Canada, with threebeing held right here in South Florida. Besides the one in South Beach, they will also be throwing back the Manischewitz at the Monkey Club (219 Clematis St., West Palm Beach), and at Club Boca (7000 W. Palmetto Park Rd., Boca Raton). "It has really become an icon party," Halpert adds. The event has become so successful that its Website (www.matzoball.org) claims "over 1000 marriages have taken place as a result," including Rudnick's very own. Halpert says the gatherings attract a diverse crowd of young professionals and to expect the the festivities to last until the rooster starts crowing because "they like to party late in South Beach." L'Chaim!