Speed-dating event hopes to KickStartLove

If you’re good at something, never do it for free – unless your friends beg you to.

That’s how Shaker Heights resident Elana Averbach got her start before founding KickStartLove, a relationship consultation service for single adults leading a busy lifestyle.

After writing online dating profiles for her friends, Averbach, 26, a Park Synagogue congregant, said they “were getting three times as many messages as before, going on more dates, and getting into more relationships.” Her friends convinced her to launch a company, and KickStartLove was born.

Since its inception two years ago, Averbach’s company has planned speed-dating events for specific groups of singles, from book lovers to musicians. Now she’s bringing her experience to the Jewish community with Jewish-focused speed-dating events at MYXX Lounge in Cleveland Heights.

There are three separate events scheduled, and each night is designated for a different age group, said Averbach. Ages 22-32 will do their dating Thurs., Nov. 10. The 30-45 crowd will mingle on Tues., Nov. 15, while those ages 45-65 will meet Thurs., Nov 17. All sessions are at 7:30 p.m.

“All of our events have a 95% match rate,” Averbach said. “But all the people involved in the Jewish community feel they already know everyone else in the area. That’s one thing that we’re trying to combat with the Jewish event. We’re reaching out to try and get the people who aren’t necessarily as involved to come out so it’ll be a diverse group.”

The event is a collaborative effort among KickStartLove, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, Federation’s Young Leadership Division (YLD), and JCLE, a group that brings together Jewish young adults for social events. “JCLE has a committee with members who are helping with promotion,” Averbach said. “We’re also putting decorations together. It’ll be a kind of retro theme.”

Averbach said she’s making a concerted effort to get the 30-and-older crowd to the event. “There just isn’t that much programming right now for singles in those age brackets to meet each other,” she said. “A lot of KickStartLove events attract professionals. We have an unusual number of highly educated participants.”

Madeline Bleiweiss, executive director of JCLE, was already planning a separate speed-dating event in November but scrapped the idea to partner with Averbach once she saw KickStartLove was involved.

“She’s a professional service, which we’re hoping will ultimately lead to more matches and a more fun process,” Bleiweiss said. “What we’re looking to improve on (over last year’s JCLE-sponsored singles’ event) is more of a follow-up between what everybody wants and how to match people. A more organized theme and process, more space, more breaks in between, more means for people to have better conversation. The ultimate goal is to make matches and create romantic couples in Cleveland.”

After looking at the guest list, Bleiweiss admits she didn’t recognize most of the names, noting that “this area can feel really small sometimes, but it’s actually a lot larger than people think.”

Cleveland Heights resident and YLD board member Adam Yasinow has taken an active role in planning the event. “I came up with this idea to do a battle-of-the-sexes quiz,” he said. “We’d ask guys questions like, ‘On average, a girl wears how many pounds of lipstick in her lifetime?’ And the winner gets a gift card to somewhere. Then it’s like, ‘Ladies, this guy knows a lot about women. You should probably go out with him.'”

Yasinow encourages anyone hoping to make a connection to attend the event, affirming that the equation to happiness is simple. “All you need is a meaningful job and a meaningful date. You could live on Mars or in Antarctica. If you’ve got those two things, it does not matter.”

For more information or to register, call 707.939.KICK or visit www.kickstartlove.com/events

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