If you want to know how speed dating actually works, then check out our first blog. Now we’re going to dive in to how it actually started, it didn’t just happen by itself, and before someone rang the bell to swap tables, a Rabbi in LA was ringing his gragger!

Imagine a time before dating apps and websites, a time when the internet was only just coming out of it’s infancy: the late nineties. It was nineteen ninety eight to be exact, when a TV executive by the name of Antony Beilinsohn was encouraged by his rabbi, Yaacov Deyo, to come up with a way for Jewish singles to meet each other and potentially find love and marriage too – although we promise we won’t put ant of that pressure on you at our events!

Apparently Antony and Yaacov were doing a brainstorming session in a living room. Being in the entertainment industry, Antony had friends from television brainstorming with him. Some of them had experience with game shows and TV and together they came up with a winning format that was also fun and entertaining.

Antony ended up co-hosting what would become the world’s first speed dating event at ‘Peet’s Coffee and Tea’ in Beverly Hills. Rabbi Yaacov Deyo brought along his gragger, a noisemaker Jews use during Purim – a Jewish holiday. The format they used is the classic, 101 speed dating style that’s still used to this day. The men switch tables when the bell (or in this case, gragger) is rang and the dates lasted around ten minutes and from there, the format spread across the USA, Great Britain, Europe and all the way down to Australia.

Like anything, it’s had it’s ups and downs with falling in and out of fashion, yet despite the rise of online dating culture it has survived and it’s going very strong in major cities around the world such as London, New York, Los Angelis etc, as well as throughout Australia.

There are even unusual takes on speed dating, at Taste Date we’ve added dinner to the classic format and in Berlin in 2009 there was a speed dating event on a train – but you’ll need to come back to next weeks blog to learn more about that, when we cover some bizarre and unusual takes on speed dating from across the globe.

Notice how we write ‘speed dating’ and not ‘SpeedDating’ as one word? Because SpeedDating, as a single word, is a registered trademark of Aish HaTorah, a Jewish resource group in Los Angeles, of which Rabbi Deyo, who’s really responsible for starting the whole thing back in 98’, is a director of.

Creating a patent for SpeedDating didn’t stop the spread from Peet’s Coffee and Tea to the rest of the world, but Rabbi Deyo has made peace with that fact, stating that: “I don’t want to spend the rest of my life writing letters to a roadhouse outside of Atlanta to tell them they can’t do an event,”
And –

“In Judaism, there’s a concept of zechus — the merit that is created by a good action, to see your actions unfold in a good way makes for a happier existence. And I’m a happy guy.”

And so since the late nineties there have been dating sites, there have been apps, there have even been top end dating agencies and dinner clubs, but classic, good ole’ fashioned speed dating still survives. Why?

Put simply, it’s real. Singles can meet each other face to face and have a fun night out at the same time and unlike a bar or a club, everyone is there for the same reason: to meet other singles. So we leave this blog with a question: Where else can you go to do this?

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