Isabelle Rosen
July 13, 2023

In recent years, Tel Aviv has emerged as a global vegan capital, boasting a vibrant plant-based scene and an ever-growing community of passionate individuals.

As the city’s vegan culture continues to flourish, an unexpected phenomenon has taken root due to a surge in demand: vegan matchmaking services.

People seek partners who share their values and ethical choices, and this demand has created an opportunity for innovative platforms and matchmakers to cater to the needs of vegan singles.

Join me as I delve into the fascinating world of vegan matchmaking in Israel.

Vegan speed dating

On June 21, I joined 100,000 attendees from all over the globe at the world’s largest vegan festival, Vegan Fest in Tel Aviv.

Vegan matchmaking takes off in Israel
Participants at Vegan Fest in Tel Aviv, June 2023. Photo courtesy of Vegan Friendly

Among the many events offered at the festival was vegan speed dating, led by matchmaker Iris Salomon.

“When Vegan Friendly asked me to manage the speed dating event in this amazing Vegan Fest, it was the right thing at the perfect time for us all,” Salomon told me.

“More than a thousand men and women gave their details, expecting to participate – a few times more than the available seats!”

Many participants told Salomon that “it is very useful to meet people who share the same principles and beliefs regarding food, animals, etc., especially when it comes to relationships and love.”

The need for such a service was evident as 240 participants waited in line for Salomon’s vegan speed dating event. (Photos were not permitted.)

Salomon divided them into six groups. “We had cycles for young people 18 to 29, mid-range (30 to 39), and 40 to 55, and one cycle for the LBGTQ+ community,” she said.

Vegan matchmaking takes off in Israel
A couple at Vegan Fest, June 2023 in Tel Aviv. Photo courtesy of Vegan Friendly

“I am excited that there were a lot of matches – in many cases there were two to three matches per participant, which was great. I witnessed some immediate clicks between people.”

Salomon reports that “the atmosphere was welcoming; we experienced lots of excitement and joy from the people that participated. Following the request of so many, I will arrange [additional] vegan speed dating events so we can support this wonderful community and help them find the love they are looking for.”

Jewish Matchmaker signs on Vegan Rabbi

At the forefront of this growing movement stands Rabbi Avika Gersh, also known as the Vegan Rabbi.

Through his mission of sharing Jewish teachings that promote compassion for animals and conscious food choices on his social media platforms, Gersh found himself specializing in working as a dating coach and matchmaker for Jewish vegans and vegetarians.

When I started my Vegan Rabbi pages, people started getting in touch with me,” Gersh told me.

“They said, ‘Rabbi, I am vegan. It is hard enough dating in the Jewish world but being vegan is even harder. People don’t understand me. Can you help me, do you know anyone?’

“My first reaction was, what do I know about dating? I am not a matchmaker, I am a rabbi. I kept hearing this over and over and realized that something is going on. There is a need here.”

Moved by the concerns expressed by many, Gersh decided to take action. On his social media pages, he invited Jewish vegans and vegetarians who were single to reach out to him.

“The response was overwhelming,” he said.

Vegan matchmaking takes off in Israel
“Jewish Matchmaking” star Aleeza Ben Shalom with “Vegan Rabbi” Akiva Gersh. Photo by Jamie Gordon

Recently, Gersh joined forces with Aleeza Ben Shalom, the renowned marriage-minded mentor and star of Netflix’s popular new show, “Jewish Matchmaking.”

Her expertise in Jewish matchmaking, combined with Gersh’s understanding of veganism from a spiritual point of view, has resulted in a powerful partnership that offers a comprehensive and personalized service to clients.

Ben Shalom acknowledges the advantages of having Gersh on her team.

“There is a growing demand for vegan dating services, and having a dedicated expert in this area helps to cater to this niche market,” she told me.

“Secondly, a vegan matchmaker and coach can provide invaluable insights and advice on how to navigate the unique challenges that can come with dating as a vegan, such as finding suitable restaurants and activities, dealing with non-vegan partners and maintaining a healthy vegan lifestyle.”

The continued efforts of passionate individuals like Rabbi Akiva Gersh and Aleeza Ben Shalom, as well as the specialized services run by Iris Salomon, will allow individuals seeking life partners who share their values and lifestyle choices to have more opportunities to find meaningful connections.

Vegan matchmaking takes off in Israel
The crowd at Vegan Fest, June 21-22, 2023 in Tel Aviv. Photo by Sagi Vilensky

The future of vegan matchmaking looks bright and promising and holds endless possibilities for those seeking love and companionship within the vibrant vegan community in Tel Aviv and greater Israel.

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