Saturday, October 24, 2009

First Date: Dinner, Dialogue And Dr. Oz

Last Sunday, I went out with human resources consultant and fellow Upper East Sider Jeremy.

Jeremy and I attended a fascinating roundtable featuring (from left) Dr. Oz, Elie Wiesel, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Mayor Cory Booker

Jeremy and I had met at ADL’s Imagine Gala a couple of days before, and discovered we both had tickets to another amazing event – a roundtable on Jewish values and current societal problems featuring legendary writer and humanitarian Elie Wiesel, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, medical expert Dr. Mehmet Oz and popular rabbi Shmuley Boteach.

Dr. Oz was just as gracious as he was when I filmed a segment of his show a few weeks ago

Held at stunning Central Synagogue in Midtown NYC, the 2.5 hour roundtable was a lively, intelligent conversation that covered everything from health care and celebrity culture to social responsibility and the power of one person to make a difference.

I was especially riveted by Mayor Booker’s soft-spoken eloquence. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak, don’t miss it.

Biggest surprise during the Q&A – attention seeking reality star Jon Gosselin asking the esteemed panelists for parenting advice. Only in New York.

After the event, Jeremy and I headed over to cozy restaurant and lounge Opia.

Over some Sauvignon Blanc and a delicious dinner (hanger steak, fries and truffled salad), we talked about how inspiring the panelists were, what we like about living on the UES and the importance of family mealtime when you’re growing up.

As Jeremy spoke at length about Judaism, I couldn’t help thinking of my interfaith background. Dad was Jewish and Mom was Catholic, and so am I.

My parents managed to navigate being of different religions so that it didn’t come between them. They taught me differences don’t have to be an obstacle to enduring love. It’s a lesson I’m looking forward to applying with my future mate -- whatever his spiritual bent happens to be.

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