Andy Rudnick sat bored out of his mind at a Jewish singles party on Christmas Eve in 1986. It was his senior year of college at Boston University, but the event felt like an awkward middle school dance. He thought to himself, Why isn’t this being hosted at the hottest nightclub in Boston?
Life went on. He dismissed the idea, graduated from college and took a job in real estate.
Then in October 1987, the idea popped into his mind again.
“‘What’s the ultimate Jewish girl?’ was certainly the driving force that led me to create an environment that would draw them in,” Rudnick says. He hosted the event at the Boston nightclub where he bartended in college.
He and a friend thought up a name: the Matzoball®, in reference to the starchy ball in the center of the traditional Jewish comfort soup. After ample marketing (he even delivered matzo ball soup to radio stations so the DJs would let him promote his party), he sat back and hoped for the best. Around 2,000 people attended the event.
“It was a huge success,” he says. “I ended up making more than my annual salary for the night and quitting my job right after the event. The next thing you know, I’m in the Jewish singles business.”
The event has been held every year since. Come Christmas Eve, thousands of Jewish people attend one of six Matzoball® parties, held in cities such as New York, Boston, and Los Angeles.
Despite working in other industries over the years, Rudnick always stuck with the Matzoball®, either part- or full-time.
“What gave me more pleasure than anything else was a couple walking up to me and thanking me because they met,” he says.
Rudnick eventually found his ultimate Jewish girl. He met his wife, Catherine, at the 1997 Boston Matzoball®.
This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine and has been updated. Photo by Alex Goncharov/Shutterstock
Jamie Friedlander is a freelance writer based in Chicago and the former features editor of SUCCESS magazine. Her work has been published in The Cut, VICE, Inc., The Chicago Tribune and Business Insider, among other publications. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found drinking matcha tea into excess, traveling somewhere new with her husband or surfing Etsy late into the night.