How One Entrepreneur Capitalized on a Niche Singles Market: Jewish People on Christmas Eve

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. The event felt like an awkward middle school dance and 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, now 51, says. He hosted the event at the Boston nightclub where he tended bar in college.

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He and a friend thought up a name: the Matzo Ball, 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 13 Matzo Ball parties, held in cities such as New York, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Despite working in other industries over the years, Rudnick always stuck with the Matzo Ball, either part time 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 Matzo Ball.

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This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

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Jamie Friedlander

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