Juggling Act: A new spin on date night: Local temple launches 'Do Good Date Night'

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News
Twenty couples gathered at Detroit Abloom in the city's Jefferson-Chalmbers neighborhood last week to give back, share a meal and spend time together.

When you’ve been with your significant other long enough, date nights can follow a certain routine: dinner, movie, home, repeat.

Sometimes you may mix it up — a concert or group outing — but before you know it, you’ve fallen back into the same old pattern: dinner,  movie, home, repeat.

On the rare chance my husband and I have for a date night because our kids are still young, we often head to the same Mexican restaurant. We go there so often the staff knows us and even seats us at the same table.

Temple Israel, a synagogue in West Bloomfield, however, is putting a new spin on date night.

Right before the Jewish New Year this fall, they kicked off what they hope will become a regular event that combines time with your significant other, friends and community service. It’s called Do Good Date Night.

Launched last week, their first Do Good Date Night brought 20 couples together and took them to Detroit Abloom, a flower farm run by a nonprofit that has bloomed on what was once vacant land in Detroit’s Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood (Detroit Abloom also is featured in this week’s cover story).

They cleaned up brush for Tom Molina, the director and CEO of Detroit Abloom, pulled weeds, and at 7 p.m. enjoyed a five-course vegan  meal together. 

“They loved everything, the weather was perfect, and we all had a fantastic time,” said Molina.

Stacy Gordon, who came up with the concept along with Temple Israel’s Rabbi Josh Bennett, said people are looking for meaningful ways to spend their time. She came to the event with her husband of almost 32 years, David.

“I think most are looking for a way to give back — and if you can do it with your spouse, even better!” said Gordon, a retired sonographer who has two grown children.

Gordon also runs a food pantry at Temple Israel. With the pantry now in its fifth year and running smoothly, Gordon talked to Bennett about creating another way to give back. Soon, the Do Good Date Night was born. The program is aimed toward couples 40-65.

Given how quickly their inaugural event filled up, Gordon may be right about people craving a meaningful way to give back. She said within 48 hours, every slot was filled.

“Clearly there was interest and a need for this concept,” said Gordon in an email.

Five more Do Good Date Nights are planned through June, said Gordon, and she hopes to “keep the projects and interest going.”

“The only cost is for the dinner — solicitations are NOT part of our programming, and besides working at our chosen sites, we provide a nice donation to the charity of the night,” said Gordon in an email.

So if you’re looking for a way to mix things up with your loved one, giving back may be just the change of the pace.

“It is heartwarming to ‘Do Good,’” Gordon said.