YAD’s F3SF Dinner Ignites Best-Friendship

In 2014, San Francisco residents Ellen Cohn and Sam Leveston met each other at F3SF, which stands for Food, Friends, and Federation, YAD’s casual dinner series for young professionals, and quickly became best friends. Now, two years later, they share details on their close friendship and advice for others looking to strengthen their Jewish connections.

Ellen Cohn

In late 2014, Sam moved to the Bay Area from Western Massachusetts to start a new job and was looking to get involved with the local Jewish community. Although Ellen is a Bay Area native, raised in Burlingame, she hadn’t yet discovered a group of peers that spoke to her particular Jewish identity. One day, Ellen’s grandmother received an email from the Federation and recommended that Ellen try a few of their social events. A few weeks later, Ellen attended a F3SF dinner in Nob Hill and met Sam.

Sam Leveston

They immediately connected over their shared interests – Jewish music, hiking, social justice, and singing loudly (aka screaming) in car rides. Unlike other networking events where you casually exchange business cards and connect on LinkedIn, both Ellen and Sam saw a curious spark in each other and wanted to learn more. Coffee dates turned into long sushi dinners, which turned into sleepovers, celebrating high holidays with each other’s families, and weekend trips to Vancouver and Tahoe.

While a lot of people talk about the benefits of using JSwipe, Tinder, or Coffee Meets Bagel, it’s much harder to make friends in new cities. To combat this, Sam and Ellen opened themselves up to the idea of connecting and meeting like-minded people. Often, it can seem intimidating to make the first move to set-up an initial friend date, but both women dropped their barriers and welcomed each other with open arms.

Ellen and Sam still regularly attend F3SF and other local Jewish events, continuously widening their circle of friends. YAD’s F3SF dinner series provides a fun and casual opportunity to meet new people and stay connected to the Jewish community. In addition to F3SF, YAD provides various ways to contribute and connect to the Jewish community, with events like the Day of Volunteering and regular happy hours. With all these wonderful opportunities, you never know who you could meet!

Looking for events in your area? Check out our online community calendar.

For more information on programming and events for young adults, visit our website, or contact Shoshana Gould at 415.512.6248.

Categories: Young Adults


June 28, 2016


Ellen Cohn and Sam Leveston