December 3, 1997 in Nation/World

Alaskan Searches For Nice Jewish Girl 33-Year-Old Fairbanks Restaurant Owner Labeled ‘The Busiest Bachelor In Gotham’

Anjetta Mcqueen Associated Press
 

What’s a nice Jewish guy from Alaska doing in New York City?

Dating as fast as he can.

Jay Ramras, a talkative, green-eyed bachelor from Fairbanks, settled into a sublet apartment two months ago and started networking for single Jewish women.

Since then, he’s had 50 dates (more than he’d ever had in his life) and is the subject of a weekly update in New York magazine headlined, “Nice Jewish Boy Seeks Hotblooded Jewish Girl for Love in Colder Climes.”

“They’re calling me the busiest bachelor in Gotham,” Ramras said.

Ramras, a 33-year-old restaurateur, claims there were just two single Jewish women in his interior Alaska town of 33,000. In Alaska, single men outnumber single women 5-to-3.

“The only opportunity I would have there is to fall in love with a woman because she’s Jewish,” Ramras said last week. “I really want to fall in love with a wonderful woman who happens to be Jewish.”

After trying singles services and importing dates from the Lower 48, Ramras decided to enter his Last Frontier: New York - home of nearly one-third of the nation’s Jewish population.

But Fairbanks can be a tough sell for a New York City woman.

“I’m an urban guy,” Ramras insists, intent on debunking the myth of the Grizzly Adams bachelor looking for a mate to gut his fish. “Fairbanks is not some Siberian leper colony.”

Still, Fairbanks’ high temperature Tuesday was forecast at near zero. The sun rose at 10:21 a.m., set at 3:01 p.m. - and the days are only getting shorter.

“That’s quite a sacrifice, to move to a place as far away and as different as Alaska,” said Hillary Black, a Manhattan book editor who is 26, Jewish and single. “I find it hard to believe that a modern woman would just pick up and move with someone she doesn’t know that well for the sake of getting married.”

Ramras, who started a chicken-wing stand at age 20 and owns four restaurants, said his quest began when he turned 30. It was time to settle down with a nice Jewish girl.

He flew 30 times to Seattle (which has a 30,000-strong Jewish community), bought ad space in the Alaska Men singles magazine and paid $5,500 to a Los Angeles-based Jewish dating service, which yielded a short-lived relationship with an employee of the company.

Ramras even imported dates from as far away as Texas and Florida.

His father, a Brooklyn native who moved to Alaska 51 years ago, told him to find a gentile. But Ramras, who led the effort to build a Fairbanks synagogue in memory of his mother, calls Judaism “the bedrock of my soul.”

“Marrying within my faith is too important to me,” he said.

So he went to New York, with its 1.9 million Jews - 32 percent of the total U.S. Jewish population.

“Statistics brought me here,” he concedes, “and LA is too weird.”

Ramras is determined to live in his native state. He likes his two-bedroom downtown condo and his lakeside cabin where he goes snowmobiling.

Emily Rosenberg of Brooklyn - 36, single and Jewish - said she knows people who have visited Alaska and liked it. But she wouldn’t go. “I guess I am too much of a New Yorker.”

Her friend Elana Cook, however, might consider the trek.

“Why not? Life’s an adventure,” said Cook, 29 and also Jewish. “Whether it’s 5 degrees in Fairbanks or 75 in Miami, if you’re alone your bed is just as cold.”

None of the dates have gone on the record, but Ramras gets high marks from a high school chum.

“He’s a great guy, very witty, extremely intelligent,” said Rachel Ring, 34, of Anchorage, who is single but not Jewish.

Ramras wasn’t exactly a ladies’ man in high school, she said, but he was “always quite the businessman.”

Simone Antunovic, a waitress at aci, a Manhattan nightspot frequented by Ramras, says, “He’s a real gentleman, a bit of a chatterbox really.”

“I thought he was a womanizer or a businessman or something until I saw his story on the 10 o’clock news,” the 22-year-old Antunovic said, who is not in the running because she’s not Jewish.

“His dates have a good time, though,” she said. “They’re usually the last ones in here.”


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