Closeness in the time of social distance: 36 questions for your partner, your roommate, or yourself

My fiance and I did “The 36 Questions That Lead to Love” published in the New York Times on one of our first dates. We do them every year on or near our anniversary and each time we always learn something new about each other, deepen our relationship and check in on how we’re growing and changing year over year. Here’s OneTable’s version of the 36 questions – this Shabbat, take some time to share with your partner, your roommate, or yes, even yourself.

Black text reading "Shabbat Alone, Together: Virtual Dinner" with black text reading "Two-gether, to gather" underneath with a quote from Chicago OneTable member
  1. What gives you the most hope about the future?
  2. How do you express gratitude?
  3. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
  4. You’re stuck in quarantine for a month. You can take one book, one movie, and one album — what do you pack?
  5. If you could read any book again for the first time, what would you choose and why?
  6. If you could spend a day with any fictional character, who would it be and why?
  7. In what ways do you remind yourself of your parents?
  8. If you could instantly be fluent in another language, which one would you pick and why?
  9. When was the last time a stranger restored your faith in humanity?
  10. If you had $100,000 to donate to one cause, what would you choose?
  11. You have to live the rest of your life in a TV show. Which do you choose and why?
  12. What accomplishment are you most proud of in your life?
  13. What is your biggest pet peeve?
  14. What is your biggest irrational fear?
  15. What inspires you to better yourself?
  16. You can be any inanimate object for 24 hours. What do you want to be and why?
  17. If you could take a year-long paid sabbatical, what would you do?
  18. What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
  19. If you had $100,000 to donate to one cause, what would you choose?
  20. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
  21. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
  22. What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
  23. What is the hill you would die on?
  24. If you were an animal what animal would you be? Why?
  25. You’re about to be introduced to a stadium of people, what song would you want to walk out to?
  26. What is something you’re obsessed with?
  27. What’s your favorite number? Why?
  28. What’s the most useful thing you own?
  29. Where is the most beautiful place you have been?
  30. If you could travel to any time in history, where and when would you go?
  31. If you could change your name, what would your new name be?
  32. What is something that really annoys you but doesn’t bother most people?
  33. What smell brings back great memories?
  34. What weird or useless talent do you have?
  35. What song always puts you in a good mood?
  36. What’s something you love about the person you’re talking to?

Jacob Allen was born and raised in the Metro-Detroit Area. He’s currently working as a OneTable Field Fellow, and as the Associate Director of Philanthropy for a social services organization called JARC. He loves food, wine, coffee, the environment and Shabbat!

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