After watching nice Jewish southern boy Jason Alabaster and Bachelorette Gabby Windey’s heart-wrenching break-up on the last season of “The Bachelorette,” I swore off of Bachelor Nation. If Gabby and Jason could connect over therapy and inner child work on national television and then not find love with one another, how could I possibly trust the process?!
To be fair, I still don’t trust the process. But, when last night’s premiere of “The Bachelor” rolled around, I couldn’t help myself. I tuned in to watch numerous beautiful women vie for the heart of 26-year-old Zach Shallcross for one important reason: Jewish contestant Ariel Frenkel.
Per “The Bachelor,” Ariel is a 28-year-old marketing executive (and thrill-seeker!) from New York City. She comes from a large Ukrainian family and loves to travel, read Architectural Digest and dance to ABBA.
Per my own internet sleuthing, it seems that Ariel’s Jewish heritage is important to her. In 2021, Ariel posted on Instagram about attending her brother’s very Jewish wedding, including photos of truly the most magnificent chuppah I’ve ever seen and video of a rowdy Bedeken ceremony. According to her LinkedIn profile, she’s previously volunteered at the UJA-Federation of New York and COJECO, the central coordinating body of the Russian-speaking Jewish community of New York. (It also lists Russia as a language of bilingual or native fluency for her, most likely thanks to her Jewish parents who emigrated to the United States from the Soviet Union.) In 2014, she also wrote a since-deleted op-ed for The Algemeiner in which she urged Jewish New Yorkers to support Israel.
But back to the episode…
In the season premiere, Ariel didn’t get a ton of air time. We first met her when she exited the limo in a gorgeous lavender mermaid-style gown, telling Zach, “I wanted you to know that I missed my flight to get here, my suitcase broke, my dress even ripped. But nothing was going to stop me from coming.” Then, we essentially didn’t see her again until the rose ceremony, where she received one of the last roses of the night.
Still, I have a hunch Ariel will make it far with Zach! Based on snippets from the season preview at the end of the episode, it appears that Ariel eventually will have a one-on-one spa date which will include making out in a hot tub and smacking each other with dried branches — a featured treatment in traditional Russian steam rooms. In another clip, Ariel tells Zach, “I am definitely falling for you,” before a shot of the pair kissing in front of fireworks. But then, in a montage of contestants crying, Ariel is also shown tearfully addressing the camera.
Regardless, we’ll be rooting for you, Ariel! And even if you don’t find love with Zach, we would adore having another Jewish Bachelorette!