Three new Jewish dating websites have been set up in the U.S. over the past two months, and ten more are slated to launch in the coming year, as part of a Chabad network that hopes to one day go global.
JDallas.org, JBoston.org, and JMiami.org were launched in their respective cities, following the success of Rabbi Yisroel Bernath’s JMontreal.com.
Bernath, who is also a Chabad rabbi, took his matchmaking abilities online after he made twenty matches in his community. So far, according to Chabad, JMontreal.com has facilitated more than 250 introductions.
Bernath partnered with Chabad centers in the U.S. and Canada who cater to young professionals, to establish websites that would help young singles find a match within their own city. In addition to the four websites that are currently live, ten additional sites are set to be launched over the coming year. JJunction.org.au in Sydney, Australia, which is run by Rabbi Mendel Kastel, went live earlier this year.
Ultimately, Bernath – who plans to roll out 50 sites worldwide - intends on connecting all the sites into a global network, so that Jewish singles can have the choice of meeting someone local, or finding someone abroad.
“It’s an extraordinarily efficient way for Chabad representatives to tap into their networks of young professionals and make Jewish marriages happen,” says Bernath.
Jewish matchmaking sites have been around for more than a decade, including sites like JDate, match.com and Cupid. Even Facebook is used these days as a means for finding love.
JDate, which dubs itself the undisputed leader in Jewish dating, claims that tens of thousands of Jewish singles interact via its services every day. According to CNN, JDate was awarded the title of Official Honoree of the Webby Awards, also known as the “Oscars of the Internet”, back in 2008. The dating website was honored in the social networking category out of more than 10,000 entries submitted from 60 countries, reported CNN.
But sometimes online dating goes wrong – there have been many cases of scamming, theft and even murder that eventuated from connections made on dating websites.
Bernath told Haaretz his websites have a system in place aimed at preventing such dangers, in which "matchmakers review the suggestions proposed by the system's algorithm, and then extensively interview each individual before passing contact information on to the each party."
Doron Kornbluth, author of Why Marry Jewish? and a sought-after international speaker on intermarriage says online dating sites help combat intermarriage. “Technology can definitely help connect Jewish singles,” he said.
“For us, it’s important that we help the young adults that we come in contact with to marry Jewish,” said Aida Drizin, co-director of The Intown Chabad in Uptown Dallas for young professionals.
Bernath and Chabad’s online matchmaking networks use the same database system, and all the administrative work on the back-end is streamlined between all sites. According to Chabad, “an algorithm identifies similar personalities, matchmakers review the suggestions from the system, and then extensively interview each individual before passing contact information on to the each party.”
In addition, Chabad matchmakers offer members guidance throughout the dating process upon the request of its members.
“Matchmaking is back,” says Bernath, “but with a modern twist.”
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