March 2008

In Their Own Words
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Media Watchpost
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• Bernstein Concert
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Raising A Mensch
• Why Jewish Camping?

Living Judaism
• Shall This Too Pass?

The Kosher Table
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2008 JFM


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"I had created a profile that I was pretty happy with, but after a while wasn’t so happy with my picture so I removed it and all that was left in its place was a blue square. Lauren obviously saw the hidden depth in the blue square and made the first approach. We chatted online, exchanged a few messages and then spoke on the phone. We really hit it off…we talked, and talked, and talked…and a few days later we met." - Mark and Lauren
Networking Central

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me an e-Match.

-- Gabrielle Loeb

With over 600,000 active members, JDate is by far the world’s leading Jewish online dating site. The founders of JDate viewed intermarriage as one of the most serious problems in the Jewish community. By encouraging and facilitating in-faith dating, JDate "strengthens the Jewish community and ensures that Jewish traditions are sustained for generations to come."

Although intermarried couples often raise Jewish children, according to the NJPS 2000-2001 study, only 13% of the grandchildren of intermarried couples identify themselves as Jews. In addition, the Council of Jewish Federations’s 1990 National Jewish Population Survey reports that an astonishing 47% of American Jews who married between 1996 and 2001 have done so outside their faith. With the number of Jews marrying out of their faith growing (In 1970, only 13% of American Jews intermarried), something had to be done.

"When we went on our first date, we realized we shared similar views on life and the future, and we really made each other laugh. With this much in common, we were off to a great start." -- Joy and Michael

In 1997, Joe Shapira and Alon Carmel attacked this problem in a creative, modern way by co-founding JDate. Since then, countless couples have found their soulmates and have been able to create Jewish families, thus passing Jewish traditions onto the next generation. One Jewish belief holds that any person who helps to make three Jewish couples has a place reserved in Olam Haba, the world to come – according to this view Shapira and Carmel certainly have their places held a hundredfold.

While it is important to guarantee the continuity of the Jewish people, most people do not get married for a statistic, and most people do not do it simply because it is a mitzvah. They get married to spend time with someone who they can relate with. Even there, JDate is of help and it allows Jewish people to find people who share Jewish values, yidischkite, Jewish humor, and of course Jewish food.

"I revel in telling people we met on JDate. A website, cyber space, the unknown -- it worked for us.... We are more in love than two people are allowed to be. I speak for us both by saying thank you, JDate, for bringing us together. - Laura Beth and Danny"

JDate, like other online dating services, allows its users to find potential matches based on preferences in age range, location, and gender. However, it is unique in that it also measures the users’ religious compatibility by allowing preferences in adherence to laws of kashrut, frequency of attendance synagogue, and form of Judaism practiced, if any. In addition to the ski trips and cruises offered by typical dating services, JDate also features organized trips to Israel for new couples who would like to travel.

While many users spend years as members of JDate without finding anyone, still others marry their first and last JDater. In her first week of JDate, Amy from Los Angeles received an email from the man of her dreams – and somehow picked his out among 250 others. Ben and Amy went on their first date; one year, two months, and one day later, they were engaged.

Amy explained, "This is the man of my dreams and I could not be happier. He even called my father to ask his permission for my hand. He is truly my besheret  in every sense of the word.... we are both practicing Conservative Jews and have the same backgrounds of tradition, culture, and faith. He is intelligent, kind, funny, sweet, and a bonus - he's gorgeous. And, I met him on JDate."

"On the very first day of my 'return' to JDate, I found Jonathan’s profile and, after reading more about him, thought we could be a match. I sent him a Click and he quickly responded….Within a couple of days, we were corresponding by JDate instant messenger and making phone calls, and within a week, we decided it was time to meet…. Within the first few months, we spent over 20 days together and knew that it was meant to be." - Lesley and Jonathan

JDate offers several options for its users. The free version allows people to have a profile, respond to instant messages, search for members, and send "flirts," specific messages from a fixed menu to flirt with someone. Profiles contain photos, essays, and other personal information so that people can judge if a relationship could work out even before a first date. The premium service is required for email, chat, and more. It also allows members to click on someone’s profile to indicate interest without it being known by the other party. If that person also clicks on the member’s profile, both are alerted of the mutual interest, and chat and e-mails may then give way to phone calls and dates, which may finally give way to engagement, marriage, and children. It all starts with a simple click.

One rabbi, Rabbi Donald Weber, even offers to pay for JDate memberships for members of his synagogue, Temple Rodeph Torah in Marlboro New Jersey, believing that this money is put to a noble cause: creating new Jewish families to carry on Jewish tradition. After giving a speech advocating JDate, several congregants took him up on his offer and decided to try to find their match.

You too can find your beshert (destined one). To find a Jewish partner for yourself or for your good-for-nothing thirty-something bachelor son give JDate a try and you may just find your long-awaited Jewish soul mate.

Past Networking Central Groups of the Month

In this section, we highlight a new local group each month in order to encourage networking.

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