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Matchmakers fight rise of intermarriage
Sun Sentinel, Oct 2014
When Jewish community leader Barbara Black Goldfarb and psychologist Nancy Gold opened Elegant Introductions, a Jewish matchmaking business in 2013, the duo claimed they started the business less for financial reasons and more to stem the tide of intermarriage within the South Florida Jewish community.
“The Pew research study of 2013 indicated a high rate of intermarriage, with the expectation that there will be less Jewish children in the next 20-30 years than in the past. Barbara and I had a goal of starting our company a decade earlier, but reading the Pew Report encouraged us to start a Jewish intermarriage service in 2013,” said Gold.
Unlike other matchmaking companies, Elegant Introductions will only work with Jewish clients and Gold and Goldfarb happily turn away any revenue that could be gained by expanding their base to non-Jewish clients.
“It’s not the money that drives us, but the happiness we see in knowing we are bonding Jews with other Jews,” said Goldfarb.
Goldfarb feels the Jewish community organizations, such as the Jewish Community Centers and Jewish Federations that attracted Jewish singles to meet, are less popular today than in the 1980s when she was in her 20s.
“It was easier for Jewish singles to meet in my generation because so many young people at the time were involved in young leadership groups that made it easy to form friendships and marry. Today, many Jewish singles in their 20s and 30s are working longer hours and more days than I ever did. Young professionals do not have the time to socialize as much out of the office and it becomes harder to find a mate,” said Goldfarb.
Internet dating through websites such as jdate.com among others has not always provided a successful way for singles to meet, according to the matchmakers.
“There is a lot of misrepresentation on the online dating websites. Lots of clients came to us saying that the people they were meeting often did not look like their photos, were not the age they claimed to be, and some were even married,” said Gold.
Gold and Goldfarb select the prospects for their clients, do both a legal background check and a psychological evaluation of their clients so they can evaluate which of their 100 estimated clients in their database can be matched up.
“Two things are important: 1) the clients can’t look at the prospects as dates, but as long term relationships or marriage partners and 2) we offer low tech and high visibility. Clients learn about us from our website and we meet them often and offer ongoing evaluation as to who meets whom,” said Goldfarb.
“The process often is quick. We have matched up some of our clients within a week,” said Gold.
Elegant Introductions serves clients from West Palm Beach to Miami and, although there are various age groups and various denominations, the majority of clients are in their 20s and 30s looking for marriage and usually define themselves as Conservative, Reform or secular Jews.
“For the most part, Orthodox Jewish organizations are very good at matching up young couples who are traditional, so we are there more for the rest of the Jewish community, and that would include gay Jews as our clients. The bottom line is all our clients want to have Jewish children and identify as Jews,” said Goldfarb.
Gold and Goldfarb charged $2,500 per client when they started Elegant Introductions in 2013, and now vary their rates for clients, without disclosing an actual price per client.
The $2,500 price per client is not atypical in the matchmaking business, according to Carol Morgan of Boca Raton, who has been matchmaking with her daughter for over 15 years for clients in Palm Beach County and several states, “I admire what Elegant Introductions is doing to continue Jewish continuity, and most of my Jewish clients do not want to intermarry,” said Morgan, who is Jewish.
Dating coach Bari Lyman, author of “Meet To Marry,” feels strongly that Jewish singles have to take more control of their priorities to marry, whether they choose to find their life partner though a Jewish matchmaker or the dating sites.
“The process of getting married is about being pro-active and empowered. It is more important to find that you share life goals and values, rather than the same activities, with your partner to be,” said Lyman.
Lyman will be sharing tips for Jewish singles to meet to marry on Oct. 26 at 11:30 am at Chabad Central, 17950 Military Trail in Boca Raton. For more information, call 561-305-8295 or go to http://www.chabadofbocaraton.com
New South Florida Jewish Matchmaking Service Asks: “Why Leave Love to Chance … Leave It To Us”. Great Communications, Feb 2014