Imagine the frustration. Sitting, talking to your date, trying to connect, but every time the topic of living in Israel comes up they get a blank look on their face. You hope to make Aliyah one day, and they like the idea of visiting Israel, once in a while. What a waste of time.
Determined to help singles avoid these types of aggravating situations, Nefesh B’Nefesh teamed up with the Jewish dating site SawYouAtSinai and launched ‘SeeYouInIsrael’ (www.seeyouinisrael.com), a new website exclusively for Aliyah-minded singles.
“For many young people who are dating, the Israel question is a major issue that comes up,” reports Marc Rosenberg, Director of Pre-Aliyah Services at Nefesh B’Nefesh. “They don’t want to get too involved with someone who they find good looking, smart and funny but has never been to Israel and would never want to move there. We wanted to pinpoint one extra factor that could bring more people together.” For this reason, NBN founder Rabbi Yehoshua Fass recently entrusted his staff with a mission: To find the right Jewish dating site to partner with on this new Aliyah initiative. With 14 other successful partnership sites to its name, SawYouAtSinai was the ideal candidate. The custom-engineered matching technology and professional experience they have, assisting Jews living in other niche communities such as Australia and the Far East, University of Pennsylvania’s Hillel Gradnetwork, Yeshiva University students and alumni, and many others, is now available to Aliyah-oriented singles around the globe.
“Most people tend to date others who live in their surrounding area,” notes Rosenberg. “But those open to relocation can really date people from anywhere. This site allows singles to meet people from all over the world who share their desire to move to Israeland it helps them find the one who meets their personal, social and religious outlook.”
Unlike typical online dating sites that leave singles fending for themselves, ‘SeeYouInIsrael’ is (brace yourself) manned by 45 real people who actually read your detailed profile, get to know you, and offer on-target suggestions.
“We appreciate the fact that people are busy and don’t have hours to search through profiles,” explains SawYouAtSinai COO Danielle Solomon. “That’s why we offer the human touch through dedicated matchmakers. Our matchmakers verify that the person meets your criteria first. You won’t expend energy sending messages to someone who is not even compatible. Our members are focused on finding a quality relationship and are matched with those that have common life goals, so they’re already starting out at a better point than someone you might meet randomly.”
“Options are limited,” reflects Ian, an Internet Entrepreneur who lives in New Jersey. “What are you going to do? Walk up to a girl somewhere and ask ‘Are you Jewish?’ Having a website to do preliminary screening is definitely helpful. It takes away some of the hard work of narrowing down the pool. Also, here there is actually a person to give feedback to and bounce ideas off of, after a first date. That’s a helpful avenue because things often fizzle for me after a first date and when a guy asks his friends for advice, he doesn’t always get the best advice.”
Ian’s own advice: “Be honest when you fill in the profile and don’t just write what sounds good because in the end what you really want in life will come out anyway. Representing yourself properly also helps the matchmakers find the best fit for you. This is a safe site,” he assures prospective members, “and you’re working with professionals.” Beyond their online activities, Nefesh B’Nefesh and ‘SeeYouInIsrael’ will also be hosting singles social events in the tri-state area this fall. Stay tuned for details.
Since ‘SeeYouInIsrael’ launched this summer, over 1,000 people have joined. Many members already live in Israel but the majority are still living in the Diaspora, trying to move ahead with their plans to marry, and eventually move to Israel.
“Young people are choosing Israel for quality of life and professional opportunities and they don’t want to put their personal life on hold for one or two or more years until they make Aliyah,” Rosenberg comments. “We want people to be happy and successful when they make Aliyah. Meeting the right someone makes it easier for people to find their place in Israel.” As Ian candidly acknowledged: “My making Aliyah is strongly dependent on finding a woman who is also heading that way.”
‘SeeYouInIsrael’ members run the gamut from those who prefer someone headed towards Israel to those who will only date future Olim. Ian is middle of the road on this issue. “I’m open to the idea of living in Israel and I prefer to meet someone who is also open to that, but it’s not a make-or-break thing for me.
For Sarah, on the other hand, living in Israel is a deal breaker. Sarah, who works in the non-profit sector, moved to Israel just over a year ago and has told the matchmakers of ‘SeeYouInIsrael’ that she is only interested in men who are certain they are going to make Aliyah. “I’m not going to date someone who is not on that path,” she explains.
Moshe, a born and bred Israeli who lives in Tel Aviv, is also a member of ‘SeeYouInIsrael’. Why would a native sabra look for his other half on an Aliyah dating site? “I see myself as a patriot,” he explains. “When people see Israel as their home and plan to make Aliyah, it shows character.” Moshe doesn’t take Israel for granted and knows that Olim don’t either. “Finding the right person is more than a list of attributes to check off,” he admits. Yet it’s clear that meeting women through ‘SeeYouInIsrael’ gets things off to a strong start. “The bottom line for me is that through the matchmakers I’ve met women I was interested in, but if I had only seen their profile, together with another 100 profiles, I wouldn’t have bothered. Sometimes, and perhaps in many cases, someone else might understand what you need better than you understand it yourself.”
For love of the land and the love of your life you owe it yourself to check it out: www.seeyouinisrael.com
Sara Miriam Gross
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