Finding local love

It’s amazing how something can be so similar, and yet be so different.

Last month I attended a national conference in Washington, D.C., that was similar to a regional conference I attended last year in San Francisco – both were organized by United Jewish Communities and both had a mission to get Jewish young adults more involved with the greater Jewish community.

Although this year’s conference was more than double in size and featured a larger scale both on programming and social levels, its goal was the same. But for me, the entire tone of the conference was different because in San Francisco I was single, and in Washington, D.C., I was not.

Although the conference isn’t touted as a great big singles party, the majority of participants did appear to be single.

Here are some observances, from a no-longer-technically-single point of view:

  • The single people stayed up partying in the multiple suite parties hosted by a number of city contingencies until an average of 3 a.m.; married couples disappeared around midnight. My boyfriend and I were somewhere in between.
  • Instead of attending the “Find a mate after 30 using what I learned at Harvard Business School” session, I attended “Leadership in these times of peril.”
  • It’s easier to meet people when you’re single. Men don’t approach a woman with a man at her side – and vice versa – and singles don’t want to waste time talking to someone who’s unavailable when there is a whole roomful of possible partners.
  • It’s easier to concentrate on what speakers are talking about when you’re not constantly scanning the room, mentally evaluating potential mates.

National conferences can be a good motivational tool – there’s always a chance that if you haven’t found local love, there’s a chance you’ll have better luck when your romantic possibilities include Jews from all over North America.

But even if sparks fly between you and a guy from Miami, it’s not much different than a weeks-long enjoyable JDate e-mail interaction – it’s difficult to translate both of these scenarios into everyday life.

Eric Goodman, founder of MazelCity.org, a Web site highlighting Jewish life in Arizona, decided to add a local matchmaking service after hearing numerous complaints from friends about other online Jewish dating services.

“It seems many of the other online Jewish dating services are not fulfilling the needs of the singles community as well as many of us would like,” Goodman says. “And I say ‘us’ because I have also had personal experiences with these services.”

Starting today (Friday, April 9), local Jewish singles can sign up at www.match.mazelcity.org and the service will be available beginning April 25.

The sign-up process includes filling out a form, answering a questionnaire and writing a few essay questions. Pictures may also be downloaded to the site.

For now there’s no charge for Arizona residents, but if the service expands to cities in other states, there may be a minor fee, Goodman says.

After April 25, members can search the site and contact people with a secure e-mail through the MazelCity matchmaking system. The online matchmaker also offers an optional “double-match” feature. This makes sure both parties are interested in meeting each other before the initial communication can be made. The request for this feature mainly came from single women, Goodman notes.

Hopefully, local singles will sign up on this Web site and increase the likelihood of finding a local love. At the very least, they’ll save on airfare.

This first appeared in the April 9, 2004 issue of Jewish News of Greater Phoenix.