‘Friends Setting Up Friends’


You don’t have to be a yenta to be a matchmaker anymore. Jzoog.com, a new Jewish dating site with no subscription fee, is set to launch this week and it will allow anyone to serve as a matchmaker on the site. It is also, according to its creator, believed to be the first Jewish dating site to require members to have Facebook accounts.

Rabbi Arnie Singer, a dating coach and the founder of Jzoog, said Jzoog.com comes at a crucial time, with studies like the recently released Pew Research Center survey showing high (though stabilizing) rates of intermarriage and Jews remaining single at later stages of their lives.

“I wanted to find a way to help Jews marry other Jews, and improve where other sites have fallen short,” Singer told The Jewish Week. “The Facebook component, through the initial sign-up, helps ensure that people are actually Jewish and also are not using a fake profile, which has become more of a problem recently. Having no subscription fee is crucial because people always want to get their money’s worth. My goal is for people to have is less time wasted, less money wasted, less distraction and more focus.”

Nothing regarding their Jzoog profiles will show up on members’ Facebook page, said Singer, once a denizen of the Upper West Side singles scene.

With Jzoog, users pay for tokens, which are used to contact someone. A smile, which is similar to a poke, is 50 cents, while sending a message is $1, or two tokens. There is no charge to respond to a message and there is no charge for sending additional messages, once the conversation has begun. A smile may be a common choice among women who don’t want to appear aggressive but want a guy to notice them.

“I have long believed that friends setting up friends is often much more effective than professionals doing so,” said Rabbi Shmuley (“Kosher Sex”) Boteach, an expert on Jewish dating and marriage. “If the purpose of this new site is to turn ordinary people into superhero matchmakers, then I support it.”

Alicia Post, Jzoog’s chief marketing officer, said the matchmaking feature is a key attribute that will lead to marriages.

“Some people have become disillusioned by the stigma of a matchmaker,” says Post, “or the fact that on sites where people are forced to match people up whom they’ve never met, the results are poor. People trust their friends and your friends are the best potential matchmakers. This feature gives them a social proof and a quick and easy way to do it.”

Singer met his own wife when looking at a friend’s list of friends on Facebook. They got married five years ago. The site gets is name from the Hebrew word “zoog,” which means a couple.

Singer, who blogs about dating on jcoach.com and is the author of “From I To I Do: How To Meet, Date and Marry Your Mr. Right,” said he can’t wait to see the results of his work.

“I am confident it will have a big impact,” Singer said. “On other sites, people often get frustrated by people playing games, and when that happens, no one wins. The design of the site will encourage people to be more serious and focused, and hopefully end up married.”