Amatzia and Bat Zion weren’t present at the Matchup event. But they were represented there. That’s how Matchup works; and that’s how Amatzia Mass and Bat Zion Freedman eventually came to meet.
Matchup events are a new craze in Israel. Singles and married couples come together to find dates for their friends, relatives, brothers and sisters. They are guided by the principle that “friends should reach out for friends.”
On Saturday night, March 17, 2018, about 100 people gathered in the Community Center in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Nachlaot. Each came with the bios of four unmarrieds: two men and two women. Thus, 400 singles were on the radar screen that evening.
Each participant sat in a circle with three people they didn’t know. Tamar came to represent her friend, Amatzia, and Ruth came with two women in mind. When Tamar introduced the bio of Amatzia, Ruth piped up: “I think my friend, Bat Zion, could be a match.” There was excitement in the air.
On the spot, Tamar called Amatzia, told him about Bat Zion, and sent some photos. He accepted almost immediately. Then Ruth called Bat Zion. Bat Zion wanted to wait a day to decide. She decided in favor of meeting him.
Amatzia and Bat Zion were both 30 years old when they were matched up. They had their first date a few days later, got engaged after Tisha B’Av and were married after Yom Kippur. What’s their secret? “We give each other space. We have our own worlds and our world together.”
Amatzia remembers his list of five “want to haves” in a match. How did Bat Zion fit? Amatzia smiles: “More than 110%.”
Bat Zion had her own list of three “must haves”– a good heart, sensitive and employed. How did Amatzia fit? Bat Zion: “Much better than I could have imagined.” In truth, it worked because Bat Zion followed her own mantra: “Never say never.”
Bat Zion: “When I agreed to the match, I didn’t know that Amatzia wasn’t working. By the time we met in person, it didn’t matter anymore. I understood that it was a temporary situation.”
Amatzia currently works as a strategic consultant in the field of business and technology. He has an MBA from Hebrew University. Bat Zion is a psychodrama therapist. She studied at Lesley College, currently based in Netanya.
Both Amatzia and Bat Zion are native Jerusalemites; he is from the Katamon neighborhood and she, from Kiryat Moshe. They are the same age and are both chasidei Breslov (followers of Rav Nachman of Braslov). With all this in common, they still had never met on their own.
At Matchup events, participants sit with people they don’t know. Bat Zion: “That’s a key to their success. That’s how you meet new people.” And after 20 minutes with one group, the groups mix up.
Bazy Rubin describes a Matchup event she attended with her husband: “We got a babysitter and had a blast trying to set up our friends and left with a whole list of new maybes to follow up with.”
Barak Drori, a Matchup founder notes the initiative’s motto: “Don’t swipe people; match them.”
“Since we started Matchup in February 2018, over 5000 persons have participated – all ages, both religious and secular; some 1600 people have dated and more than 20 couples have gotten engaged or married,” Drori said.
Amatzia and Bat Zion were married in Jerusalem on September 20, 2019. Amatzia’s uncle, Rabbi Eliahu Birnbaum, officiated. Mazal tov.
Dr. Leah Hakimian currently researches the question: How Jewish couples meet and marry. In the 90’s she founded two nonprofit Jewish matchmaking programs, and continues to champion the role of community in helping singles meet. She resides in Jerusalem and Great Neck, New York.