On Sunday, May 9, over 1500 young Jewish singles participated in an unprecedented speed dating event arranged by Met @Chabad, a new initiative from Chabad Young Professionals (CYP) International.
Recognizing the unique challenges facing so many young men and women searching for their life partner, CYP has developed a wide-reaching program called “Met @Chabad” to address this critical issue.
Using Data and research provided by CYP Rabbis on the field as well as expert relationship coaches, an algorithm was created to match singles up based on their life values and goals.
The speed dating event was just the beginning of what they envision to be a much broader system that will ultimately bring people together in a meaningful way, through Marriage education and value-based matchmaking.
“Serving the young Jewish community for almost 15 years now, we have seen many of the same challenges again and again,” said Rabbi Yosef Wilhelm, who co-directs CYP of the Upper East Side in Manhattan with his wife, Devorah. “That there is finally a real answer, based on solid research that reaches to the heart of the issue is so gratifying.”
Drawing on many years of research and a vast network of hundreds of engaged rabbis and their wives, Met @Chabad aims to tackle three significant components of successful dating and marriage: (1) Education, namely shifting people’s mindsets away from dating for fun to serious, “dating for marriage”; (2) Training matchmakers to personally meet each candidate and gather real-life data, and (3) Investing in an advanced algorithm software that can mine the extensive data and suggest matches.
“We are very excited to put our vision into action, and this event was a launch to get the ball rolling,” said Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, Executive Director of Merkos Suite 302, the parent organization of CYP. “The Lubavitcher Rebbe had a vision of educating the next generation, and I can’t see a better realization of that vision than this program.”
For the 1500 plus young adults who participated in the event, it was quite a thrill ride. After signing up and answering an extensive questionnaire, CYP’s system went to work. Churning its algorithmic wheels, matches were suggested, and attendees were invited to log on to the system at the appointed time, complete with a schedule of seven dates with seven different people. Following the rules of speed dating, each date was eight minutes long.
Anyone expressing mutual interest after the event has been notified by the system, sharing their information and prompting them to take the next step on their own.
With participants from literally all over the world hailing from over 300 different communities, it was a truly diverse event, giving participants the opportunity to meet people they would never have otherwise been able to meet.
“Our community members who signed up and got matched are really excited,” said Rabbi Chaim Brook of Chabad at CSUN University in Northridge, CA. “Such events open a whole new window of opportunity, and we’re eager to see the results, please G-d.”