Virtual Meets Reality in Met @Chabad Event in Hollywood Hills
The “Jewish singles event” has long been something everyone loves to hate. For thousands of young Jewish adults across the world, they can’t live without them, yet for so many, it’s hard to live with them. Yes, it’s an available method to find a suitable Jewish partner, but at the same time, so many leave empty-handed—frustrated and exhausted from what seems like an endless and futile vicious cycle of meeting potential partners only to discover a lack of shared values and life ambitions, effectively rendering the “match” incompatible.
Enter Met @Chabad from Chabad Young Professionals International, a revolutionary new cohesive dating program already making massive inroads in the Jewish dating scene. Still in its pilot stage, this ambitious program cuts through much of the noise and straight to the heart of a successful Jewish dating experience: pairing Jewish singles who are serious about getting married and are looking to build their relationship not on superficialities, but shared life values.
The beginning stages of piloting this program saw users fill out a detailed questionnaire identifying their core values. Data was then entered into an advanced, custom-made algorithm that paired potential suitors up for multiple virtual speed dating events. What’s more, shadchanim and dating coaches were trained in an intense and comprehensive program, lining up a professional team to guide members along their soulmate-seeking path.
All that was left was for the virtual to meet reality. “We worked on creating and fine-tuning this algorithm for over a year,” said Rabbi Beryl Frankel of CYP International, “and after all this effort, we asked ourselves, ‘How can we use this in real life? How do we harness its power beyond apps and virtual dating?”
And so, just a few short weeks ago, against the astonishingly beautiful backdrop of the Hollywood Hills, 35 shluchim from Southern California got together to bring their community members to a private home for an unprecedented “Met @Chabad Live” event. In a first-of-its-kind event, over 300 young adults experienced the magic of Met @Chabad in real life.
Before the event, participants signed up through the custom Met @Chabad platform. The algorithm then got to work, mining all the data and creating “clusters,” or groups of people based on specific shared values and goals, assigning a unique color to each group. When participants arrived at the event, they received a name tag with a QR code and a group color—immediately prompting them to find their respective groups and meet with like-minded people.
Eric Fihman, of Mt. Olympus, California was blown away by the idea. “The Met at Chabad summer social was incredible!” he said. “What distinguished this night from every other Jewish singles event I’ve been to is that this wasn’t just another party. The AI component of matching people and having unique colored name tags was such a great idea. There were great discussions, great food, fun games, and incredible views of the city.”
Fihman is no stranger to such events, as he is involved with the CYP activities at Chabad of Mt. Olympus under the leadership of Rabbi Sholom and Rochela Rodal. Also members of the community in Chabad of Mt. Olympus are Mr. and Mrs. Gino and Miriam Nassir, who graciously hosted the event in their private home.
To maximize the experience, Met@Chabad matchmakers and dating coaches were on site, facilitating earnest discussion in each cluster and answering questions that came their way. With a total of seven different value-based clusters, each group was excited about the opportunity to bypass so much of the hit-and-miss typical to such events.
After attending this event, Aron Cherner, a recent immigrant to Los Angeles from Odessa, Ukraine, said there’s no turning back. “Now I understand that such events are the only opportunity to meet my soulmate,” he said. “Thank you so much, and please keep them coming.”
In just a short time, an idea conceived among energetic shluchim has already touched so many. “We’ve found that Young Jewish adults are thirsty for guidance on dating and marriage, properly and successfully,” said Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, Executive Director of Merkos 302, “We created Met@Chabad to quench that thirst and share the Rebbe’s perspective to help guide singles through this sometimes overwhelming stage of their lives.”
After the tremendous response from the event, many more Shluchim are utilizing the Met@Chabad method to create regional value-based dating events of their own with upcoming events in New York City, Boston, Montreal and Toronto.
To find out more about Met@Chabad, visit https://www.metatchabad.com/