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DALLAS (Knight Ridder/Tribune) June 1, 2000-- In March, Sally Mazer decided to move from Dallas to New York, where she thought it would be easier to live as an Orthodox Jew and find a mate who shared her faith.She met her basheret, soulmate in Yiddish, and moved, all right, but to Baltimore. Jdate.com, a Los Angeles-based online Jewish dating service.As she was making plans to leave Dallas, Mazer got an email from Shmuel Rosensweig of Baltimore, a 41-year-old architect-turned-baker in Baltimore looking for an Orthodox Jewish wife.A brief e-mail conversation ensued, and after their first phone call from midnight to a.m.one night they both knew they'd found what they were looking for."There was such a soul-to-soul connection," says Mazer, 33, who is still overwhelmed by the rapid turn of events. It was really the last thing I expected to happen." At a time when it's estimated that more than half of the world's 13 to 14 million Jews are marrying people of other faiths, Internet dating sites have gained social acceptance among Jews in a way that conventional dating services and personal ads never did. In the short time that the Internet has become a fixture in many offices and homes, several dozen dating sites that cater to Jews have emerged worldwide."As the Jewish communities shrink worldwide due to assimilation, we are finding an interest among a large group in finding a Jewish partner," says Simeon Lifschitz, who recently moved to New Jersey from South Africa to start a U. And their popularity grows each day, say those who run them."It's really a revolution in the Jewish dating scene," says Dvorah Alouf, a New York-based matchmaker who took her business online in 1994.
Those who date online, particularly women, are often willing to move far from home even to other countries for the right person.
"Most Jews are on the Internet," says Alouf, whose has 50,000 members and claims credit for three to four marriages a month.
"They are very goal-oriented, and they know what they want." That was the case for Mazer of Dallas, an English-as-a-second-language teacher who now lives in an apartment a few blocks from Rosensweig. "It's like shooting fish in a barrel," Moore says of finding Jewish dates.
Though they're not yet engaged, Mazer said, neither has any doubt about their future together. "What I like is that I can go onto Yenta and I know I'm not going to have to ask someone, `So, are you Jewish?
Robert Moore, a 40-year-old computer database developer in Arlington, Va., knew what he wanted, but he knew the odds were against him before joining Yenta, the 5,000-member Jewish division of Bedford, Texas-based ' which is such an obnoxious part of regular life." Online dating may be a new avenue for Jews to meet a kosher counterpart, but it has yet to take the place of in-person introductions, says Shelly Novick, singles and adult program director for the Dallas Jewish Community Center. then their next step is the Internet," says Novick. The more people you meet, the more likely you are to meet the right one." Most of those who run online Jewish dating sites say the vast majority of members are educated, successful men in their late 30s and women in their early- to mid-30s who don't have time to meet romantic prospects through conventional means.
At least 400 such people are expected to be in Dallas this weekend for the center's fifth annual national Jewish singles convention, which runs through Monday. Others, Novick says, are unnerved by traditional singles events or feel as though they've exhausted the Jewish prospects in their immediate communities.