Couple

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My plan in 2020 was to create a private office space to meet and interview Jewish singles seeking a partner. Mitzvah Matchmaker, the complimentary Jewish matchmaking program I launched just a year earlier, was busier than ever.

But just as the installation of the glass walls and door were being finalized, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.

Within a week, my two adult daughters flew home from their respective cities to work and study remotely for what ended up being many months. My special needs son stopped going to his day program, and our diamond and jewelry business was closed for six weeks. It felt like life for everyone came to a screeching halt.

Suddenly, my matchmaking website started getting inundated with requests for appointments. During the pandemic, people were isolated and lonely.

But they also had more time not living in the rat race, and they realized they consciously wanted to prioritize seeking a life partner.

I had to pause for a while until I could reorganize my busy household’s new situation and work around everyone’s schedules. Finally, I started accepting interviews via video chat with singles all around the country.

Dating during a pandemic posed its own unique set of challenges. The singles would begin the dating process via text and then move to video chat. Some were hesitant to meet due to the pandemic and others were willing to take more risks.

COVID has been with us for all four seasons of the year. This has posed certain difficulties based on geographic location and climate in any given season. During mild months it was ideal for singles to meet at an outdoor coffee house, an open-air restaurant or home patio — even at a park. However, when it was too hot or too cold, they had to get more creative with their date locations.

Changing my matchmaking methods during COVID has not been easy either. The very basis of my program is to get to know individuals by spending

quality time with them while I fill out personal questionnaires. Singles talk more when they feel less of an automatic obligation to sit quietly and fill out paperwork. This allows me to really connect with them in order to help find a compatible match.

I am very intuitive, so I must admit that interviewing an individual over FaceTime is not as helpful as in person. I don’t get much of an impression of their personality, or what they want and don’t want. However, after they go on a date, they usually follow up with me to give a report, which helps me to learn more about them and their dating style.

There are some incredible, successful singles ranging anywhere from mid-20s to mid-80s who have reached out to me via referral. I am very discreet when sharing information about the singles I work with, and I never give out last names because I want the first meeting to be organic without any preconceived notions.

It is not all about the looks; you can fall in love with someone’s personality if you just give it a chance.

I have found that most younger singles miss out on meeting other great singles because they rule them out based on someone’s response to a text. They also often dismiss the possibility of a connection because they eliminate someone after only one meeting when they should understand that most people don’t feel comfortable opening up right away. I encourage singles to be open to going on more than one date. Connections don’t always happen immediately. Sometimes it is shared experience that bonds people and brings them closer.

I have found my true passion in connecting people. Sometimes it has turned out to be a business contact and not necessarily a romantic match, but I feel there is always common ground when people from the same culture and religion get together.

My goal for next fall is to resume meeting singles in person in my newly renovated office space located at The Promenade in Scottsdale. Studying with Rabbi Pinchas Allouche of Congregation Beth Tefillah inspired me to launch a complimentary matchmaking service to combat assimilation. Pandemic or not, I will strive to continue this work. JN

Michele Czopp is the owner of Mitzvah Matchmaker. For more information, visit mitzvahmatchmaker.com

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