May 2, 2008 — Yeshiva University’s undergraduate students and alumni now have a resource for meeting other singles through a new initiative of YU’s Center for the Jewish Future. The program, YUConnects, features social activities and Torah events, a Web site, and one-on-one support from couples.
“We are working diligently and sensitively to invite singles to a host of social opportunities where they can feel comfortable connecting and mingling with others,” Efrat Sobolofsky, PhD, mental health advisor of YUConnects, said at the program’s launch, which drew over 200 professional alumni in January .
A group of married men and women, many of whom are alumni of YU schools, play a key role in facilitating and networking. These “connectors,” attend events and meet with members to better understand the qualities they are searching for in a spouse and to facilitate their introduction to other compatible people.
The program distinguishes itself from other dating services that are conducted solely online or over the phone. “The personal face-to-face interaction will create more opportunities for on-target matches,” Rabbi Yosef Kalinsky, the program’s administrator, said. “Our goal and projected success is in the quality of the interactions.”
Dr. David Pelcovitz, the Gwendolyn and Joseph Straus Professor of Jewish Education at Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, plays an instrumental role in training the connectors and is an active advisor to the program.
Activities include interactive events, educational lectures, Shabbat meals hosted across the greater NY/NJ metropolitan area, chesed projects, BBQs, and more.
“YUConnects does a great service to the Jewish community,” said an alumnus who attended the launch. “I have been to various single events before, and my experience with YUConnects thus far has exceeded my expectations.”
YUConnects has the support of the roshei yeshiva (professors of Talmud) at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, a contingent of whom make up an advisory board for the program.
The YUConnects online system was developed in partnership with SawYouAtSinai.com to offer YU singles the opportunity to select an online connector, who will develop a relationship with and perform searches for that member. Becoming a member of the YUConnects online system enables YU undergraduates and alumni to network with other YU singles and provides the option of interacting with the greater SawYouAtSinai.com network.
“In today’s large Jewish world, we are striving to provide a personalized service using the benefits of a technologically advanced and premier online system to link people together,” Dr. Sobolofsky said.
“Using the talents available at Yeshiva, we have created a multi-dimensional approach in our new YU Connects program. I see no more important project that represents our mandate than developing mediums to help singles interested in healthy venues to meet other singles,” said Rabbi Kenneth Brander, dean of the CJF.
Visit www.yu.edu/cjf/yuconnects to sign up.