Meet the President of JDate

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Find out what Greg has to say about rabbis using JDate, how the service can act like your junior high school friend, and why even non-Jewish singles might use JDate.

by HBI Staff

Greg Liberman, president of JDate, is the first to say that identifying problems is a piece of cake. He’s far more interested in the challenge of figuring out solutions. For instance, it’s easy to whine about the fact that there’s no good place to find Jewish singles. It’s far more interesting to figure how to keep growing an online dating site for Jews—which new technology to incorporate, how to make it feel more modern and guarantee that for each Jewish single out there, there’s at least one other person asking, “Well, have you tried JDate?” Learn more about Liberman in his interview below.

What was the original mission when JDate started, and has it changed?

JDate’s mission was and remains to be to strengthen the Jewish community and ensure that Jewish traditions are sustained for generations to come. The biggest way we accomplish this is that we provide a global network where Jewish singles find friendship, romance, and life-long partners within their faith. We create Jewish families that otherwise would not exist.

We are also the only online personals community that has leveraged the strength of its database to make a difference within the community. JDate recruits hundreds of volunteers every year in order to help support nonprofit organizations. Through a partnership with the Gift of Life (a bone marrow registry facilitating transplants for patients worldwide in need of life-saving donors), one JDate member even made a life-saving match, and a successful bone marrow transplant was made. I’m not aware of any other dating or networking site doing the same level of community work.

Why do you think JDate is so much more successful than other Jewish online dating options?

We are more successful because we are better at connecting people. We were the first of our kind and we have more members than any other Jewish personals site.

What has been the biggest surprise for you about JDate since its inception?

We’ve recently had several rabbis approach us to purchase bulk JDate memberships for the single members of their congregations. It used to be that singles went to their rabbis to be matched, and now we have rabbis turning to JDate and endorsing our service. That’s an incredible endorsement.

Do you have a favorite JDate story/anecdote you can share?

Bennett and Lorraine, both in their seventies, met on JDate and arranged a date. Lorraine had read in Bennett’s profile that he was from Iowa, her home state. They met for coffee and ended up talking about guys from Des Moines, her hometown, who were also some of the same guys from Bennett’s college fraternity. Lorraine asked about one in particular named “Marv” who was her long lost love. Bennett had been to Marv’s 65th birthday party several years earlier. The next day Bennett called Lorraine and gave her Marv’s phone number. To make a long story short, Lorraine married Marv shortly thereafter. I like to think JDate gets credit for that coupling as well!

There are many more options now on the JDate website than there used to be. Can you explain why?

As the JDate community has grown, we’ve responded to the needs of the community by offering more features and improved functionality.

One thing we discovered is that a lot of singles find initiating one-to-one correspondence with someone they haven’t met a bit daunting. So we introduced lots of ways to help people break the ice. We added e-cards and Flirts, which are prewritten sentiments that you can send. We also have a patented feature called Click! that acts like your best friend in junior high school did. If you indicate that you think you’d “click” with someone, we’ll send [him] an email that includes your profile. If [he] clicks ‘Yes’ to you, we’ll let you both know and hopefully you will take it from there on your own.

We also found that group discussions and activities are a great low pressure way to meet so we added message boards and video chat and also vastly expanded our offline events offerings to include things like trips to Israel, bungee jumping, cooking classes, and lots of volunteer events. That way, even if you don’t meet someone, you can still have a great time and share an experience with other people just like you.

Can you talk a little about the non-Jewish members who sign up and what they’re looking for?

JDate is clearly a personals community designed for Jewish singles. We can only assume the small number of non-Jews that join the site do so because they are attracted to the Jewish culture and religion. But I think that anyone joining the site, whether Jewish or non-Jewish is simply attracted by JDate’s reputation for making matches and also the great demographics of our users, which is primarily made up of educated, high-income professionals.

What do you feel is your biggest impact on the Jewish community?

JDate has introduced thousands of Jewish singles to their besherts, and these couples may never have met if it were not for JDate. These couples have gone on to have children and raise them within the Jewish religion and observing Jewish culture and traditions.

A journalism student once told me that he thought because of JDate’s existence and its success connecting people with their soulmates, there exists a renewed faith and belief with young Jews today that not only can they find their soulmate, but there is no reason that soulmate can’t be Jewish. Whereas not long ago, it seemed almost impossible to find someone special and even more impossible that that person would be Jewish.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the online dating community since you started?

The acceptance of online dating as a popular and mainstream way to meet others has to be the biggest change since the inception of online personals. But there have been tons of advancements within the industry; there are so many more ways to utilize personals for dating, such as the level of personalization you can achieve, the amount of information people share with one another, also there is a long list of mobile capabilities that never existed before.

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