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Everyone talks about the current shidduch scene. Numerous conversations revolve around dating and matchmaking at nearly every Shabbos table and community symposium.

On Sunday morning, April 26, over 200 community residents turned out to do something positive and constructive by demonstrating their support for an organization that is changing the Orthodox dating world.

The YUConnects benefit breakfast, hosted by Malky and Jay Spector in their Lawrence home, was an unqualified success. Not only did it raise much-needed funds for a worthy program, but it spotlighted the need for building healthy relationships and future Jewish homes.

YUConnects, which is open to the entire Jewish world, not just Yeshiva University students, is much more than a matchmaking website. In just a few years of existence, it has made 199 engagements (kein yirbu!) with approximately 40 stemming from the Five Towns area. It has over 3,500 members and 80 volunteer connectors (matchmakers), and arranges hundreds of dates each week through its online database, powered by SawYouAtSinai.

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Its function as a one-stop dating resource is what makes YUConnects unique. With a friendly office, housed on the campus of Yeshiva University, it arranges unique social events and educational forums, conducts academic research, and offers guidance through the assistance of YU’s rosheiyeshiva, faculty, and experts. By partnering with communities across the country and other organizations, and even having a Singles Advisory Group giving feedback to the staff, YUConnects is truly transforming the current dating world.

Due to financial constraints, YUConnects is currently no longer funded by Yeshiva University, and the nonprofit needs to raise its budget from community generosity. At the breakfast, chaired by Margie and Rabbi Aaron Glatt, Laurie and Robert Koppel, Esty and Robert Levinson, Evelyn and Averim Stavsky, and Malky and Jay Spector, Malky spoke eloquently about the lack of networking opportunities for the current generation. “With limited opportunities for our kids to meet, YUConnects fulfills a vital niche for this generation,” she explained in her hakarat ha’tov to YUConnects.

Dr. Efrat Sobolofsky and Margie Glatt detailed the ways YUConnects provides a kosher environment for these meeting opportunities and is responsive to the needs of the entire community. With amusing and insightful words of berachah by Rabbi Ya’akov Trump and practical suggestions by Dr. David Pelcovitz on deepening relationships in this digital age, those who attended gained knowledge about interpersonal skills and learned specifics about the work of YUConnects. Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt ended the morning’s schedule with an impassioned plea for this worthy tzedakah’s continued viability as he appealed for charitable support from our neighborhood.

The benefit breakfast was dedicated by Rabbi Dr. Aaron and Margie Glatt in memory of Ethel Korn, a’h, and had numerous local sponsors. Some of the YUConnects upcoming events include a trip to Washington DC in conjunction with NORPAC in May, a program geared for the Sephardic community at the Safra shul on May 17, and a local “Dine N Meet” Shabbos with the Young Israel of Woodmere on June 12. To learn more about the programs or ways to support YUConnects, e-mail yuconnects@yu.edu or visit www.yuconnects.com.

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