Sometimes those matchmaking Internet sites work

BY LEAH HAKIMIAN

Do I really want to try JDate or Jcupid? Rhea and Simon joined both. That’s how they met and married. Here’s the story in Rhea’s words:

“I have used friends, colleagues, matchmakers, and the Internet in several countries. One day, I was at home using my slow dial-up connection to the Internet. I checked jdate.com, and this guy named Simon wrote me. He looked decent enough, so I sent him my mobile number and told him to call. Then, I went to check jcupid.com (yes, I was registered on about five sites). I did a search and was reading through one of the profiles, and, as I was reading it, the profile seemed to look familiar … thanks to my bad facial recall and the fact that he used a different user name.”

She decided to risk making a fool of herself by admitting she was on more than one site and e-mailed, asking if he was the Simon with whom she just made a date. He was. Since then, jdate and jcupid have merged.

Over the years, Rhea had about 20-30 first dates with guys she met over the Net. She kept a log of each date in her journal. That is, until she met Simon, and then she stopped recording.

“It’s hard to explain,” says Rhea, a very articulate former psychology major. “It just clicked then, and it continued to work.”

Rhea and Simon have much in common, yet respect each other’s differences. They are about the same age — 31 and 30 — both are university graduates, and both moved to Israel. Rhea came with her family from Scranton, Pa., at the age of 14, and Simon moved in 2001. He’s British and studied at the London School of Economics. Rhea has degrees from the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University, in New York. Both work for non-profits — Rhea is a planning director for United Jewish Communities, and Simon is an editor at HonestReporting.com.

“I always thought I’d marry a fluent Hebrew speaker,” says Rhea. “I’m not perfect either,” she adds. “I don’t even like soccer, which is Simon’s favorite sport.”

But they share basic values. Rhea gives an example. She never wanted an engagement ring unless it had sentimental meaning like an heirloom. Simon didn’t know this, but he proposed with his grandmother’s engagement ring. His grandfather, then 91, had given the ring to Simon, as he wanted to be alive to see a grandchild use it.

For the wedding date, the couple chose Oct. 24, which was dropped and then picked up again. It was a bit uncanny. They didn’t know that this was wedding anniversary date of those particular grandparents. Rhea says there were many shared concerns about bringing in grandparents and past generations “both in how we live our lives and into our wedding.”

It’s said up to 30 percent of American singles use matchmaking sites. Sites in the Jewish world range from the general to the specific, like the site for Jews with special needs (http://www.jswsn.org/index.html). At the Orthodox dating site SawYouAtSinai.com, members are pre-screened by reputable matchmakers.

Pre-screening is a definite plus when considering the safety concerns of Internet dating. There are many no-no’s. Rhea would give out her cell phone number only over the Internet, so the guy couldn’t easily track where she lived. A close friend was trusted with all the details of her first coffee dates — where she was going and everything she knew about the guy. Rhea’s the kind of person who learns something from everyone, and she never felt she wasted time on coffee dates with guys she met over the Internet.

The couple got together on a Thursday night, May 8, 2003. A first date that turned into history. Rhea Glassman and Simon Plosker were married on Oct. 24, 2004. Mazal tov!

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