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1) The Problem With Internet Networking and Dating

There are currently two models of dating sites available to the Jewish community. On one side you have the typical sites where users post a picture and a profile and can browse the profiles of everyone else on the site.

This model has one major advantage: users are empowered to contact and potentially develop a relationship with anyone that catches their interest.

But this model also has many serious downsides: It is very difficult for users to feel confident that the information posted by others is accurate; it can be frustrating and difficult to wade through thousands of profiles in search of people who are compatible; profiles are typically filled with trivial and superficial information, making it nearly impossible to distinguish one person from the next based on qualitative, meaningful criteria; since anyone can contact anyone else, it takes a while to establish trust and meaningful (not copy and paste) communication; it is degrading for people to post pictures and personal ads on the Internet for all to see; these sites typically charge a monthly fee that can really add up; these sites typically bring success to less than 1% of users and often lead to very negative experiences.

When one adds it all up, this is a highly flawed model, despite being the most prevalent.

The second model is one in which intermediaries suggest matches to users. The advantage of this model is that it aims to provide a quality control and filtering system to neutralize many of the downsides listed above.

However, this model too has many disadvantages: Users are not empowered to find their own matches, and must rely on the judgment and good graces of others, which is far from a sure thing; the criteria used to match people are still often arbitrary and superficial; those monthly fees still add up, the successes are still relatively few in number, and at the end of the day it's really just another blind date.

2) Enter HotKiddush

HotKiddush is a networking site created specifically for the observant Jewish community and designed to facilitate quality connections while virtually eliminating the randomness and concerns associated with online meeting. Not only that, HotKiddush is free for everyone with no restrictions.

We like to think of HotKiddush as a sort of online wedding meal. The friends of the chosson and kallah are typically in the same general ballpark and would benefit from meeting one another (such as through mixed seating at the wedding meal and through introductions). When friends of the chosson and kallah meet there is a built-in trust factor and quality control. After all, they have mutual friends that they know and trust -- this isn't some stranger from left field sending them an email out of the blue.

Similarly, on HotKiddush users can only connect to people in their immediate network and their first degree of contacts. Say Moshe is friends with David and his wife Sarah. Moshe can view the profiles of all their connections. The profile of Rachel, a young lady in their network, catches his interest. Moshe can either contact Rachel directly -- backed by the presence of their trusted mutual friends -- or ask David and Sarah to make an introduction. Rachel can feel confident that Moshe is not an axe murderer, since she trusts that David and Sarah wouldn't be friends with axe murderers, and can also be confident that Moshe isn't simultaneously sending the same email to dozens of other people hoping someone, anyone, will respond.

What we have here is the advantages of the first model of dating -- the empowerment for singles to meet one another on their own -- and the refinement of the second model, without the brick wall of a shadchan.

Even better, David and Sarah can proactively introduce single friends, but in essence they don't have to be "shadchanim" or even get involved with setting people up to help their single friends. All they need to do is sign up, invite their friends to join, and add them to their network. Their single friends can then meet one another through them entirely on their own, with David and Sarah functioning as a quiet bridge for new connections to be made among those they know. They can be available to answer questions and provide guidance if needed, but they don't have to be shadchanim with all that entails.

Married people have an easy opportunity to help their single friends without the need to be too closely involved, which can be difficult, demanding, time-consuming, and beyond their abilities. This is a unique way to fulfill the mitzvah of trying to help singles without the pressures and hazards of setting people up.

3) What makes HotKiddush different from other networking sites?

HotKiddush is a unique networking tool especially designed for the observant Jewish community. Unlike many other sites, HotKiddush is a serious web site geared toward facilitating real connections between real people. HotKiddush is not geared for users who wish simply to collect a large number of “friends” (which, in the Internet age, often refers to people who never even met, let alone established a genuine friendship), pass endless amounts of time involved in a fantasy social life, or create narcissistic profiles in an attempt to appear witty and cool. Rather, users of HotKiddush provide real information about various aspects of their true selves and hope to meet others they can connect with for personal or professional relationships in real life. Simply put, HotKiddush is meant to use the vast reach of the Internet not to foster the creation of online personas and imaginary relationships, but as a bridge to connect people in real life.

The profiles on HotKiddush are inspired by the efforts of EndTheMadness and designed to highlight each person's unique individual qualities and personality. Users are pointedly NOT asked to box themselves into some label and answer the usual inane questions. Each question should be carefully considered, and may even help some people get to know themselves better before letting others get to know them better as well. There are no multiple choice questions where users are forced to choose an answer that might not really fit them. Better still, users can create and answer their own questions, further customizing their profiles and allowing their true selves to shine through.

4) Why should I answer such personal questions about myself?

Precisely because your answers to these questions will distinguish your profile and emphasize your true self. One of the phenomena of the Internet age is that profiles on networking sites tend to be extremely superficial and it can be difficult to distinguish one person from the next. Whether you wish to use HotKiddush for personal or professional purposes, you give yourself the best chance of making quality connections by being honest and sharing meaningful information.

You do not have to reveal any deep personal secrets, nor do you have to answer any questions you don’t wish to answer, so feel free to do what is comfortable for you. What one may be comfortable sharing with a close relative or friend one might not want to share with a co-worker or someone they just met. No problem. Users are encouraged to fill out their profiles as fully and richly as possible, and they can then hide the more personal aspects from those who don't yet know them until a relationship is established. It's fully customizable!

5) What's wrong with having thousands of friends?

As previously noted, HotKiddush is designed to facilitate qualitative connections. To take full advantage of HotKiddush, users are expected to connect only to those they know personally and can personally vouch for. This enables users who have mutual connections but don’t yet know one another to feel confident contacting one another for personal or professional purposes, knowing that their mutual contact can serve as a true reference and, if appropriate, act as an intermediary in facilitating the new connection. This is only possible if one’s relationships with his contacts are real and genuine; if one simply connects to everyone he ever met, once knew, or once came across on the Internet, his ability to serve as a reference is neutralized, and his relationships with all his contacts becomes questionable. Remember: HotKiddush is about real connections with real people!

6) Is HotKiddush a dating site?

Not exactly. After all, HotKiddush is open to both singles and married people, and is also designed for connections that have nothing to do with dating (professional, chessed, etc.). That said, HotKiddush provides a wonderful opportunity for singles to meet one another in a relatively natural and non-awkward fashion and to hopefully develop meaningful relationships.

True, web sites that allow anyone to contact anyone else make it easier for people to make more connections more quickly…but what kind of connections are we then talking about? By limiting contacts to friends of friends one can feel more assured that they are dealing with a real person that they have something in common with and is contacting them with sincerity. After all, if your friends are solid people, chances are their other friends are solid as well – and it will certainly be easier for you to verify that!

7) Why should married people be excited about HotKiddush?

Married people can certainly benefit from the networking opportunities that HotKiddush provides. But even married people who do not feel they need a networking opportunity or do not consider themselves Internet savvy are still highly encouraged to sign up with HotKiddush, create at least a minimal profile, and connect to those they know and trust. There is perhaps no better and simpler way for married people to help their single friends network and connect to one another than by doing this.

No longer do married people need to decide if they want to get involved with setting up their single friends and all the difficulties such an endeavor can entail; HotKiddush can function as both a supplement and an alternative to shadchanus (matchmaking). Married people who do not have the time or expertise to act as shadchanim (matchmakers) can provide an easy opportunity for their single friends to see one another’s profiles and contact each other directly or through the married person if they so choose. This system gives more power to singles to be proactive, yet still provides a helpful role to the mutual friend to act as an intermediary if needed or desired.

8) What does the name "HotKiddush" signify?

In Judaism a hot Kiddush is an event that everyone is excited to attend and a place where friends introduce one another to those they know, an enjoyable place to network. We see HotKiddush as something like an online wedding meal, where friends of friends – people with mutual friends and similar backgrounds – have an opportunity to meet one another.

In our age people are so spread out and generally busy that it can be very difficult for friends of friends who should meet one another to ever have the opportunity. HotKiddush provides that opportunity.

I hope you will take me up on this invitation to sign up with HotKiddush and encourage those you know to take full advantage of what it has to offer. Please take your time in filling out your profile carefully and thoughtfully, but do not be intimidated by all the questions; you can sign up now and answer the questions slowly over a period of time. Please also remember that you are not baring your soul to the entire world; you can hide whatever information about yourself is very personal and not for public consumption.

Once again, please share this with those you know and trust, and I wish you the best of success in helping yourself and others make quality connections. I welcome your comments and feedback.

Please go to to sign up and be part a new and better way for observant Jews to connect.