In history and literature – Jewish literature particularly – coming across the zesty characters of wise aged matchmakers and worried young couples is not rare. However in real life, as relationships between men and women have become more liberal, matchmakers seem to have disappeared from most social circles. The accepted idea has been that a constant rubbing of shoulders – in college, at work, etc. – would make it possible and even easy for everyone to meet a life partner without help.

And yet this is not necessarily the case. Busy schedules, urban living and changing family structures have made it very difficult to meet others in any meaningful way.  And the number of people remaining single against their will is increasing. Hence, the rise of the 21st century Jewish matchmakers.

Thanks to modern technology, there are now two types of matchmakers: personal and system-based.

The system-based matchmakers, otherwise known as dating websites, have carved out a prominent role for themselves.  Most of them are relatively cheap and easy to use: the users make their own pick, based on data entered by the candidates themselves. In spite of the economic climate, or maybe because of it, the use of these online dating services has increased.

And so has the use of personal matchmakers.  They, as you might have guessed, tend to charge more than the online services.  But as many people have discovered, you get what you pay for.  Personal matchmakers screen their clients.  That makes it less likely that you will waste your time meeting liars of one type or another.  Then, based on a lot more information than mere data gathered on the websites, matchmakers select your potential partners for you.  Personal attention is paid to your particular situation and wishes. You refine your choices through discussions with an experienced human being rather than by scrolling down a list.  If you are looking for your beshert, paying a little extra and following the matchmaker’s guidelines are more likely to result in success.

While the number of couples being brought together by online dating has been on the rise, there is still no guarantee of success and it can cost a lot of time and frustration before you get a chance at a lasting relationship. This is where 21st century matchmakers shine. They match you with the best potential partners, screening out others who may just be a waste of your time and money.

Regardless of the path you choose – a personal matchmaker or a system – it is important to know that Jewish matchmaking has come a long way since our grandmothers’ day. 21st century Jewish matchmakers do not need to be old to be wise and young couples -and those not so young – can stop worrying.