Matchmaker Seeks Basherts for Singles With Disabilities

Stacey Stein
The Canadian Jewish News



Mrs. Devora Alouf is on a mission. With 13 years of experience as a professional matchmaker, her goal is to reduce intermarriage by uniting Jewish singles. And with the launch of Jewish Singles with Special Needs (www.jswsn.org), Alouf has intensified her efforts to help Jewish singles from diverse backgrounds find their bashert.

Although JSWSN is aimed at Jewish Singles with disabilities, Devora stresses that "the focus is on abilities, not disabilities." She adds that "people with disabilities find the real connection - the soul connection." A former teacher, Devora turned to matchmaking out of a deep concern about intermarriage, which she calls a "silent holocaust." She is the founder and matchmaker of Jewish Quality Singles, a service for Jewish singles combining both online and personalized matchmaking to facilitate singles to meet.

Jewish Quality Singles is the sponsor of JSWSN, but the new service is non-profit and has its own website: www.jswsn.org. Members provide information about themselves and the attributes they are seeking in a potential partner and can also search through an online database of Jewish Singles. Devora said she tries to meet most of the members by either visiting them in person or contacting them via phone or e-mail.

The idea for JSWSN can be traced to one of Mrs. Alouf's matchmaking stories. A New York-based client of Jewish Quality Singles had been corresponding with a woman in Miami who was about to fly to New York to meet with him in person for the first time. Mrs. Alouf's client asked to meet with Alouf before this momentous first meeting. When she met with him, Devora discovered that he had a physical disability - part of his body was paralyzed. The Miami-based woman did not know this prior to meeting him and was unable to cope with the man's disability. But Mrs. Alouf was determined to make a successful match for him. "Then came a girl who was not handicapped but who was open-minded and I told her about him," Alouf said. "She met him and today they are married."

The client inspired Alouf to start JSWSN. Alouf said she has found it easier to marry people with special needs than "people who are so-called perfect." [People with special needs] are more spiritual, less demanding and more accepting," she said.

According to Devora Alouf, her matchmaking efforts have led to hundreds of marriages since 1989, although she will not divulge an exact number. With Jewish Singles With Special Needs, Mrs. Alouf hopes to help even more singles find their soul mates "my ultimate goal is that everywhere in the world where there are Jewish singles, whether they are blind or wounded, they'll be able to connect with other Jewish singles," she said. "This [Web site] is a vehicle for communication, friendship, and hopefully marriage."

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