Bring Jewish singles together

Last week our Page One story revealed that the intermarriage rate in the Bay Area may have reached an astounding 80 percent. That means eight out of every 10 local marriages pairs a Jew with a non-Jew. And based on past experience, only a small percentage of those unions will result in a child being raised Jewish.

In our editorial last week we discussed the need for a Jewish education both for children and parents. Certainly that is one effective way of combating future intermarriage, and encouraging interfaith couples to raise their children as Jews.

But what about the current generation, those who are soon going to college, or are close to graduating, and those who are young, working professionals. What is our Jewish community doing for them?

The Bulletin contains a large singles ad section, and hosts monthly Jewish singles events. The S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation runs similar events (called Blue Mondays) and the Jewish Federation of the Greater East Bay offers singles events through Young Jewish Alliance. Some synagogues also have singles services.

But much more must be done to bring Jews together. Look at the personal ads in this week's paper. Here are Jews looking for other Jews. If they don't find a Jewish mate, statistics indicate they will find a non-Jewish one.

Some of us at the Bulletin also run a separate company called Jewish Community Online, which is responsible for the international Jewish community site on America Online at Keyword: Jewish. In its two years of existence, we know of 30 marriages and hundreds of relationships that have been born from the Jewish matchmaker area at Keyword: Jewish singles.

More such efforts are needed. Some singles want to meet at religious events, while most want social events. But too often community events are family-oriented and singles feel unwelcome or have no way of meeting each other.

Our synagogues, our JCCs, our federations need to form a task force to figure out better ways of bringing Jewish singles together. And it had better be done soon.