True stories of dating success &mdash online and in real world

If you read the cover stories of some local magazines lately, you might think no one in the Bay Area is dating, let alone finding true love and marriage.

It’s true: Many Jewish singles are reeling from dating fatigue and the McDating lifestyle of speed dating doesn’t seem to be leading to many happily-ever-afters. And there’s a whole wave of “quirky alone” singles who are celebrating their singleness.

But recently, several readers of j. have sent in their engagement and wedding announcements detailing the ways they met — through online dating, specifically JDate, and through Jewish singles events. Evidently, at least single Jews are hooking up.

And they’re not all twenty- and thirtysomethings.

After 18 years of being single — but having a very active dating life — Harriet Jacobs decided to post her profile on JDate at the urging of her two grown JDating daughters. From the popular Jewish online dating service, she met someone with whom she was involved with for two and a half years. Then she got an e-mail from Don Fernandez.

“He was captured by my picture,” says Harriet Fernandez, 62, who recently retired from biotech sales with Johnson & Johnson. “But I wrote back and said I was in a relationship.”

Four months later, he wrote again. By then her relationship was starting to shows some signs of unraveling, but she was working to keep it going and wrote him back. “He said, ‘I’ll wait,'” she laughs.

When she and her boyfriend broke up, she agreed to meet Don, 64, an executive search consultant and mortgage broker and past president of the Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center of Silicon Valley.

“From the moment I met him, I knew he was very special. To say we clicked doesn’t really say it. We’re a perfect match,” she says. “Within six weeks, which is like nuts,” she knew he was the one. “I always told my daughters, ‘You’ve got to know someone for a year!'” says the San Jose resident.

They met in February 2003. They married last October. “From the very beginning, Don was a very solid man, very successful, and what I mean by successful has nothing to do with money. He had a good marriage, a good relationship with his family, friends,” she says. “That, and his intelligence won me over.”

Jennifer Lynn Bloom never considered online dating, but the San Mateo resident went to numerous Jewish singles events in hopes of finding Mr. Right.

“I’ve been brought up in a pretty Jewish home. I just always had the connection” to Judaism, loving its traditions and customs. Plus, she adds, “My mom would kill me if I didn’t marry someone Jewish!”

Shortly after New Year’s last year, she went with a girlfriend to a Jewish singles event at a San Francisco bar.

“I looked across the room and I saw him, and I thought, ‘He’s cute,'” says Bloom, 28, a first-grade teacher in Portola Valley.

The cute guy: Adam Edward Smith, 34, who’s in sales.

Smith was talking to a guy Bloom had once dated, which might have been awkward. Instead, he introduced Smith to her.

They ended up talking to each other the entire night.

When Bloom and her friend left the bar, they went straight to a computer to check out Smith’s JDate profile.

“We went back to her home and looked, and it was like, ‘Oh my God, there he is!’ And he was right on. He was really cute” in his profile, says Bloom.

Bloom knew after the first date that she wanted to see him again. It was the same for Smith. “After the third date, he pretty much wanted me to move in,” she says.

The two got engaged last month and are planning to be wed this August.

For Adam Sager of Larkspur, it was a BBYO dance event in the Bay Area that led him to his beloved, Stacey Heller — although he didn’t know that for 10 years.

They were just young teens at the time, but he recalls he was pretty smitten. “What I remember from the time is her beauty, including her beautiful blond hair,” says Sager, 26, who now works in Manhattan in corporate security. And, he admits, he was a sucker for her South African accent.

Sager lived in Israel for six years, studying philosophy at the Hebrew University, and even served in the Israeli army. But he never forgot Heller, 27, and often asked a mutual friend about her.

When that friend visited Sager for a week in the summer of 2002, he called Heller and invited her to join him and Sager for dinner. They met at a small Chinese restaurant in Greenwich Village.

“I was excited to finally meet this Stacey Heller again, as her name had been on my mind for the past 10 years,” says Sager. “When we met, I told her precisely that — that I had been thinking about her for the past 10 years. Unfortunately, by that time she had lost almost all trace of her South African accent, but her beauty had the same effect on me at that point as it had when we were teens.”

A week later, Sager called her and asked her out. Less than four months later, they got engaged.

They were married in October.

Do you have an interesting story to share?

For a future supplement, we are looking for your stories of how you and your beloved met. Please keep them to no more than 250 words and, if possible, include a photo (make sure to identify all in the photo). If you would like photos to be returned, please include a self-addressed stamped envelope. Include your name, address and daytime phone on the story as well.

Send your stories and photos by May 1 to [email protected]; by fax at (415) 263-7223, or by mail to j. the Jewish news weekly, attention Vicki Larson, 225 Bush St., Suite 1480, San Francisco, CA 94104.