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2 Philadelphia women take Jewish matchmaker role into 21st century

2 Philadelphia taking centuries-old role of Jewish matchmaker into 21st century
2 Philadelphia taking centuries-old role of Jewish matchmaker into 21st century 02:08

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Two Philadelphia women are taking the centuries-old role of a Jewish matchmaker into the 21st century.

Danielle Selber and Michal Naisteter primarily work with young Jewish professionals in Philadelphia.

Their matchmaking has led to at least 40 serious relationships.

"A matchmaker's role is to limit it, to narrow it down and to also help people see there's a human on the other side of this," Naisteter said. "Our role is to give people permission to believe that love is out there, and it's possible to find it."

The role of a matchmaker has a long history in Jewish society. Often, it was women who were described by the Yiddish term as a "yenta."

"[She] was like the gossip, the one who knew everything about everybody and knew who was single as well," Naisteter said. "She would naturally make matches."

Yentas were made famous in the musical "Fiddler on the Roof," but they often had a negative connotation.

"We've reclaimed the term a little bit," Selber said. "To be a modern yenta, to be a modern matchmaker means you do know everything about everyone, and you do know all the people, but in a lot of ways, you're trying to be a community connector."

In addition to matching people on potential dates, Selber and Naisteter hold events where young Jewish singles can meet.

Both women said the key to dating is to say "yes" as often as possible.

"You're looking for your last first date," Naisteter said. "The next date could be your last one, and that's all it takes, so you just have to say 'yes' to it."

Even with the popularity of dating apps, both matchmakers said their services are in demand because many people need help sorting through their options.

"It's a great feeling to be in the business of love," Naisteter said.

Selber added, "It's just as much fun as you think it is."

Both matchmakers said if people are interested, the first meeting is free, and after that, they have a payment scale based on how much hands-on help a person wants to have.

Naisteter can be reached on social media at @MichalMatches, and Selber can be reached at @DanielleSelber.

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