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First-ever YentaCon held in Philadelphia for Jewish singles and matchmakers

YentaCon's first-ever convention held in Philadelphia for matchmakers and Jewish singles
YentaCon's first-ever convention held in Philadelphia for matchmakers and Jewish singles 01:45

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- More than 50 women and men from around the world gathered at the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History on Thursday for the first-ever "YentaCon," a conference for matchmakers who cater to Jewish singles.

Matchmakers came to Philadelphia from as far away as Canada and Israel.

"My first match, I was 16 years old," Bonnie Winston, who's from New York, said. "It was a calling, and I think that the matchmakers that are here, are here because it's a calling."

One of the goals for matchmakers at the conference is to take back the Yiddish word, yenta, which means a gossip or a busybody.

It was made famous in the musical, "Fiddler on the Roof," as the name of one of the characters, a female matchmaker who was considered a gossiper.

Danielle Selber, one of the matchmakers who organized the conference, said the term yenta often had a negative connotation.

"The word yenta is so maligned," Selber said. "We could take it back and make it the positive, uplifting, heartwarming thing that it's truly meant to be."

Michal Naisteter, another matchmaker who organized the conference, said dating should be a collaborative process for people.

"Dating has very much shifted into being this very individual process and not having someone in your community looking out for you," Naisteter said. "That's what the yenta was."

Aleeza Ben Shalom, who stars in the Netflix show "Jewish Matchmaking," said the goal of the conference is to encourage collaboration not competition among matchmakers.

"Matchmaking is all about collaboration, bringing people together," Ben Shalom said. "I think the only way we can do that is with one another."

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