Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match… on Facebook?

Meet one of the founders behind the popular "Corona Crush" Facebook group, setting up Jewish couples online. [Photo © Facebook: CoronaCrush]

There is a Jewish saying that when a person matches three couples and the relationship results in marriage, their place in heaven is automatically secured. Does Bracha Katsof believe in this? It wasn’t her goal when she started the Facebook group “Corona Crush,” but it just might be the outcome.

“It was almost exactly one year ago that I had this idea. I thought: people are stuck at home, very scared and just looking for a way to connect, so that’s how the community got started,” she explained.

Now the Facebook group, which was created at the height of pandemic lockdowns in March 2020 and aimed at “creating Jewish couples in quarantine,” has taken off. Since its initial founding, the group has garnered almost 20,000 members from across the world.

Katsof is the first of six co-founders, spread internationally, who created the group. Corona Crush began with these six friends inviting Jewish singles from their own networks to join.

“First, we focused on Israel and New York, thinking maybe people will meet each other, maybe they’ll connect, maybe it will turn into actually dating, but maybe not. Either way, it was a sense of community, which I felt was really lacking,” said Katsof. 

What initially set Corona Crush apart from other dating platforms was the unique angle in which posts had to be made. Typically, a member posted on behalf of their friend. 

There is just something unique about hearing someone vouch for their friend, that takes away the awkwardness of ‘self-promotion’ on typical dating apps, explained Katsof. 

The first ever post in the group was Katsof’s profile, shared by a friend of hers.

“The whole idea was to just do it in like a very silly, humorous way. We wanted to get people to think creatively about how to set their friends apart, instead of just saying: ‘hey, there’s this person, they’re 30 years old, single, live in New York, and like baking.’ We wanted to really get people to go all out,” Katsof explained. “So we started with that, and it kind of blew up.”

But, this group isn’t just for singles, she added.

“It’s for everyone. People always have someone, like a brother, sister, cousin, or co worker that they might want to introduce to someone else. That’s what makes this community such a powerful group to be a part of.”

As the group grew, the founders were working around the clock to generate creative ideas, writing profiles, and hosting virtual events. The first virtual get-together, a Zoom speed dating event, was so popular that the founders had to split the event up into multiple calls by region.

“It all came from a place of us wanting to just, you know, connect, and we did it out of love,” said Katsof. “We had no idea it would become what it is now.”

To date, Bracha knows several couples who have really hit it off, and at least one couple that got engaged.

Matchmaking is very Jewish, and that might be why this group has been such a hit, said Bracha. 

“I think people just have it within them to set up their single friends. We all just want to see… Love. And be a part of it in some way.”

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