Can an Orthodox Rabbi Get You from “I to I Do”?
As an Orthodox Rabbi, Arnie Singer may not be the most obvious choice for singles looking for a dating coach, yet this religious romantic does just that when he doles out smart, honest and practical advice to Jewish singles all over New York City. Now this rabbi/dating coach is taking his love for helping people find love to the next level with his new book, From I to I Do: How to Meet, Date and Marry Your Mr. Right. JMag sat down with Rabbi Singer to learn more about his new book – and to get his best advice for those who are tired of the singles scene!
JMag: An Orthodox rabbi specializing in date coaching is an interesting combination of careers. What sparked your career transition from rabbi to dating coach?
Arnie Singer: I dated for many years on the UWS of Manhattan before I finally met my wife. I understand the challenges and frustrations of the dating scene. I figured having been through it myself, I can help singles in a way most people who haven’t been through it can’t.
Besides, what’s more important in Judaism than family? It’s right there at the top, so it seems like the perfect field for a rabbi to be involved in.
JMag: Tell us a little bit about your “dating strategy for success.”
Arnie Singer: There are so many moving parts to any dating relationship and they’re all important, but I think there are a few points that are fundamental to success.
1. Dating for potential, not perfection.
No one is perfect, even you. If your goal is to find someone who fits every one of your definitions of perfection, you’ll never be satisfied and always continue searching for someone who exists only in your mind. Dating for potential means identifying the core qualities you need in a partner, and then working with that person within the context of a committed relationship to build a happy life together.
2. Managing realistic expectations.
If you’re realistic about who you are and what you have to offer, you’ll find it much easier to find a match. Many singles who are unsuccessful in their search for a mate harbor unrealistic expectations of the kind of partner they should be able to attract. Once they accept their reality, many more potential matches suddenly appear.
3. Taking the dating process seriously.
If you were looking for a job, you’d put all your effort and energy into finding one. You should do the same for finding a mate. Don’t be lazy or say you’re just placing your fate in the hands of God. Work as hard as you can to do everything in your power to meet and date your potential mate. Only then can you leave the rest in God’s hands.
JMag: There’s a chapter in your book called, “Finding Mr. Right Online.” Do you think online dating has changed the way we find love?
Arnie Singer: Online dating has created opportunities for meeting people that didn’t exist 25 years ago. You’re no longer confined to dating people within your zip code or social circle. You can also screen potential dating candidates before meeting them, which can save a lot of time and frustration. However, you need to have a great online photo and profile, and be smart about how you communicate with potential matches. You also need to be vigilant about using precautions with the people you meet.
JMag: What’s your one best piece of advice for online daters?
Arnie Singer: If you find someone you like, don’t waste a lot of time communicating online. Make a date and meet them in person. The only way you’ll know if the chemistry is really there is when you see the person face to face. If someone is reluctant to meet you in person, that’s a warning that something’s not “kosher” and a signal for you to move on.
JMag: You were single for 15 years before you met your Beshert. What kind of encouragement can you share with our readers who may be sick of the singles scene?
Arnie Singer: I think being sick of the singles scene is a good thing. It means you’re truly ready to settle down with someone who will make you happy. You just need to focus on the things I discussed in question #2 and put the effort in. I think I was too comfortable being single, so unless I found someone who was the perfect image of my fantasy woman, it was easier to remain single and maintain my fantasy. When I finally decided I didn’t want to be single anymore, I dropped the fantasy and started looking for a woman to share my “reality” with.
I truly believe that your “Beshert” is out there — waiting for you to recognize him or her. When you decide you’re ready, for real, you’ll find that person. May it happen very soon!
To ask Rabbi Singer a question, email email@example.com.