You Should Know…Molly Weinberg

Molly Weinberg is a white woman with long, light brown hair wearing a red dress at a courtyard.
Molly Weinberg | Courtesy of Molly Weinberg

While Molly Weinberg was going through a box of memorabilia last week, she came across a card written to her by her Temple University adviser in 2013, when she was 19 and an orientation leader for incoming students.

Among the many sentiments the adviser offered was one that was nearly clairvoyant: “Good luck in all that you do,” it read. “And I really hope ‘Molly’s Matches’ becomes a reality.”

Weinberg was stunned.

“That’s wild to me. … That’s crazy that this came into fruition,” Weinberg said.

Since January 2022, Weinberg, 29, has run YentaBe Matchmaking, a matchmaking service for 22-45-year-olds in the Philadelphia Jewish community. Using her prowess and passion for making connections — a skill honed since college — Weinberg, who lives in Ambler with her husband and baby, has set up hundreds of first dates. Nine couples have “graduated” from YentaBe to date without her coordination.

Weinberg has played matchmaker unofficially since her freshman year at Temple. Involved in Hillel, Chabad and her sorority, she had ample friends approach her asking for a job connection or date suggestion. As the years went on and she expanded her social network through her involvement at Chabad Lubavitch of Montgomery County Jewish Center and the Old City Jewish Arts Center, Weinberg had so many connections to juggle that she created an organized database of those looking for love. Weinberg has been a matchmaker for a long time; she just recently decided to make it official.

Every YentaBe client begins their journey by answering a questionnaire with more than 120 items: Do you keep kosher? What is your morning routine? What chores do you hate? Is it important to you that your partner comes from a religious family? An educated family? How do you celebrate holidays?

The questions encompass both a client’s values and personality. The goal, Weinberg said, is to match a couple based on values, while keeping them open-minded to a potential partner’s interests. That is a unique power of matchmaking. Instead of finding out about a date’s red flag or different value system five dates in, a client is matched with someone who they know shares their values.

“It’s kind of like beating all the BS in the beginning to get to the foundational values, and then that’s how people are paired,” Weinberg said.

For Weinberg, meeting her husband helped create that matchmaking philosophy. She and her partner Daniel met on their first day of school at Temple University but didn’t start dating until the end of their junior year. They built a friendship for almost three years.

Without the posturing and desire to impress that dating can often cause, the couple shared secrets, values and dreams as friends, so by the time they started dating, they knew they aligned on what was important to them.

“A lot of times people glaze over the really important stuff, and then when it gets too late, they feel stuck,” Weinberg said. 

Weinberg structures her matchmaking around similarities in morals and values because it worked for her. 

Not every couple has the same organic love story as Weinberg and her husband. The ubiquitous use of dating tools speaks to this. Netflix’s “Jewish Matchmaking” and Tribe 12’s matchmaking services have brought the matchmaking practice to the forefront of young people’s minds, especially in Jewish Philadelphia, and today’s dating culture has only increased the need for the service, Weinberg argued.

“I was talking to a group of single girlfriends, and they all were just saying how they’re so fed up with the apps, and it feels uncomfortable,” Weinberg said. “And it’s like, if you’re going to dedicate time to go on a date, especially in the way that the world is now, you want to know that there’s some common ground; you want to feel some comfortability; you want to have some connection to the person.”

Since COVID, young people are more apprehensive about going on social outings or meeting new people unless it’s really worth it, Weinberg noticed. Paradoxically, young people have trouble meeting partners outside of college, when there are fewer social opportunities available. Combined with superficial dating apps, it’s a perfect storm for dating frustration. 

A matchmaker walks a person through the complicated process of dating, and building trust with clients is important. In the Jewish world, Weinberg works with people of all denominations and levels of observance, but the common thread of Judaism linking both Weinberg’s clients to each other and Weinberg herself helps create that trust.

“Jewish marriage is pretty much like the holiest thing in my eyes,” she said.

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