In our remote and isolated world today, “it’s hard to meet people,” Valori Zaslow said.
“They are on apps, websites, blind dates,” she continued. “They are all over the place.”
Except, it seems, in public spaces with other people.
So, to help singles reconnect to the dating scene, Zaslow and her new friend, Diana Pivenshteyn, created a radio show, Jewish Singles, on WWDB-AM TALK 860.
The show airs for an hour every Wednesday at 7 p.m. It also goes out as a podcast on the WWDB website and on podcast platforms.
Zaslow, 54, of Narberth, and Pivenshteyn, 45, of Philadelphia, aired their first episode in June and started building a loyal audience. As divorced women of a certain age, they get what their listeners are going through and are capable of commiserating and offering advice.
But they also bring on spiritual leaders, life coaches and matchmakers, among others. Some shows have topics, like how to navigate dating if you have children. Others feature one expert and several callers asking for advice.
At least two couples have met from appearing on the show at the same time, though the hosts do not profess to be matchmakers.
“We just want to help facilitate that for people who are struggling,” Zaslow said.
Zaslow and Pivenshteyn did not know each other before the show. They actually had their own matchmaker: Perry Milou, a mutual friend and an artist with a studio in Bristol.
Milou had a feeling that the women would complement each other.
As the artist explained it, Zaslow, a candy store owner, event planner and streaming television host, has “always got her mind into something.”
And Pivenshteyn, an event planner who ran beauty pageants in the area’s Russian community for many years, is “very creative.”
So one day in the spring, the artist invited both women to his studio space.
Around the same time, Zaslow got a call from Barry Reisman, the host of a Jewish music show on WWDB-AM.
He knew that, over a year earlier, she created a Facebook page called Jewish Singles Society that got hundreds of likes before the pandemic halted its burgeoning event schedule. He also knew that Zaslow had media experience.
“Barry asked if I’d be interested in bringing a show to [WW]DB in that realm,” Zaslow said. “This is what came to mind.”
That day, Zaslow walked into Milou’s studio and made an instant connection with Pivenshteyn, as expected. Then, she popped the question about co-hosting Jewish Singles.
Pivenshteyn loved the idea. She used to host a Russian music show on WWDB.
“Valori brought it up. Diana had some experience at the station. And they took it to the next level,” Milou said.
According to Pivenshteyn, due to the ongoing pandemic, neither woman had a lot going on in the spring. There still weren’t many big events.
Plus, according to Zaslow, the Jewish Singles Society maintained a big Facebook following, even though it never really got off the ground. So, she still wanted to launch it, and the show would be a way to do that.
But more than anything, Pivenshteyn said, the connective fiber between the women was their status as Jewish singles themselves.
“We’re both single and divorced,” Pivenshteyn said. “When two women get together and have that in common, that’s like hours of talking.”
WWDB-AM executives tell their hosts that the station has 10,000 listeners a day at any given time, but the women aren’t sure how big their audience is. They do, however, understand its makeup based on the conversations that break out.
“Most of our listeners, because of our age, are in the same boat,” Pivenshteyn said. “It’s like a support group on air.”
Zaslow has a boyfriend. But Pivenshteyn is just dating. And since she has two young kids, two dogs and elderly parents who need her help, she doesn’t need a boyfriend, she says.
Pivenshteyn has plenty of responsibilities and company.
So when she does date, she has prerequisites: The guy must be Jewish, Russian and a parent like her, though she’s flexible on the Russian part.
Pivenshteyn has ventured outside her world before and has no desire to do it again. But that’s just what works for her.
“My advice to people is stick with what they really want,” Pivenshteyn said.
The show has gotten popular enough to transform into a community, Zaslow said. She is talking to local Jewish organizers about planning events for singles to meet in public again.
“It’s been tough in the last 15 months to do that,” she said.
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