What’s a mitzvah? Hubby, Gil is Jewish, and my DNA test revealed that I’m 11% European Jew. Who knew? Since launching my company in LA in 2002, in addition to the introductions I’ve been providing for my under-contract matchmaking clients, in honor of my OMG amazing mother in law (Feisty Frieda Ferman, my company’s mascot) I’ve been providing a whole lot of what she termed Mitzvah Matches.
A mitzvah is, loosely interpreted, a good deed. In my world, as a professional matchmaker, a mitzvah match is an introduction I create simply because I feel inspired to make it. I get to wave the matchmaker’s magic wand for the sake of love itself, not just because someone’s paying me to make the match — to search, vet, screen, qualify, pitch, secure and confirm an introduction to a carefully selected individual.
Today Gil and I are celebrating 30 years of marriage. Half my life has been spent beside one man. It must have been magic that brought us together. Boy crazy, romance obsessed, I was determined to find my husband since my very earliest memory — at the age of 3, dolled up like a princess, by the mailbox, on my tricycle, waiting for the prince on the white horse – seriously – But sadly, in reality, by the time I was in my mid-twenties, I had gotten very good at messing up my love life. With half of one ovary left after surgery at 27, the girl in the mirror told me I needed help, if I truly intended to get a good man to walk down that aisle … with me.
I hired myself a dating coach, who proceeded to co-create with me what he called my Romance Marketing Plan. There was a lot of inner work that he said needed to be done, and then there were also action steps, one of which led me to a dating agency in St. Louis. Who talked me into ditching the personal ads for his new-fangled video dating service in 1990? The owner of that agency, Gil Ferman. Three hours and $1450 later, I was his newest member. Professional photos, an awkward video interview and a quick, not so productive breeze through his library of eligible bachelors ensued, after which I found myself knocking on Gil’s office door. I flirted with him and lured him to the bar next door for a beer. Five weeks later was “the conversation that got out of control” which led to our marriage, under the chuppah that my Christian mom and sister built for the occasion, exactly 30 years ago.
So, I married into the dating industry. And I have been actively engaged in the process of bringing other couples together, every day since. Literally, every day.
Managing a dating agency with Gil, and later creating my own system for providing personal introductions – it’s never been a 9-5 job. On my mind at 3AM this morning was the disappointment that I felt, viscerally, after having discovered last night that one of the introductions I’d made, out of the kindness of my heart (a mitzvah match) was in danger of falling apart, before they had even met face to face. She was inclined to scrap the match – she’d changed her mind about meeting him. That’s when the bottom drops out…
This, to a matchmaker feels like the baby that never gets to be born. Truly.
I put love into every part of the work that goes into making the match. To me, an introduction isn’t made until two people actually meet, typically in person. During this bizarre Covid era, sometimes the first date is by phone or Facetime or Zoom, which is an accommodation that has to be made if one or the other asks for a remote first date. Afterward, I always want to know from him and from her how it FELT being together.
If they never actually meet, then the matchmaker’s heart aches for the loss of the chance for love. At 3AM this morning I wanted to shout out… “Let none of My Matches ever be aborted…!” Whether the introduction is one I provided for an active search client who’s paid me a whopper for the privilege, or whether it’s a Mitzvah Match I’ve done as a gift, I want and I need for the introduction to actually … happen.
So today, on the occasion of our 30th wedding anniversary, I’m spelling things out here – what a match means to me and what I need for it to mean for you, if you’d like to be eligible to receive referrals from this personal matchmaker. If I can count on the people in my community to be in partnership with me on these simple guidelines, I might just keep doing this magical work for another 30 years. And wouldn’t that be sweet?
After three decades providing introductions, I can tell you that I don’t sit at this desk for money. I’m basically the grandmother of matchmaking at this point, quite certain that I know my trade as well as any matchmaker on the planet. I am not the most successful of my colleagues in terms of dough – far from it, and that’s OK with me. I earn enough to provide the important things, the things that truly matter to me. However much time I spend at my desk each week, I want to spend at least that much of my God given time hiking, reading, cooking, meditating, in a yoga posture, having dinner with precious friends, playing my piano — you know, living life.
It’s worth it to me, investing my time, energy, reputation and resources in this godly work, when it’s respected and appreciated. When the people who engage with me, with my process do so in like fashion, reciprocating with respect, sincerity, warmth and appreciation.
Never a day goes by that a match isn’t made. I keep track… 1200 couples that I’m aware of, have made it to our Success Story List — Married, co-habiting or together for a year, as a direct result of one of our introductions. A whole lot of babies have been born, a few divorces that I know of, but last I checked, no murders… !
The vast majority of men and women who reach out to me, who register with me, and who invest in by-phone or in-person consultations with me – I don’t encourage to hire me for a targeted search. Of the last 1000 men and women who’ve registered privately with me, I’ve encouraged just a handful to jump into that $10K+ hot seat as my matchmaking client. For me, it has to be the right fit, in order for me to drop everything and make it my mission to put all of my resources to work for one specific person. If my gut tells me that it might not be a fruitful adventure, that expectations are not in line with the reality I think I can provide, I’ll say “Don’t do it” and I’ll suggest alternative dating solutions.
Silly, some say. And yes, if my primary purpose for being at my desk is to make money, I would sign a lot more matchmaking contracts.
It’s love that keeps me here. Each introduction I get to make comes from my heart and is my contribution to the world. I believe in the power of love. Those men and women who sincerely want loving companionship and ideally partnership in their lives, who are here in my community, that’s who I’m here to serve. It’s my mitzvah, it’s God’s work, and I love doing it. Most of the time.
Today, more than half of the introductions I make from this desk are what Feisty Frieda Ferman called Mitzvah Matches – when neither he nor she is the active search client, under contract. Rather, I was simply inspired to provide an introduction. I do Mitzvah Searches every day, typically for a former client or for someone I’ve met with for a personal consultation.
I take the time to run a targeted search, I identify a candidate (or several) and I drop everything to reach out to this person I’ve got in mind. I re-qualify this person, I pitch the match (first to him, then to her) and when I get the Mutual Yes, I follow through with both, orchestrating the first date or putting them in direct contact so they can run with the ball together.
I want to be able to provide introductions for you, whether you and I are under contract or whether the introduction I’m looking to make is a gift, a mitzvah match. And you’ll continue to be eligible for referrals and introductions here in my world, if you can and will always adhere to the guidelines I’m outlining here. I love to provide these introductions. That is, as long as people behave.
Here’s what behaving looks like.
The Cupid’s Coach Code
For Personal Introductions
Truth. Your profile here with me is current, truthful, and thoughtfully developed. As few surprises on the first date as possible – that’s what I strive for. Your profile and your photos need to truly represent today’s version of you.
Marketability. Your photos, face and body shots are current, ideally within 1-2 years, flattering and representative of who you are today.
NOTE: The more you have to offer, the more selective you’ll be, and the more important YOUR photos are, in order for me to get that coveted Yes response from the person I’d love to introduce to you.
Email me for tips on getting great current photos of the adorable you. Julie@JulieFerman.com
Responsive. You’re accessible and responsive to my emails / text messages. I need responses within a day or two – If I can’t find you, I’ll have to back-burner you, which makes me so sad…
Kind. You’re consistently respectful, kind, warm and compassionate, in your interactions with me and with each person you have the opportunity to engage with, here in my community. I always get post-date feedback. This is my sandbox, and I am careful about whom I invite in. Don’t blow it…
Trustworthy. Here in my world, Yes means Yes. I strive to maintain a Ghost Free Zone / The No Flake Zone for dating. My sandbox is meant to be an oasis, a safe place to engage and a breath of fresh air compared to online dating, dating apps and all of the flaky behavior we see out there in today’s world. Once He is a Yes for meeting and She is a Yes too, the introduction will happen. Each and every time. Let this ball never be dropped before the two of you:
- Meet up in person
- Meet up for a scheduled phone call / Facetime / Zoom
- Report back to me, to let me know how things went.
I realized today, on our 30th anniversary, at the age of 60, that I’m willing to and happy to keep doing this magical work, as long as each person I’m serving can be in partnership with me, by adhering to these three simple guidelines.
Who’s in? Email me back to let me know that you want to continue being in my sandbox and that I can count on you to respect and honor The Cupid’s Coach Code.
I’m here: Julie@JulieFerman.com or you can text me or voice mail me here: 805-371-9557
Transforming Me to We since 1990
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