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January 13, 2017     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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January 13, 2017

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 13, 2017 PAGE 7A In December 2003, the world of shidduchim (Jewish matchmaking) changed for the better. SawYouAtSinai, the online Jewish matchmak- ing network, was launched, and has since successful- ly matched an impressive 2,700+ of its members. This month it celebrates its bar mitzvah anniversary. SawYouAtSinai's co- founder Azi Cutter remarks, "It's hard to believe that 13 years ago, Marc Goldmann and I met at Starbucks and shared with each other our passions for changing the way people dated online, and specifically, how matchmak- ers communicated with both each other and the singles." Tova Weinberg, SawY- ouAtSinai's first match- maker, recalls a phone call where Marc proposed the idea of the site. "Sign me up yesterday! I feel overrun by all these singles coming to me and I need a system" she responded. She now has hundreds of matches to her credit. As a result of that Star- bucks conversation, and years of effort on behalf of their 350+ volunteer matchmakers, there are now thousands ofchildrenaround the world who can call them- selves SawYouAtSinai babies. Since its first engagement in 2005, on average, a member has gotten engaged every 1.25 days and the site's suc- cess continues to increase exponentially. Michelle Michal Chava Lipp never thought online dating was for her and was convinced all the "success stories" were made up. That opinion quickly changed when she joined SawYouAtSi- nai simply to prove to her friends that she was right. Mi- chelle signed up on January 1, 2013 and met her husband sixteen days later. The SawYouAtSinai pro- cess is very simple and efficient from a member's perspective. They fill out an online profile, containing questions about their per- sonality, background, educa- tion and match criteria, and then select two matchmak- ers to work on their behalf to find them a match. Match- makers network together and search the extensive worldwide database for the most compatible matches. The matchmakers have uniquely developed match technology at their finger- tips, but add the personalized touch to the process. The matchmakers have phone consultations with their members, give support and dating advice throughout... "are dedicated and caring, take time to speak with, ad- vise and search for matches, just for the simple reward of helping others," says mem- ber Shari Gomberg. SawYouAtSinai has been receiving mazel tovs on its bar mitzvah anniversary from its members, match- makers and from communi- ties around the world, all of whom are thankful for such an effective matchmaking system. Video encourage- ment from World famous singers Gad Elbaz and Nissim Black are also displayed on its Facebook page. The Orl By Christine DeSouza Love cats? Then the Or- lando Cat Caf6 is the place to visit and possibly adopt a cat (or just play with them). It is the first of its kind to open in Florida, and owner Sandra Cagan is thrilled with its success. Since opening last September, more than 4,000 guests have visited the caf and there have been 38 adoptions as of the end of the year. "If you are not familiar with the Cat Cafg concept, it is something that started in Japan where it remains very popular," Cagan ex- plained. "Since houses and apartments are very small in Japan, Cat Caf6's began to open where people who could not own a cat could go to mix and mingle with felines. Since blossoming in Japan, the Cat Caf6 concept spread to Europe with cafes open in London and Paris." The Cat Caf here is a col- laboration between Cagan Management Group, The Animal League and Axum Coffee, a popular coffee shop that also has a philanthropic spirit. "Axum is named after a city in Ethiopia with no clean drinking water. The owner of Axum donates his profits back to this city to help with their quality of life," Cagan said. While enjoying coffee and pastries in Axum, customers can see the kittens and cats through a viewing window into the cat play area. Orlando Cat Cafg houses between 15 and 18 cats and kittens, rang- ing in age from six months to seniors. There is a fee to enter the cat area: $8 for adults and $4 for children, which allows cat lovers to play with the cats for up to an hour. This sure beats viewing kittens in cages. In addition to playing with the cats, all are adoptable through The Animal League, a no-kill shelter in existence since 1988. Computers also are set up to apply for an adoption. Cagan Management Group is the landlord of the Town Center at Cagan Crossings, where the Orlando Cat Caf6 is located, and was the de- veloper of the entire project. Cagan is a snowbird be- tween Florida and Chicago, where she is from origi- nally. While here, she attends Chabad of South Orlando. She is also affiliated with the Orlando Torah Academy. The caf@, located at 532 Cagan Park Ave., Clermont, is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.--7 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m.--7 p.m. The cat play/adoption area is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information, visit Part of the kitten play area (complete with a kitten).