BRECKENRIDGE Online dating moves to offline dating thats the goal right? But one website is taking the initiative for singles. Travel excursions, like JDates five-day trip to the slopes of Breckenridge for Valentines Day, bring singles together in a laid-back setting at a fun destination.According to spokesperson Gail Laguna, JDate launched in 1997 to immediate success. From there they grew to offer other niche online dating services, specifically targeting religious, ethnic, geographic or special interest groups, Laguna said, citing their Christian Mingles and Black Singles dating sites.But its only on JDate, the Jewish singles site, that members are integrating their online activity with offline trips. Laguna said it began with smaller events like cocktail parties and cooking classes, but soon moved to events like skydiving, bungee jumping, along with trips to Israel, Cancun and Breckenridge.Lane Koplon, who lives in Atlanta and will be in Breck for Valentines Day, has been on several of the JDate trips.He stresses that singles should expect a good time, but that its not all about finding love.Its an opportunity to go to a place youve never been, he said. Most importantly, you go for the activity, and if you meet somebody its definitely a bonus.Laguna compares the service to the traditional matchmaker.Especially with Judaism, matchmaking is a very long-held tradition, theres some significance placed on marriage within the religion, she said.Synagogue of the Summit president Sandy Levine, while not familiar with the ins and outs of JDate, said she thinks the concept is good.Anywhere there is not a large Jewish population, its always harder for people to find each other, Levine said ... Any structure that makes that easier is valuable.Local Synagogue of the Summit Rabbi Joel Schwartzman said he just recently recommended JDate to someone, and said he thought the idea of a trip was appealing.When my son and daughter were in high school, they were much happier going out in groups than pairing up ... (The site) allows for you to more anonymously find someone with whom you would be compatible, he said.Both he and his single daughter Ilana Schwartzman, who has used the site and was recently ordained as a rabbi, mentioned the importance of being careful with the internet.Its a caveat with any dating site that they dont screen people, so you never know who you are going to get, Ilana said.Yet she notes that several of her friends are on JDate and that she sees four to five weddings a year in Buffalo, N.Y., of people who met through the website. Especially people in their 40s, 50s and 60s ... are doing well finding each other with the use of JDate, she said.Ilana also said she liked the way the site allowed singles to participate in events with a group instead of having to go it alone.It gives them the ability to do something they wouldnt have otherwise, she said.The JDate group will be in Breckenridge on Sunday through Valentines Day.Leslie Brefeld can be reached at (970) 668-4626 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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