In a move designed to help promote marriages in the Orthodox Jewish community, a Baltimore-based group has organized a meeting service that will allow young men and women at a distance to initially meet one another utilizing video conference technology, after which they can determine whether they wish to meet in person.

“Shidduchim,” or introductions traditionally arranged with the help of others (family, friends, and/or professionals), provide the primary route for many Orthodox men and women to get to know one another with the goal of establishing a relationship leading to marriage. As there are many Orthodox singles who are finding it a challenge to meet the right person, arranging introductions has become a laudable goal of many in the community.

These arrangements, however, often require expensive and time-consuming visits to other cities, which discourages some from undertaking to meet a proposed match and leads others who have made such efforts to become frustrated when the trip proves unsuccessful – only further increasing the likelihood that future suggestions involving will be shunned.

To help address that problem, The Simcha Foundation, a 501( c ) 3 non-profit in Baltimore, MD, conceived by local entrepreneur Jeff Cohn, has created ShidduchVision, a system that allows a man and woman in different cities to sit comfortably in front of professional video-conferencing equipment in a secluded room in a local private home and meet one another in a personal and pleasant setting. Up to three such low-cost meetings can be arranged before the couple decides whether a trip and a meeting in person constitute the right next move.

The project was designed in consultation with rabbinical authorities – and has since gained the approbation of many prominent rabbis around the world, who see it as a proper harnessing of modern technology in the spirit of Torah to help achieve a traditional Jewish goal and benefit the community at large.