BOB ABERNETHY, anchor: With St. Valentine's Day this coming week, we have a report today on the latest in matchmaking -- online, with or without a matchmaker. There are about 800 Internet dating sites, among them those catering specifically to men and women of many religious faiths. Want to find a nice Christian or Jewish or Muslim life partner? Just log on.
Betty Rollin reports.
BETTY ROLLIN: Hala Durrah and Adeeb Jaber, who live in Bowie, Maryland,
have been married -- very happily, they say -- for three years. Their daughter,
Ayah, is two. Both Hala and Adeeb are traditional Muslims -- no casual dating
allowed. But they met in a very untraditional way.
HALA DURRAH: I had gone through the traditional channels that a lot of
Muslim-American and Arab-American women did, which were being introduced by
people through your parents, through family friends. And I didn't really find
anyone, and I was getting a bit frustrated. So a few friends kind of suggested
to me, "Why don't you go on the Internet?" So I decided to try it, and I went
on a Web site called Zawaj.com. I set up a profile describing who I was,
briefly what I looked like, what my goals in life were, what I was looking for.
At the same time you could browse the Web site to look at other profiles of
eligible mates or partners and see what you liked and kind of respond to their
ROLLIN: Adeeb, who is a doctor, also submitted a profile to Zawaj.com.
Dr. ADEEB JABER: I said that I'm a well-educated professional, actively
practicing Muslim, seeking a Muslim who is also trying to do that which pleases
Ms. DURRAH: I had loved everything he said except for the age. At the
time when I saw his profile, there would have been a 10-year age difference.
And I kind of put the cutoff at 9 years.
ROLLIN: But after several weeks, Hala had second thoughts.
Ms. DURRAH: I saw his profile, and something in my head just kept
telling me, "Respond! Just send him an e-mail. You have nothing to lose. Just
do it!" And I did.
ROLLIN: And so they began to get to know each other via e-mail.
Dr. JABER: With the Internet, you can just log on, see where we last
left off, you know, and then touch base again. And what it essentially did was
it allowed for a beautiful continuum to go on. You actually grew with each
ROLLIN: As is the tradition, the family was soon involved, and a meeting
with the young couple and Hala's parents was arranged.
Ms. DURRAH: My parents asked him questions, because in the Arab culture,
and even in the Muslim religion, it's really a family kind of marrying a
ROLLIN: What did you think when you looked at him?
Ms. DURRAH: Well, I actually had a picture of him prior to his coming.
He didn't know what I looked like, and he never asked.
ROLLIN (To Dr. Jaber): So what did you think?
Dr. JABER: When I first saw her in her veil, I first thought she looked
like an angel, she looked so beautiful.
ROLLIN: Esther and Shlomo Druckman of New York City have been married
just six months. Like Muslims, some Orthodox Jews also have strict dating
SHLOMO DRUCKMAN: You can't be in the room alone with a woman; there's no
physical contact until you are married, like you couldn't hold hands, you can't
give her a hug.
ROLLIN: The Druckmans, too, turned to the Internet, to a site for
observant Jews called Saw You at Sinai.com, which involves a matchmaker as
Mr. DRUCKMAN: I can't go and look at a woman's profile if she's not been
suggested to me. I get to make a profile, and I get to see which matchmaker
sees the profile. And then the matchmaker from there decides who else's profile
I can see.