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Just look at how many people seeking dates or mates are flocking to matchmaking sites and apps.

According to a 2015 study by the Pew Research Center, 15 percent of American adults have used online dating sites (web-based platforms like Match.com) and/or dating apps (location-based smartphone apps like Tinder).

They gave online dating sites the lowest satisfaction scores Consumer Reports has ever seen for services rendered—lower even than for tech-support providers, notoriously poor performers in our ratings. Well, finding a mate can be arduous and exhausting.

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 ad. And what it essentially did was it allowed for a beautiful continuum to go on. ROLLIN: As is the tradition, the family was soon involved, and a meeting with the young couple and Hala's parents was arranged. 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 family. He didn't know what I looked like, and he never asked. Like Muslims, some Orthodox Jews also have strict dating restrictions. ROLLIN: Adeeb, who is a doctor, also submitted a profile to 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 God. DURRAH: I had loved everything he said except for the age. 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. The more recently active group rated specific sites. On the one hand, the numbers indicate that these sites are helping people find mates.A whopping 44 percent of respondents who tried online dating said the experience led to a serious long-term relationship or marriage.At the time when I saw his profile, there would have been a 10-year age difference. ROLLIN: But after several weeks, Hala had second thoughts. DURRAH: I saw his profile, and something in my head just kept telling me, "Respond! 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 well. 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.

" So I decided to try it, and I went on a Web site called JABER: When I first saw her in her veil, I first thought she looked like an angel, she looked so beautiful. I hadn't even met her or seen her picture -- she didn't have a picture on the Web site. DRUCKMAN: The matchmaker called me; she told me that she had a suggestion for me, and she read the profile over the phone. For RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY, I'm Betty Rollin.

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. ROLLIN: And so they began to get to know each other via e-mail. JABER: With the Internet, you can just log on, see where we last left off, you know, and then touch base again. DURRAH: Well, I actually had a picture of him prior to his coming. ROLLIN: Esther and Shlomo Druckman of New York City have been married just six months.

“It’s a product of the growing normalcy of using social media apps,” says Moira Weigel, author of “Labor of Love: The Invention of Online Dating” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2016).

“Our real-life and online identities are more and more interwoven.” Because of this cultural shift, online dating sites now have unprecedented reach into our lives. Reams have been written about online dating, but as far as we know, no one has put the sites to the test.

But as we explored the possibility of taking on this investigation, we discovered that 20 percent of our subscribers are either divorced or have never married, and might benefit from what we found.