Kosher Kitchen Two Of Everything. Dating in the Jewish world is one of the most painful experiences anyone can have. One only has to think of New York Yentas talking with the Nanny’s voice saying something along the lines of “Your daughter isn’t good enough for my son because she doesn’t keep a kosher kitchen. Plus she’s not thin enough. My son is too good for a blob” to get an idea of what Jewish singles go through. It gets better though. Traditionally, there wasn’t even a concept of dating, just matchmaking.
What happened in the past was that a matchmaker who knew everything about all of the singles in a given town, hamlet or city, would pair off couples with their parents’ consent. Sometimes it happened that two families decided to pair off their children. Regardless, after a potential couple was found, the two were introduced and basically given a very short period of time to figure out if they liked each other. If they did, then an engagement and wedding happened soon after. If not, then the matchmaker or parents would have to find someone else for their child. You can now understand why Jewish grandparents seem to always be at each other’s throats, especially if they came from Europe.
After WWII, there was a tendency, especially in the US, for singles to either use the matchmaker system or date on their own by meeting spouses through friends. The second was the normal situation in the non-Orthodox circles and the former continued to be the standard in Orthodox circles. Apparently neither system worked well because at some point in the late 1990s, a website called JDate suddenly appeared on the internet.
JDate’s origins are kind of shady and pretty much unknown. Apparently it was the brainchild of two Israelis, presumably to match up people who were tired of being set up with the same people repeatedly as well as those who pretty much were not going to meet anyone in their hometown because of a total lack of Jews. Its official founding date is in 1997, but no one really knows when. JDate is apparently fairly successful as it has led to thousands of Jews meeting their spouses. In addition, JDate is also responsible for the rise of numerous other Jewish dating websites such as Frumster and Saw You At Sinai (which is basically traditional matchmaking done online).
Although JDate is successful, a lot of people still do not like it because it is still considered creepy to meet someone online and then date them afterward. In addition, there is the claim that JDate does not make sure members who get hitched actually delete their accounts so that there are people who have been married still appearing as single. It’s easy to see why this is annoying. Imagine you find the perfect person you’ve been looking and then you find out they have been married for 5 years, happily and have 1 child with one more on the way. Ouch. In addition, apparently in an attempt to be more politically correct, JDate started allowing non-Jews to sign up. This kind of defeats the purpose of the website, which is supposedly to preserve Jewish tradition for the next generation, since if the Jewish man meets a non-Jewish woman through the website and married her, their children aren’t going to be Jewish and thus the tradition kind of dies out with the man.
Shalom Goldfarb is the editor of World of Judaica’s Oy Vey Blog, and is the author or their Judaica and Judaism learning center. The site offers a variety of high quality Judaica items such as prayer shawls, tefillin sets and much more
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