Are Yentas In The Past Or Are Jews Turning To Dating Apps?


Is Yenta matchmaking a thing of the past with single Jews? Are more Jewish singles turning to apps?

Is Yenta matchmaking a thing of the past with single Jews? Are more Jewish singles turning to Jewish dating apps including JSwipe, JCrush and JBolt instead to find their bashert?  Has the new world of dating and the proliferation of online dating apps changed the roles of Yenta’s setting up prospective marriage-minded daters?

According to a 2013 study there is an estimated 6.8 million Jews in the U.S. but a growing proportion of them are unlikely to raise their children Jewish or connect with Jewish institutions. this is partially due to the fact that the intermarriage rate is at 58 percent, up from 43 percent in 1990 and 17 percent in 1970, while among non-Orthodox Jews, the intermarriage rate is as high as 71 percent.

Naomi Schaefer Riley probed why the Jewish intermarriage rate is actually higher than any other religion in her recent book Til Faith Do Us Part: How Interfaith Marriage is Transforming America. Her findings show that Jews tend to get married older than Americans generally and the older people get, the more likely they are to intermarry. Riley also cites the work of sociologists Robert Putnam and David Campbell that America, for the most part, loves its Jews, but that, “doesn’t mean that anti-Semitism is over, but there’s much more philo-Semitism than anti-Semitism in America” says Paul Golin, the associate executive director of the Jewish Outreach Institute.

So where can single Jews turn to keep the Jewish bloodlines alive? There are synagogue events, community events, young professional events, etc. but how else can single Jews meet?

One option, Jewish dating apps.

Dating apps give users the power to choose who they are attracted to but there is no guarantee of reciprocation nor chemistry. They give you the opportunity, for free, to manage your dating profile in ways that are harder in real life, from choosing which photos to use and what information to display about yourself. They also give people the opportunity to message with each other before they meet in person, breaking the initial awkwardness of the ‘pick-up’, as well as giving shy people a chance to meet more people than they might otherwise. You can browse and chat to as many people as you want, which is helpful as it broadens your dating opportunities, but they are definitely time-consuming. One of the main detractors of dating apps is that many people use dating apps for hook-ups and not for looking for long-term relationships, which was highlighted in a recent Vanity Fair article Tinder and the Dawn of the “Dating Apocalypse”.

David Yarus @DavidYarus, Founder of JSwipe @JSwipe and mllnnl @mllnnl, believes that. “in the age of technology, millennials are given a plethora of tools to make their life as easy and efficient as possible” and that they should use them to their advantage. Sonya Kreizman, Co-founder and COO of JCrush @JcrushApp which launched in January of 2014, notes that mobile devices have become an “indispensable part of our lives” and as such has enhanced our dating lives. Similar to JCrush and JSwipe, JBolt gives users the independence and smartphone compatibility they crave, “while simultaneously maintaining the focus on forging long term relationships,” says Marc Goldmann, Founder of JBolt and creator of popular Jewish dating website SawYouAtSinai @SawYouAtSinai.

These apps make it easier to meet Jewish singles that you normally wouldn’t meet on a daily basis through work, friends or family. They allow singles the freedom to choose the singles they are interested in simply by swiping and starting a conversation. JSwipe, JCrush and JBolt give you a plethora of options at your fingertips to help you get closer to find the one.

But what if you are looking for a more personalized approach to dating? Second option, matchmaking.

No it’s not the matchmaking like in Fiddler on the Roof (Matchmaker Matchmaker Make me a Match) but for a fee, from hundreds to thousands to tens of thousands, matchmakers lay down the red carpet for singles looking to find their special someone. Their clients are driven, successful, passionate and want to meet similar quality women who will share their values and lifestyle, without the headache of spending hours on dating apps or picking up women at bars, parties, etc. “Online dating/apps may provide the endless opportunity to meet numerous people, but many of my clients get burnt out by the task and also because they aren't forging those deep relationships or finding true love,” says Judith Gottesman, MSW, a Matchmaker and Dating Coach, for Jewish singles of all ages, on the West Coast and Beyond, at Soul Mates Unlimited®. Similar to Gottesman, Jenny Appelbaum, Founder of Jenny Apple Matchmaking @JennyAppleMatch, says that most of her clients come to her after, “experiencing the frustrating and time-consuming aspects of online dating.”

That’s where a matchmaker comes in. “We provide the human component because when it comes to matters of the heart, people want a personal touch, and you can't get more personal than love,” says Gottesman. Some singles don’t want to spend the time wading through other non-serious daters, they would rather spend the money to have a matchmaker do that for them! Applebaum continues, “many young Jews today recognize that the specialty service of having a matchmaker who spends the time screening men or women [depending on the client], listens to your needs and thoughts, and is also able to provide realistic feedback and guide the process of dating is extremely valuable.” Furthermore unlike dating apps, there is public profile, everything is private. Your matchmaker is your dating liaison affording you the easiest path to marital bliss.

There are pros and cons of each and it really comes down to what each dater wants. Do you want a free option that may take more time or a paid option that narrows down your search? Do you have the time to spend using apps or want someone to do all the work for you?

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Either way, single Jews (and their nagging Jewish mothers) should not be worried about the increase of intermarriage, as their are a multitude of options out there...

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