“J-ated,” as in “jaded,” might be the best way to describe the ennui that has set
in among many JDaters these days, singles tired of the merry-go-round of endless
possibility and disappointment.
In spite of that, or because of it, new dating Web sites seem to pop up every day.
Remember that scene in the movie “Singles,” where the desperate woman asks the airline
to seat her next to a single man — and she ends aside an obnoxious 10-year-old?
Ostensibly that won’t happen on AirTroductions.com, which is not a Web site for
mile-high clubbers (if you don’t know, I can’t explain it here). Nor is it solely
for Jews. This outfit targets people who want to make business or personal connections
either on the flight, at the airport, or with other travelers in the same city.
If they find someone who matches your itinerary, you can pay $5 to contact that
person. (It might beat hearing, “Can you take off your belt, Miss?” from the security
For more personal intervention, try the new Jretromatch.com, which uses paid matchmakers
to set Jews up (that’s the retro part). The site, which launched Feb. 6, is based
on the successful SawYouAtSinai.com. (Get it? All Jewish souls were originally at
Mount Sinai, so it’s based on the pickup line, “Haven’t we met before? Didn’t I
see you at Sinai?”) SawYouAtSinai aims for traditional and religious Jews and has
a firm foothold in the Modern Orthodox market. It claims 14,000 members and 95 married
If you don’t want to leave your entire fate to the matchmaker, Jretromatch.com (and
its non-Jewish counterpart, retromatch.com) also will let you peruse the database
on your own. At $35.95 for a gold membership (which gets you six months plus two
“free bonus months”) it’s less than JDate for the same amount of time, although
with a much smaller membership (launching with 2,500 non-Orthodox culled from SawYouatSinai’s
lists). Still, Jretromatch promises that matchmakers will interview all members
and verify that they’re Jewish, something that JDate does not guarantee.
There are a handful of other Web sites aimed at religious and traditional Jews.
The main one is Frumster.com, which skews toward the more religious of the Orthodox
community (hence the word frum, which means “religious” in Yiddish), although now
it has opened up to all “marriage-minded” Jews, according to Ben Rabizadeh, CEO
of Frumster. The Web site claims 20,000 members and 542 couples (married or engaged)
and starts at $8.95 per month, but still seems aimed most at the very religious,
especially given that it requires users to specify levels of observance. You can
choose between Traditional and Non-Orthodox, Modern Orthodox-Machmir, Modern Orthodox-Liberal,
Yeshivish Modern, Yeshivish/Black Hat, Chasidic, Carlebachian, Shomer Mitzvot.
Other religious Web sites include UrbanTraditional.com (“putting traditional values
back into Jewish dating”), Orthodate (“Your Bashert could be just a click away”)
and Frumdate (“Our first priority is not simply to make a match but to help singles
draw closer to Hashem and find the best within themselves”).
In addition to religiosity, there are other niches in the Jewish online dating market.
Consider DarkJews.com — not a racist term, but a statement about skin tone for some
Sephardic Jews — a new Web site for Syrian, Persian, Bucharian, Moroccan, Israeli,
Egyptian, Yemenite, Spanish, and Turkish Jews. There’s even a category for half-Sephardic
and “other,” which defies easy understanding in this context. Another category is
“Come to America” where the choices are: Born, Toddler, Adolescent, Teenager, Adult
or I’m Not in America.
DarkJews.com is based on the myspace.com and friendster.com models, which allows
users to add their friends and their friends’ friends and is more of a social connector
than a straight dating Web site. Right now it’s free, and popular among Persian
Jews in California. Lumping all “dark Jews” together doesn’t work even for all dark
Jews, because many of Far and Middle Eastern origin prefer to date within their
own, more narrowly defined communities. Bjews.com, for example, for Bukharian Jews
(from Uzbekistan and Central Asia) includes a dating site.
The most retro thing of all, though, might be to leave the computer behind. “Just
let it happen naturally,” as your married friends will advise, putting aside the
problem that natural meetings often mean the UPS man (or woman) delivering your
Amazon.com orders and your neighbor asking you to turn your music down. Bar hopping
is equally random and can lead to options with less to offer than the hardworking
UPS delivery person.
If that leads you back to JDate, well, it does claim half a million members. And
JDate is throwing a party at The House of Blues on Sunset Boulevard on Feb. 13.