JDate: For Jews Only?

by Caryn Alper under JDate,Judaism

I’m willing to venture a guess that most of us are on JDate to find dates who are “J.” In other words, it’s probably important for most of us to meet other Jewish people to date and ultimately marry. I think this is a pretty reasonable goal and assumption; after all, that’s why JDate exists as a separate site from one of the big, all-encompassing options.  So imagine the dismay of someone (let’s call her Sarah) who meets a nice young man on a Jewish site (let’s call him Dan) who turns out to not be Jewish! And he didn’t have one Jewish parent or some distant Jewish relatives, or heck, even Jewish friends – he was not even familiar with Judaism.

It would be one thing if Dan had advertised his Christian status on the site and Sarah agreed to meet him with this knowledge, but he hadn’t. Plus, he even endorsed that he was conservative under the denomination category, which there was no reason to doubt.  When it gradually became clear to Sarah that Dan wasn’t Jewish, Sarah asked why Dan would be on a Jewish dating site. The answer? It was just another way to meet girls – he just didn’t understand that Jews on the site were looking to meet each other, and he hadn’t realized that his presence might be deceitful.

This scenario actually occurred, with names and details changed, of course.  And I can tell you that there was no malicious intent or hard feelings by either party involved – just disappointment, especially because the couple had been otherwise quite compatible.  But this got me thinking… how does one treat a non-Jew on JDate? Do people who say they are willing to convert or not at all Jewish have any success on the site? Does JDate have any responsibility in preventing the above situation?  I really have no answers here – just lots of questions!

I’ve always found it curious that “not willing to convert” and “not sure if I’m willing to convert” are profile options… there aren’t a ton of these profiles, but I’ve seen a few out there on the interwebs. If you happen to be reading this and you’re a non-Jew on JDate, please, enlighten me: I’m not judging – truly curious! And thank you for being upfront about your religious status. But what do you all think? If you are Jewish, have you met non-Jews on JDate? If you aren’t Jewish, are you actively seeking Jews?  In the meantime, you can find me on Christian Mingle.com.  Nothing like a [bad] joke to end a more serious post, right?


Ode to JMoms

by Caryn Alper under JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

Happy belated Mother’s Day to all you mamas out there. For the rest of you, the holiday just happened this past weekend, so I can’t remind you to get a gift. But, this is your cue to start planning for next year. Also, you might be wondering what mothers have to do with a dating blog. In case you forgot, this is a Jewish dating blog, so… everything! In fact, I know of two Jewish moms who actually created JDate profiles so they could shop for potential sons-in law. Seriously. Or at least to check out the local prospects and competition for their kids. (My mom is NOT one of them!) Letting your mom take the reins for a day or two: fun and potentially helpful. Giving her full control to search and send messages on your behalf? Not so much. So yeah, for better or for worse, moms have certainly earned their place in this column.

When it comes to moms and dating, my perspective is that of a single daughter with a married mom. But JDaters come from all family structures… some are single moms, some don’t have moms, and some are dating at the same time as their kids! (Does anyone know of a mother-daughter [or father-son] duo on here? So cute. I would love to feature them in a future column.) So as strange as it might sound to have your mom checking out the site to recommend pre-vetted profiles, imagine how it must feel to have your daughter (or grand-daughter!) do the same.

Would you let your mom write your profile on your behalf? On one hand, I’m sure it would be very glowing: “Little Davey is a brilliant, lovely young man with a heart of gold from a good family. He has a stable job and is confident and handsome.” On the other hand, no one knows your shortcomings quite like mama: “He is looking for a good woman to laugh at his poorly timed jokes and fold his laundry because his, on the rare occasion that he decides to wash it, is always stuffed into drawers with no order. He wasn’t raised to live like such a savage.”

When you marry someone, you marry the family. Similarly, if you’re dating someone, you might date the family too. And no matter how embarrassing or nosy or annoying your mom, your daughter, or anyone in the mishpacha might be, remember that they all want one thing in common: your happiness!


The Power of One

by Caryn Alper under JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

Because my first blog post was more of an introductory foray into JBlogging, I’ll use this one as my first “official” substantive post.  Enter: the obligatory New Year/new you/dating resolutions/fresh start motivational advice piece on how to snag a guy by simply being more positive, going to more events, and always looking your best.  If only it were that easy, right?  Instead, I offer to you a new mantra for the New Year: It only takes one. Dating is pretty much a numbers game, and I’ll talk about this more in a future post. But for now, I want to focus on the power of one.

According to my rigorous research (Google), online dating membership and activity peaks between January 1 and Valentine’s Day, and JDate is no exception.  This membership surge makes sense – people are resolving to look for love in the New Year, no one wants spend cold nights binge watching Netflix  alone, and maybe others were not-so-subtly gifted a JDate subscription from their mom for Hanukkah.  Whether you’re a long time online dater or new to the site, and whatever your reason for being here, take advantage of the post-holiday season because the numbers are currently in your favor!

So, how does this all tie together?  I’ll explain: With new members showing up in your search, it’s easy to scroll through new faces in pursuit of your perfect guy or girl. But this year, resolve to search for the person that is perfect for YOU, not perfect on paper, and not perfect for your friend.  Try something different this January – change one thing about your search criteria. It can be something as small as increasing your preferred age range by a couple years in either direction, or expanding your mileage, especially if you’re in a smaller city, or opening yourself up to a few more categories of religiosity.  I’m not asking you to buy a new wardrobe or dye your hair or even to revamp your profile for the New Year.  Just try out a more tailored, refined search in an effort to to increase the chances of finding your best match.

So what if expanding your age range or mileage gets you only one new match? Great! That’s another person in your personal numbers game, and who knows – he or she could be YOUR one. Remember, there might be hundreds of new people joining JDate, but for your purposes, it only takes one!


Meet Caryn: JDate’s Newest Blogger

by Caryn Alper under JBloggers,JDate,Online Dating

Greetings from the Midwest! I’m Caryn, and I’m here to show you that the good, the bad, and the strange of JDating occurs everywhere, including here in St. Louis, known to many of you as flyover country.  I’m absolutely delighted to be reporting to you live from behind my computer, and I look forward to sharing with you some insights, stories, observations, and advice that stems from my (uh… I mean my friend’s) experience with JDate.  While I’m not a professional dating coach, I’ve learned a thing or two about dating and relationships over the years, and my natural tendency to overanalyze, coupled with my love for writing, has translated into this awesome blogging gig.

Caryn

Meet Caryn!

Because this is my first post, I thought I’d start with a brief introduction of who I am and my brand of writing.  Professionally, I work at a large private university (hint: it’s NOT in D.C.) coordinating research in the psychiatry department. People tend to think this means I wear a lab coat and perform lobotomies or something, but really, it’s a desk job where I can use my background in psychology and counseling. On the home front, I am a proud daughter and big sister, and I’m super close with my family. Judaism is also quite important to me, as is perpetuating future generations of Jews, which is one reason why I’m so excited to help people find success on JDate.

In terms of my preferred dating blog topics, I’d say anything goes. In my little corner of the Internet, you might find assorted observations, true stories, advice, lists and charts, and posed questions, likely with a psychological spin and served with a little satire. You hopefully won’t find clichés, misplaced modifiers, the real names of people involved in embarrassing stories, or signed confessions. This content is subject to change, though, as I’d like to see this blog become an interactive discussion with readers.

Brief disclaimer: I know not everyone in the audience is a single 31-year-old girl, so I’ll try my best to generalize my posts to fit a larger audience. However, because I don’t know what it’s like to date as a 56-year-old divorced man, or 44-year-old single mom, I welcome and value your input! Please add to the discussion by commenting below or sending me a direct message.

Finally, I can’t guarantee that everyone reading my blog will go on three JDates this month, will become exclusive with one of them in a couple months, and will be engaged within a year. But, it’s my hope that you might learn something new, consider something in a different way, or if nothing else, be mildly entertained.


Change Your Profile Picture NOW!

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

Perusing JDate yesterday for a newly single girlfriend, I searched for profile pictures of men who fit my preferences for her (rather than her narrow preferences for herself, I was trying to see if there was anyone who hadn’t made her cut but was still a great prospect), except, honestly, there was nothing to see! Why? Because I couldn’t actually SEE what any of the men looked like!

One profile after another showed a man from far away, or wearing sunglasses, or wearing a hat, or sharing the space with another person (or featuring an awkward cropping out of another person), or not looking at the camera, or it wasn’t a clear photo, or the person was doing an activity, or (and this may be the worst) it was a selfie! When someone’s corporate headshot is the best photo of the bunch, then we have problems.

Your main profile photo needs to show YOU… and only YOU. This means the top of your shoulders to the top of your head with your handsome, smiling, eyes open, bright face filling the box. Have a friend take photos of you in a relaxed position when you’re in a great mood and carry on a conversation that will make you smile naturally and then snap away. Make sure the photos are in focus, with good lighting, and do not add a filter.

I clicked on very few profiles due to the terrible first impressions. One time I liked a guy’s statistics for my friend, and even though he had a bad profile photo, I clicked out of curiosity and found a great looking guy! But not everyone clicks on every profile or reads the stats first. That is not superficial, it’s the reality of online dating. You need to catch someone’s eye, and quickly, which means you need to have an awesome profile photo (and a unique profile name and eloquent, witty About Me paragraph)!

Read more about creating an effective JDate profile in “How to Woo a Jew: The Modern Jewish Guide to Dating and Mating” in bookstores and online now!


Freedom of Religion

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Judaism,Relationships,Single Life

No, this isn’t going to be a political post, don’t worry.

My friend has been dating a guy she met on JDate for a few months now. His profile stated that he is a Conservative Jew. She leans more towards the “Reform/Traditional” stream, but isn’t opposed to dating someone who is a bit more “Jew-ish” as she is understanding, respectful and has an open mind. Until this guy who – since they began dating – started keeping Shabbat, walking to an orthodox temple on Saturday mornings, turning off his phone, and keeping kosher both in and out of the home. Clearly he is becoming more religious, but he is also continuing to date someone who is on the other side of the spectrum.

I’ve often met couples where one was already more observant than the other — they came together knowingly — and they chose to either become more observant or less so as a couple. But to suddenly become more observant while in the relationship is a different situation. My friend is just sitting idly by as her boyfriend becomes more and more religious. What is she to do? Nothing yet, if she likes him, except wait and see what happens. This could be an experimental phase, or he could go all the way frum. In doing so, he risks losing her, but he needs to follow his spiritual heart and not sacrifice being the Jew he wants to be because of a woman he’s been dating a few months.


JNF/JDate Singles Trip to Israel – Day 3

by Mark Feuer under Israel,JDate,Judaism,Single Life

New JBlogger Mark Feuer is joining several Jewish singles on an unforgettable singles trip to Israel! Mark will be sharing all about the sights, sounds, flavors and spirit of Israel on his unique and unforgettable journey! Here’s a little snippet from day 3:

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Day 2

The day began with getting up and using the gym at the facilities at the Dan Carmel Haifa Hotel. I really have to say, JNF/JDate set us up at a great hotel.

Pic1

View from overlook near the hotel

After a quick shower and change, I met the rest of my tripmates for breakfast, which was typical Israeli fare. We spent the meal discussing the previous day’s events. We were glad that we had not heard a single Red Alert since the tour started. We were very lucky in that regard, but we know that our tour leadership would not knowingly put us in any danger.

Group Pic

Group photo

First Stop – Atlit Displaced Persons Camp – South of Haifa

Today we visited what was once a displaced persons camp where the British detained Jewish people trying to enter the land of Israel while it was under the British Mandate in the 1930’s and 1940’s. We went through the processing center, the barracks, and a replica of the type of ship used to transport Jewish people into the land. It was a powerful experience.

Pic2

Sleeping area at Atlit Displaced Persons Camp

Second Stop – En Nof Artists Colony

The next stop was the En Nof Artist Colony. We met with several artists, saw some beautiful artwork, and enjoyed some homemade ice cream to help cool down in the heat!

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Some of the great artwork we saw

Third Stop – Tishbi Winery

After the Artists Colony we were off to the Tishbi Winery for lunch and a wine tasting. Lunch was simply fantastic. Just when we thought that they were done serving us they kept bringing more and more food. Gnocchi, Ravioli, Pizza, Salads of all types and the wine kept flowing too. They took us on a tour of the winery after lunch.

Wine and chocolate tasting

Wine and chocolate tasting

Last Stop: Baha’i Gardens

We were heading back to the hotel but one last stop, literally behind our hotel was the Baha’i Gardens.

Baha'i Gardens

Baha’i Gardens

Bastille Day!

Today was Bastille Day, so there was a great block party down in the German Colony. Everyone there was having a great time, with live music and drinking. Security was high, but non-obtrusive. It was exactly the thing people needed to decompress from the tensions of the past week. The conflict of the past week was on everyone’s minds and this was a great way to blow off steam. When people found out that we came from the states they were always very appreciative for our support in coming.

Bastille Day Block Party

Bastille Day Block Party


Everyone and No One and Anyone

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

If everyone is on JDate then how come people complain to me “there’s no one on JDate!” Or, why do they lament about being unable to find anyone on JDate!? The people who make these statements and ask these questions run the gamut, from males to females, old and young, straight and gay, short and tall, and so on.

My answer is always simple: they’re out there, you’re just not looking hard enough. Typically people fall into two categories: they either tend to have their preferences set too narrowly and therefore don’t have a large pool of prospects to choose from and get frustrated by the lack of options — or they have their preferences set way too broadly and have far too many prospects to scroll through, and then get overwhelmed until everyone’s profiles begin to blend together.

In my book, “How to Woo a Jew: The Modern Jewish Guide to Dating and Mating,” I recommend beginning with the former and setting your preferences to your absolute “perfect” idea of a match, and then broadening your options slowly from there. That will allow you time to see who’s out there and what one year of age, or one inch, or one level of education translates to in regards to the number of prospects you find. This will help you easily determine who is new to your search results in a slow and deliberate manner.

Here’s an example from one of my female clients, “Jamie,” age 34, of her ideal match:

  • woman seeking a man
  • age 34-39
  • located within 25 miles of her city
  • marital status: single
  • religion: reform, traditional, culturally Jewish, conservative
  • ethnicity: any
  • smoking: no
  • drinking: socially, on occasion
  • height: 6’0-6’6
  • body style: athletic
  • education: bachelor’s, master’s, JD/PhD
  • kosher: not at all
  • temple: on high holidays, sometimes
  • has kids: no
  • plans on having children: yes
  • custody: any
  • activity level: very active, active, selected activities
  • languages: english
  • willing to relocate: no

After I tweaked Jamie’s profile, we slowly adjusted one category at a time until she had a good number of options without compromising on her preferences too much. With age and height, we adjusted one year and one inch, respectively, at a time. This is how it looks now:

  • woman seeking a man
  • age 33-41
  • located within 50 miles of her city
  • marital status: single, divorced,
  • religion: reform, traditional, culturally Jewish, conservative
  • ethnicity: any
  • smoking: no
  • drinking: socially, on occasion
  • height: 5’10-6’9
  • body style: athletic, lean, firm, muscular, average, proportional
  • education: bachelor’s, master’s, JD/PhD
  • kosher: not at all
  • temple: on high holidays, sometimes
  • has kids: no
  • plans on having children: yes
  • custody: any
  • activity level: very active, active, selected activities
  • languages: english
  • willing to relocate: no

Jamie went from having about 60 prospects, many of which she knew already, to having more than 200 prospects, many of which she had never seen before. Put a little elbow grease into your profile and preferences, and your prospects will increase in quality and quantity!


Q & A — About Me

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Online Dating

How do you answer JDate’s questions without sounding repetitive, cheesy, fake or boring? Let me help you craft personal and enticing answers to both the basic and intimate questions.

  • “About Me”

I saved the best — and most important — for last. And I did so for a reason. By now you should have many, if not most of the other questions, out of the way. You have therefore eliminated the need to repeat the same answers in your “About Me” paragraph, making this section waaaaaay too long. You can always write “I love traveling… see below for The Coolest Places I’ve Visited,” but you don’t need to write “Contact me if you are interested in learning more” because you hopefully included that line under “You Should Definitely Message Me If…”

Your “About Me” should start with a basic introduction: “Hi, my name is Tamar and I’m a 33-year-old writer currently living in…” Use your first name only, don’t give too much detail regarding your exact job or specific neighborhood (for safety’s sake), and then continue:

“I’ve been told that I’m (fill in the blank)… and I agree that (fill in the blank)… I’m also a very loyal friend. I’m forgiving to a fault and I’m generous with my time and my heart.”

Include a few simple descriptions of your character and then follow with a few simple descriptions of what kind of person you’re looking for: “I’m looking for someone with strong Jewish morals and values, someone who is looking to have FUN being in love and to LAUGH a lot!”

You can give some more interesting details about yourself which aren’t addressed in other parts of the profile but don’t start a laundry list of things or go off on tangents. “About Me” should be about one paragraph (5 sentences), maybe two at most. Leave information to be shared on a first date since you’ve already revealed so much info as it is. Most first date questions have already been answered via the profile questions so if you reveal much more than you’re going into a first date feeling like you know each other more like a third date except you’ve never met! Slow your roll.

Let a trusted friend or family member read through the “About Me” answer to ensure that your personality comes through. If you’re a comedian then your shpiel should be funny just make sure it’s not coming across like you think JDate is a joke. If you’re serious then that should be the tone, just make sure your shpiel isn’t dull and boring.

This shouldn’t be your work bio, nor should it be too boastful. Have fun, but take this assignment seriously because it is.

 


Mothers, Mensches, and Manliness: The Aaron Stayman Blog

by Aaron under JBloggers,JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

About twenty-four hours before being told I was going to be blogging for JDate, I was sitting with my new classmates from business school. They were sitting on their LinkedIn accounts, building networks and uploading resumes. What was I doing? I was sitting on the “currently online” section of JDate and mass viewing profiles.

My name is Aaron Stayman and I am a mass JDater in Dallas, a city without much of a young JDatabase (I wish I could promise that is the worst pun you will see in this column, but I do intend to be a Jewish dad one day). I spend a lot of time on JDate and going out on dates, and even more time thinking about dating. It’s something I enjoy so much, I’ve written and changed friends’ profiles, given Jewish males in my area makeovers, and have referenced books for friends to read to help them get better at the extremely niche game of Jewish online dating.

I’m 23 years old, but like many of you I’m looking to find someone for a serious relationship, even if marriage isn’t in my sights for a little while. One thing I’ve really enjoyed on JDate is long-distance dating. That’s been my niche, and I have plenty of fun stories on that front (especially involving my mother and the lengths she attempted to go to when I went to Arkansas to meet a girl from JDate after Skyping for months, or when she tried to follow me through Central Park on a date during our latest trip to the Big Apple), but those will have to wait until we’ve gotten to know each other a bit better.

The good news for everyone out there, male or female, is that I’m trying to make my time on JDate better every day, as well as everyone else’s time. I have helped guys become cooler versions of themselves — as well as helped them to understand how to bring out the naturally cool people they are. I’ve also made girls laugh and even given tips to female friends about things they can do to improve their dating. I’m no pro, and my advice may even be wrong from time to time (everyone is unique on this site, after all), but I look forward to sharing my random thoughts with you and hope you’ll enjoy the journey we’re about to share together as well!