When the editors at JDate approached me to be a weekly contributor for their online magazine, it was not to tell readers about my success in finding love online nor was it merely to dish out dating advice. As the founder of Single Edition, which focuses on all facets of single living, I was invited to offer a broader range of lifestyle tips and information that would appeal to JDate members.
What the editors did not know was that I am the daughter of parents who were saved by deportation, that I have an aunt and uncle who spent their honeymoon in a Russian prison cell and grandparents who were matched together not because of love, infatuation or looks but because they were two of the few who survived the war to make it back to their hometown alive.
Though I am not strictly religious, I perceive myself as the last of a generation and the first of a new one. At 24, I chose independence over matrimony and career over homemaking, spending the next ten years of my life searching for personal and professional success while keeping an eye out for Mr. Right. In 1997 when I joined JDate.com, I can safely claim that my profile was one of the first to be published.
My experiences are probably not much different than any of your own. In the ten years that ensued, there were ups and downs which had me questioning my faith and asking “If we are the chosen people, why were there so few of us from which to choose?”
Disappointment, concerns of getting older and the fruits of temptation led me to date outside the religion along the way. Somehow the connections I made were nice but never quite perfect, and ultimately I knew that mine could never be an interfaith love story.
People often complain to me about the size and quality of the Jewish selection pool – making hasty generalizations about the looks, attitudes and actions of the eligible candidates. Perhaps that explains the alarming rate at which intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews has increased since my parents arrived on these shores — in the 1950s it was less than 5 percent but grew to 47 percent between 1996 to 2001, according to the most recent figures available from the National Jewish Population Survey.
JDate offers more than just the promise of finding love – for me it brought me back to the community which I longed for, a connection to people who understood my present as well as my past and led me to my husband. Sure the numbers may be fewer and our people may come with plenty of shtick, but we cannot forget that we are fortunate to have choices which many before us never had.
Each one of us has a unique story. I just shared part of mine with you. When I launched Single Edition my goal was to help single individuals in all aspects of their daily lives. I hope the insights I share with you through JDate in coming weeks will help you make better choices and find the same happiness I did here.