Jdate: Jewish Dating Review (Updated 2017)
Nu? What's A Jew Got to Do to Get A Date Around Here?
Back in our parent's and grandparent's day, young people either dated someone they knew from the neighborhood, or they were set up on a blind date. If you were from an old-school Jewish family, they may have even engaged the services of a Yenta--a matchmaker. These days, modern Jews have the technological tools of online dating to specify their preferences, and many of our tribe have flocked to Jdate to find their match.
Get your tush on JDate!
Jdate, which has grown monumentally since it's inception in 1997, was later acquired by niche-dating focused Spark Networks, and currently boasts membership of more than 450,000 active members worldwide, with half in the United States. Like all online dating websites, Jdate merges the number of free members (who have very limited ability to actually do anything on the site) and inactive members with their paid subscribers, making it impossible to determine how many truly active members there are. Regardless, JDate fills a niche for Jewish singles hoping to find their "באַשערט" beshert (one's destiny or soul-mate) online.
You'll Come, You'll Look, You'll Consider...
To catch a look at JDate's site, you'll first need to register as a free member. As a free member, the only communication you are permitted is by sending a "flirt", or a "click", indicating you think you'd click. The only advantage to a free membership is the ability to browse, and to see what's what. One of our newly single friends, Anna, in the Bay area did just that, until she became more comfortable with the whole online dating thing. This can be a great way to dip your toes in the water and see if Jdate is a good fit for you, and to see how many members are in your general geographical location. Unfortunately, since free members can't actually communicate within the site, you won't necessarily be able to tell if someone is an active and paid member, or simply a lookie-lou until you upgrade to a paid membership.
The Jdate Dating Profile
Categories are tabbed with the labels, "In my own words", "Likes and Interests", "Kibitz" and "Compatibility". A personality quiz results in a color coding on your profile pic, signaling to suitors that you may possess complementary personality traits.
Like most other dating sites, there are also "About Me" factoids to complete at will, including a mandatory indication of your level of religious observance, ranging from culturally Jewish to extremely observant. When members are not Jewish, they are asked to indicate whether or not they would consider conversion to Judaism (more on this phenomenon below).
Features available on Jdate
- Chat function (IM) and Email
- Live indicator of number of Jdate members online
- Interface in Hebrew, English and French
- Upload up to 12 photos
- Hit the "Click" button on a members photo/profile if you think you would indeed click. The member won't know unless you mutually "click", when you'll both get an alert indicating mutual interest.
- Real-life community meet-ups, such as speed dating, travel adventures, and events such as cocktail parties, theater and dining.
- Jdate "Blog" called JLife, which is devoted to Jewish culture, kind of like a Jewish magazine. It incorporates topics and sub-sections like Food/Drink, holidays, Dating advice, and special events. We enjoyed browsing, but it could use some updating.
So? You'll Sign Up Already? The Cost?
Jdate frequently offers discounts and promotions (Such a bargain, Bubalah!) for holidays or changes of season. For example, at the time of this updated review, Jdate is offering a holiday rate of 30% off of upgraded membership prices. Below are the regularly priced subscription options.
Subscriptions, without promotions, including tax, range from:
- A single month for $39.99
- 3 months for $33.33 per month (one payment of $99.99)
- 6 months for $24.99 per month (one payment of $149.94)
- 6 months PREMIUM plan, for $31.99 per month (one payment of $191.94)
Looking for Mr. Bernstein: The Gentiles Seeking Jew Phenomenon
Why would a shiksa or shegetz (non-Jewish woman or man) sign up on a Jewish dating website? This odd dynamic is common enough that JDate responded to complaints and concerns by creating a category in the mandatory religion drop-down menu titled, "I'd be willing to convert". Even with this caveat, don't expect the majority of subscribers to be okay with this, however. Most view the non-Jewish members with raised eyebrows or annoyance. Some Jews, however, who consider themselves mainly culturally Jewish, but non-practicing, don't seem to mind too much, but Mollie, 29, from Dix Hills, NY, wrote us to complain:
"If I wanted to date a gentile, I'd have stayed on Match or eHarmony. I'm looking for a Jewish husband to start a family with, and I get these guys IM'ing me telling me how much they like Jewish girls. One guy said that he grew up in a predominantly Jewish area, was friends with many Jews, and has always been attracted to Jewish girls. He didn't understand why I was was shocked to find non-Jews on Jdate".
Daniel, 37, from Bellevue, WA, commented:
"I was completely taken off guard when a woman emailed me, and didn't tell me right off the bat that she wasn't Jewish! I noticed she had checked off the "willing to convert" box on her profile, which was the only way I knew. When I called her on it, she acted like it was no big deal, and that she was seeking a Jewish guy because her last boyfriend was Jewish, and he had great family values, and was super bright. I'm not interested in investing all this time and money on Jdate only to end up dating a non-Jew."
Regardless of your religious commitment to Judaism, if you're Jewish, this is a great site to meet other Jews. On Jdate, we found a range from secular Jews, who consider themselves mainly culturally or ethnically Jewish, to Modern Orthodox Jews, who attend synagogue, and observe the laws of Kashrut. Either way, and whatever your comfort level with your Jewish identity, Jdate is certainly a dating site which you'll want to consider. We generally advise our readers to join one paid membership site, and one free dating site, such as OkCupid.
- Largest and most popular Jewish niche-specific dating site
- Daily match feature
- ratio of male/female members appears to be fairly equal
- Down-to-earth informal style
- High fun factor
- Lifestyle Blog is diverse, interesting, and well-written
- Cost is somewhat higher than competing dating sites
- Mostly coastal membership population concentration
- Free membership does not let you communicate and can be frustrating
- Refund policy can be tricky, based on reader feedback
- Smaller membership base than non-niche sites
Check out some creative advice for your dating profile here