[Hey, where have I heard about this before? Wasn't there a site specifically for gay Jews? I believe it was called QJew, and founder Justin offered me an exclusive for my column...maybe I should revisit that. Hey Justin, if you're reading this, tell me why QJew is better than JDate for finding a same-sex bashert...] Seth Kamen of Bethesda, Md., watched his best friend meet her fiancee through JDate, and said he hopes to meet a Jewish guy through the service as well. “Judaism is a large part of my life,” said Kamen, 28. “I want somebody who can share that with me.” Beyond celebrating holidays, Kamen said he’s looking for someone with whom to raise Jewish children. Indeed, with more gay men considering adoption and child rearing, the issue of finding a mate of the same religion has taken on added significance. “Anything that can bring together two Jewish parents, whatever sex they are, is an important thing to do,” Kamen said. I hope Seth finds his bashert. But in case he doesn't, and instead becomes as frustrated as we searchers of the hetero-Judaic persuasion, JDaters Anonymous is here to catch him in a community of the likeminded. Because whether you're a breeder or a big old queen, frustration with online dating unites us all.
The popular Jewish online dating site expanded its search capabilities this month to allow gay men and lesbians to seek matches. The Web site, which is popular among Jews of all ages, now asks people for their gender and the gender they’re searching, allowing men to search for men and women to search for women.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Monday, November 28, 2005
After I asked if I could reprint her comments here, she agreed and added the following about her experience.
I recently got my nerve to take the plunge and start to date via an internet service, a Frum site. And boy my experiences, and opinions can fill pages of the Jewish Week! First off by email and telephone conversations- I have been lied to over and over. About if the guys have kids/ I am divorced single mom who wants only a guy who has been married with kids. So I have had guys lie to me that they did not have kids, but they did. I had guys lie about why they are divorced, ask me out after a few months of being either divorced, or widowered. I had been emailed by guys who were in their 20s... I am Baruch Hashem 40 and I don’t date guys younger than 2 years younger than me. I have been emailed by guys who are 65+. I am Modern Orthodox- I have been emailed by Chasidim.
I have no confidence of finding my BASHERT FROM THIS TYPE OF DATING. I DID try this in the winter and spring of 2005/ and I had a few dates- but no one worthy of being a Bashert. I came close twice but the long distance relationship/ and relocation issues would not work for me. I feel that it is easy to make quick rejections of shidduch prospects when things don't fit right. I have been the dumper as well as the dumpee and the guilt on this is tremendous!
I am so glad that I am not alone in feeling this way- I originally thought it had to do with my baggage of my divorce, and my recent broken engagement- that all these wounds prevented me from finding my Bashert through that internet dating! That is what I have been told by the few lucky ones who found their spouses on these sites. But I have an acquaintance who found her husband on one site and she had a lot of baggage from her divorce- worse than me/ and had more kids, and years married at the time of her sudden divorce- so I thought if she had Mazel why not me? But the internet dating is not cracked up to what it advertises. I have weeded out the garbage excuse my directness on this- and I do it via the emails and telephone- I don't even chance the date at all lately--if something does not feel right, I side on caution and avoid the date like a plague!And now, the audience interaction portion of our program... Some might say she's right to be cautious. Others may call her overly picky. What do you think?
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Back in the day, dating online was something no one talked about. Relying on the computer to generate a list of potential dates seemed to indicate a certain desperation, social ineptitude or level of geekdom, and the social stigma was overwhelming. We also had a respectful fear of the Internet; we established emergency check-in procedures, in case the nice quiet Jewish boy without a context turned out to be one of those people who would later be described by neighbors on the local news, as a “quiet, private person who kept to himself — we never imagined he was a cannibal.” Then, slowly, the grudging, sub-audible admissions began. “Well, for the last X [amount of time], I’ve kinda … been … on JDate.” You confessed it softly, in case the music suddenly stopped, yielding to your voice trumpeting truth against a pristinely silent background. Since then, online dating is assumed. We peruse disembodied profiles, no longer fearful of our potential dismemberment, although there is always the possibility of dis-rememberment (“Did I say I’d call her? Which Rachel is that?”) We understand the reality — if you’re really looking, you have to be in many places at once. Attending singles events is a good start, but how many can one person attend in a given week? Online, you can ogle and reject (or even initiate contact with) many eligible singles from the comfort of your own home. Plus, the experience itself becomes an unintentional bonding point: “That guy contacted you, too? I can’t believe he wrote us the same letter.” (Want more proof? Google “I hate JDate” for about 42,600 results.)Want more? Read the rest of the article here.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Monday, November 21, 2005
But on the other hand, we’ve lost our fear of online dating, throwing life out of balance. As Ian Malcolm, the fictional chaos theorist in Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, might have said, we didn’t earn the power to disrespect the system—we were not vigilant about maintaining a healthy respect of and fear for the interface. And because we were that arrogant life--or, in this case, online dating sites--"will find a way."There's probably some machine conspiracy theory a la Matrix in there as well ("we know it was they who scorched the skies...") -- what can I say? I don't have HBO, so I watch a lot of Bravo and TBS/TNT/USA. The whole, hopefully much more coherent article, to come Wednesday, as usual.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Monday, November 14, 2005
But last night's story is the absolute worst. A friend was telling me about a friend of hers (who I have met several times) who recently got dressed up, put on make-up, did her hair, and had someone take a very nice picture of her. She posted this photo on SYAS and received an incredibly rude e-mail, completely unsolicited, from a shadchan on the site. This e-mails subject line itself was "EW." The e-mail consisted of berating and ridiculing remarks regarding this woman's picture. Name-calling was even resorted to. The woman who received this e-mail was in tears after reading it. This is the worst e-mail I have heard of, but not the only one. Who on earth gave the shadchanim the idea that it is okay to treat anyone in such a manner? Who taught these supposedly frum individuals that it is under the guise of Torah to give unsolicited criticism in a mean and cruel manner? What on earth was this woman thinking in writing such an e-mail? Just because a person is single entitles no one, not even a shadchan who is "helping" that single, to be rude and cruel. I know many shadchanim received less than grateful responses from singles, and that is absolutely not justifiable either. But calling names and breaking down the self-esteem of women, for no reason that I can fathom, is ridiculously disgusting.She's right, no question. I've heard decent things about SYAS and about its leadership, so I'm going to assume that this one person is an aberration. An unforgivable aberration, but still not the norm. The worst thing I can say about SYAS is that for me it was ineffective, not further damaging to my self-esteem. She continues:
I haven't done the research and therefore may be speaking out of turn (or out of my, well, you know), but I feel comfortable saying that men don't get these sorts of emails. Like it or not, there's a huge imbalance in the way women and men are treated by traditional Judaism, and the imbalance is also clear when it comes to the value of a single Jewish man as opposed to the value of a single Jewish woman. It's no secret from anyone who reads my column or this blog that one of my central issues with the Orthodox movement is the way it treats singles, especially single women in their thirties and "Godforbidforties": as "a crisis," thinking that if the community puts enough pressure on singles, they'll marry and do their due to the Jewish people by procreating. Never mind that some people, for whatever reason, may not WANT children...Or that most singles aren't just sitting around twiddling their thumbs, waiting for Mr. or Ms. Right to knock at their doors. There are those who say we're being too picky. And then there are others who say that dealing with the nightmare of dating in the (let's just say) traditional Jewish world -- as evidenced by creepy guys at kiddush, nightmare singles shabbatonim and horrific shadchan encounters -- are enough to turn anyone off, not just to the process of looking for a soulmate, but to the traditional Jewish community in general. And that is--or soon will be--the true crisis.
What worries me the most is that this is not an isolated incident…One of my friends questioned whether men on SYAS get the same treatment, considering the fact that I have heard there are many more women on the site than men. I honestly don't personally know any men who are on SYAS, but I would be interested to know whether any of them have received such e-mails.