Dating Site Review: JDate.com
Nu? What's A Jew Got to Do to Get A Date Around Here?
For one thing, dahlink, you need to check out JDate, the largest and most popular dating site for Jewish singles.
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 paid subscribers, making it impossible to determine how many truly active members there are. Regardless, JDate is indisputably large, and 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 need to register as a free member. Fill in a few short screens of information and you'll find a pop-up encouraging you to become a paid subscriber, so you can communicate with members rather than just looking at profiles. As a free member, the only communication you are permitted is by sending a "flirt" icon, or a "click", indicating you think you'd click with someone.
Start to peruse profiles and you'll get even more prompts and encouragement to complete your profile to assist in matching you with compatible members.
The Jdate 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 later).
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. They won't know, unless they click on you as well, and you'll both get an alert indicating mutual interest.
- Mobile device compatibility
- Real-life community meet-ups, such as speed dating, travel adventures, and events such as cocktail parties, theater and dining.
So? You'll Sign Up Already?
Subscriptions, 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)
The Gentiles Seeking Jews Phenomenon (Looking for Mr. Bernstein)
Why would a shiksa or shaygets (non-Jew) sign up on a Jewish dating website? This odd dynamic is common enough that JDate made a category in the mandatory religion drop-down menu titled, "I'd be willing to convert". Don't expect the majority of subscribers to be okay with this, however. Most view the gentile members with raised eyebrows or annoyance. 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 a good provider. I'm not interested in paying all this money to Jdate only to end up dating a gentile".
- Pros include a Webby Award in 2006 for outstanding social/networking site,with many features, including IM's, video messaging, JMag (blog), advice columnists. and community meet-ups and sponsored events.
- Good interface and easy to use features
- Largest membership base of Jewish niche specific dating population
- Expense of membership
- Free membership does not let you communicate and can be frustrating
- Refund policy can be tricky, based on reader feedback.