JDate, Frumster, your nagging mother . . . these are all means through which to meet your Jewish significant other in America.
Of course, there’s always synagogue, networking through friends and colleagues, singles mixers and events, or just pure luck (or, as those lucky ones would call it, “fate”) but from what I’ve heard through friends, finding a nice, Jewish boyfriend or girlfriend in the States, in your 20’s, can be quite the feat.
It seems that college (grad school, law school, med school) is the last bastion of hope for many of these love-seekers. University life presents a homogenous environment in which you can assume that a large percentage of the student body comes from a similar background (and in my case, “JewPenn,” as it’s so endearingly called, did not find itself lacking a thriving, Jewish student body).
That being said, what happens when you leave the safe, educational home of birds and bees and step out into the real world? For many of my friends, they find themselves meeting men and women of different faiths, and they struggle with finding a suitable Jewish partner.
So how does all of this relate to Israel and, more specifically, to Tel Aviv?
One would think that Israel is the perfect place to meet your future Mr. or Mrs.; after all, it is the Jewish homeland. Aren’t the streets teeming with eligible bachelors and bachelorettes, wonderful young men and women to bring home to mom and dad for seders and Shabbat dinners?
Oddly enough, a paradox exists. Because (most) everyone in Israel is Jewish, it is hard to meet someone that you are truly compatible with in the numerous aspects other than faith.
In America, organizations like JDate and other Jewish dating services bring singles together not only on the basis of a shared religion, but also on the basis of common values, upbringings, and of course, family neuroses. Judaism serves as an equalizer, implying far more than tradition and heritage.
American Jewry is a subculture, filled with certain experiences, educational and professional expectations, social circles and more.
In Israel, Judaism does not serve to even out the playing field. Men and women from all walks of life — socio-economically, educationally and more — are Jewish, and therefore, when you meet someone, the mere fact that he or she is Jewish does not stand to signify a match made in heaven.
My single, definitely-seeking boss, a native of Australia, put it best when she said that in Sydney, if she’s dating a Jewish man, he’s most likely a doctor or a lawyer; in Israel, she stated, her Jewish boyfriend could easily be the garbage man.