Photo Credit: Apple Store
iPhone (illustrative)

Many dating app users aren’t even subtle about seeking immediate gratification. For example, on one Jewish dating app, a smart alec guy started a conversation with an Orthodox girl with the words “I promise my lips are parve!!! Let’s meet up I’ll lets ya taste them! (sic)” Though this culture is far more prevalent in the non-religious Jewish community, there are singles even in the Yeshivish and Orthodox communities who have been influenced by the dating app. These singles use the app to juggle fun, short term relationships, instead of searching for a partner for life.

Dating apps, unfortunately, also allow for intermarriage. Even specifically Jewish dating apps often allow people with no affiliation to Judaism to join so that they can find Jewish people to marry. This is not a new phenomenon, as even JDate has a “not willing to convert” option. The population of non-Jews on JDate is large enough that the New York Times even wrote an article entitled “You Don’t Have to Be Jewish to Love JDate” in 2004. In an article in “The Daily Beast”, when asked about the presence of non-Jews on JSwipe, David Yarus said “I think it’s great. It’s a testament to the quality of the app. We are for anyone and everyone who celebrates Jewish culture and is interested in having that be a part of their lives now or in the future.” Though intermarriage might be flattering in an abstract sense, it spells doom for the future of the Jewish tradition. These new dating apps, while discouraging marriage, actually encourage hooking up with non-Jews.

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Finding a solution to this new Jewish dating crisis won’t be easy. One alternative is for Jewish singles to use Jewish dating websites instead of apps so that they can find other singles who are dating seriously. Sites like Frumster and SawYouAtSinai may not lend instantaneous gratification, but searching for a long term marriage partner is, arguably, not something which should be done without consideration. Other, non-digital methods also exist for finding a partner for life, such as Jewish speed dating, young professionals events, and the timeless Jewish summer camp. However, many Jewish singles who have been unsuccessful in all of the old methods to find partner will ultimately try out the new dating app trend.

An approach recently introduced by Marc Goldmann, creator of popular Jewish dating website SawYouAtSinai, is not to fight the mobile dating trend but to modify the app to create a more marriage minded environment. He is determined to separate the grain from the chaff of mobile dating with his new product, JBolt. Though it is a dating app, JBolt shows all the information, from smoking habits to religious orientation, right up front on the singles’ profiles, allowing users to judge each other on more than mere physical beauty. But more importantly, the attribute which separates JBolt from other dating apps is the surprising inclusion of matchmakers in the process.

“Our dating app, JBolt, gives the new generation the personal independence and smartphone compatibility they crave,” said Marc, “while simultaneously maintaining the focus on forging long term relationships.” The singles on JBolt have the freedom to choose the singles they are interested in simply by swiping profiles, like any dating app. However, once two singles match up, a matchmaker reviews the potential match to ensure that the two singles are suitable to build a long term relationship. The matchmaker is also available to the dating singles, giving advice and support throughout the difficult dating procedure.

When asked why he chose to make a dating app while the company’s original SawYouAtSinai dating network continues to have success and has led to over 2,500 people getting married, Marc answered that “Different people enjoy different approaches to dating…Due to the accessibility and increased popularity of the smartphone, many singles are going to try dating apps. By creating JBolt, we’re giving these singles an option which will actually lead them to a Jewish marriage.”

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