Happy Valentine’s Day to all you singletons! You might ask yourself, “How am I still single!?!?!”
Well, if you’re trying to find a Jewish partner here in Boston, your dating pool is obviously smaller and perhaps a little too familiar (who can blame you for refusing to date anyone who went to your Jewish nursery school in Newton?). So what's the solution?
Time to turn to online dating (or be more patient with it if you have already). The following real-life success stories are proof that you can meet your Jewish soul mate (aka beshert) right here in Boston if you're willing to search online and give it a fair shot.
These three 20-somethings -- now happlily attached -- will tell you more...
Meet Elyssa, who met her fiancé Alan through JDate.
Why did you decide to use JDate?
My motivation for using JDate was simple: I wanted a Jewish family. In general my rule of thumb when it came to dating websites was that it could only increase the amount of people I was meeting.
What were some JDate challenges?
It can become addicting, and there will always be people online who want to chat. But everything should be kept in perspective. Since real life relationships are not based on how well you communicate online, I'd rather go on a date than talk for hours on a website or the phone.
Based on your success story, would you recommend JDate to others?
I would certainly recommend dating websites to others because it allows you to meet more people, and sometimes people who you wouldn't have met otherwise. Since Alan is in medical school with limited time, he wasn't going to the same type of singles mixers I was. But overall, I think success with dating websites is no different than any other form of dating. You really have to be comfortable with where you are in life and what you're looking for.
What did you do on your first date?
We kept it sweet and simple just a drink after work. For me I often shared my aspirations of being a rabbi pretty quickly with people because I felt it was a good gauge of how open the other person would be to marrying a rabbi. I was very quickly impressed with how open Alan was with everything that was important to me and knew that we thought similarly.
Did you and Alan ever feel a stigma for meeting on JDate?
Alan and I rarely think about how we met. But we do share it with people who ask; there is no shame in online dating. The important part is that we met and have been happy ever since.
Mazel tov on your engagement; when’s the wedding?!?!
October 20, 2013!
Meet “Alana,” who’s been dating “Jack” for almost one and a half years since meeting on OKCupid (“Jack” was happy for “Alana” to share their story but asked her to use different names).
Why did you decide to use OKCupid?
I initially decided to look for love online because I had recently moved back to the Boston area and was looking for another way to meet someone besides out at a bar. I grew up in the suburbs of Boston and, after being on JDate for about 6 months or so, was beginning to feel like it was just another form of Facebook for me. Most of the men on there I had either known growing up or they were a friend of a friend. After becoming discouraged by a string of less than promising dates through JDate, I decided to try my luck on OKCupid.
How important was it to you to find someone Jewish?
Although I have dated non-Jewish men in the past, as I have gotten older and begun to date more seriously finding someone that was not only Jewish, but who came from a similar background as me, has grown in importance. “Jack” and I initially connected through messages and emails; we discovered our similar upbringings, the amount of people that we knew in common and our mutual love of Israel.
Tell us about your first date!
We agreed to meet for drinks at a local bar and hit it off immediately. We had so much to talk about, knew so many people in common (including very close friends of ours) and I felt that spark and connection right away. We ended up staying at the bar talking for almost three hours and have been dating ever since. Although I have had serious relationships in the past, “Jack” is the first man I have dated who truly understands me on every level. He is able to come to Shabbat dinner at my parent’s house and hold his own, we can speak Hebrew to each other and one day we hope to travel to Israel together, a place where we have both spent a lot of time before meeting each other.
What’s your advice for other Jewish online daters?
The advice that I would give to those looking in to online dating (through a Jewish lens) is to take a chance! Although it may seem a bit awkward at first, most people I know have met their current or past boyfriends online. It’s an easy way to see the basics of a person up front -- if they are Jewish, what their interests are, where they are from etc. It takes some of the guessing out of dating and allows you to talk with the person a bit before choosing whether or not you would like to meet them in person. Secondly, do not give up!! Even if you’ve been at the dating game for a few years, all it takes is that one date to meet the right person. As cliché as it is, it wasn’t until I relaxed a bit and took the pressure off of myself that I met “Jack.”
Meet Hannah who met her boyfriend of two years, Max, on JDate.
Tell us your JDate story. Was it instant success?
No! I had been on JDate for over a year and had gotten sort of tired of the whole thing, had gone on lots of pretty unsuccessful dates. I decided to take a more casual approach and was just going to log on once in a while. Max [my boyfriend] sent me a message, and I remember I said to my roommate, "Fiiinnnneee, I'll go on one more date..."
So you were patient with JDate. Why did you stick with it?
I wasn't meeting any Jewish guys in other ways. I was working in a research lab with barely any guys, I wasn't interested in meeting guys at bars when I was out with my friends, and I wasn't in college anymore where there are lots of people around to meet all the time. I definitely knew I wanted to meet a Jewish guy, but I wasn't finding any in my day-to-day life.
Tell us about your first date!
Our first date was very different from all the other first dates I had been on. Every other one was very casual, just meet for a drink at a pub or what not, but Max took me to Sal de la Terre, had made a reservation, and even held the door open for me when we went inside! (To date, I have never met a guy who does that, my dad included.) We had lots to talk about because we had a mutual friend in common (my roommate at the time), we had both gone to BU undergrad, plus he was going to BU Med School where my dad teaches (that part was a little embarrassing...). Then at the end of the night he walked 20 minutes in the opposite direction from his apartment to take me to the T. All in all a very different experience than a casual drink at a bar.
So, would you recommend JDate to others?
I would recommend JDate to others with one huge pointer: Do not put too much pressure on yourself to meet someone right away. That's what I did and got frustrated very quickly when I didn't meet anyone for over a year of being on the site.
So why after a year do you think JDate finally worked?
Once I decided to lay back a little and take it more casually -- that’s when I finally met someone I liked. People need to know that these things take time! Statistically speaking, you're not going to meet Mr. Right after 1 or 2 dates, right?
Tell us more about Max!
We have a wonderful relationship now. I have never been with someone who is so genuinely caring and interested in my life, my family, my friends, and makes such an effort to show me affection. After almost two years together we have still not had a fight. There is just nothing to fight about when you're with someone who listens, tries to understand, and puts 110% into loving you. This sounds so corny, but I could not have found a better man. I'm even tearing up now just thinking about how happy Max makes me.
As Planning Associate for Young Adults at CJP, I have the fun job of wrangling all the happenings for 20s&30s in the Greater Boston area and getting the word out! Tweet and email me to say 'Hi!': @GesherCityBos; firstname.lastname@example.org.