Daily Beast Writer Describes Her Week on ‘Jewish Tinder’: More Attractive Guys Than Usual Dating Site
Daily Beast writer Emily Shire on Monday relayed tales of her week on the dating app JSwipe, complete with details about the non-Jews and good looking men who use the site.
“Within a few swipes, I was already feeling that burst of romantic optimism you need the first day of the new year,” she said. “Perhaps because I have always been Semitic-minded in my romantic preferences – hey there, James Deen, Paul Rudd, Skylar Astin (Lipstein) – but the guys on JSwipe seemed more attractive than the usual dating site bunch.”
JSwipe, which has been described as the “Jewish Tinder,” launched about nine months ago. Since then the app has gained over 165,000 users in more than 70 countries, according to its founder, David Yarus. He knows of at least one marriage that occurred thanks to JSwipe.
Both Orthodox and non-religious Jews use JSwipe. Its filters for the many denominations of Judaism also makes it easier to use and helps people cater to their specific desires, Shire said.
“You could check off Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, or the vague but sufficient ‘Just Jewish,’ which I assumed meant ‘I need someone with a circumcised penis who read at least one line of Hebrew around his 13th birthday,'” she said. “In addition, there was even a spot to mark whether you were kosher, which is actually a big deal if you really like bacon or, like me, expend too much energy attempting to resist it.”
Ben, a 28-year-old New Yorker, hopes to date and marry someone who is Jewish but he told Shire he sets his filter on JSwipe to cut out matches who are kosher. He said it was “too much of a lifestyle difference.”
Shire noted a trend in non-Orthodox Jewish singles seeking other Jews: “you don’t want to seem too Jewish, or rather, you want to convey the right level of Jewishness you want in a partner (or a hookup).” She also noted that young Jews, especially those that are not traditionally Orthodox, change their dating app preferences based on their moods. One Jewish male friend told her about his OkCupid filters, “I usually set it for only Jewish girls…except when I’m horny.”
According to Shire, “JSwipe definitely gives off less of a hookup vibe than others.” Almost everyone she spoke to said they have used the app specifically because they are looking for something more than a booty call.
“Even people I spoke to a while back, it didn’t get too steamy,” Victoria Reuveni, a 27-year-old Jewish sexologist in the Los Angeles, told Shire. “It’s definitely much dirtier, much faster on OkCupid.”
After speaking with others and using the app herself, Shire said that JSwipe can make the dating pool of Jewish singles feel “eerily small.” However, “for every familiar face you may see on JSwipe, there are definitely a fair few you wouldn’t expect–namely people outside the tribe. There’s a reason for the ‘willing to convert’ or ‘other options.'”
Non-Jews are also getting use out of JSwipe. Brian, a 31-year-old who lives in Brooklyn, did not think twice about signing up for the app. He told Shire he is already on other dating sites, such as OkCupid and Coffee Meets Bagel, “and I figured why not throw JSwipe into the mix.” He also made it clear on his profile that he is not Jewish.
Yarus said he is not surprised his site is attracting non-Jews.
“I remember seeing a tweet that said ‘Going on my first JSwipe date, and neither of us are Jewish,'” he laughed. “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.”
Still, he admitted JSwipe’s “core intention is finding and providing nice Jewish boys and nice Jewish girls.” He added that the increasing rate of intermarriage, “makes what we’re doing all the more exciting knowing it’s not just another thing. I hope it’s making a real impact on people’s lives.”
Shire said that for her friend, a small number of JSwipe matches turned into conversations but none materialized into dates. A guy she interviewed said he went on only one date in the past few months using the app. He turned down a second date because the girl was “too eager.”
Shire concluded, “All the old rules of dating apply in its new technical setting, it seems, and no app or website will change that — even if, like JSwipe, it answers to a higher authority.”