Home February 2014 A Game of Numbers

A Game of Numbers

What once was a hidden secret has become socially acceptable, even praised.  In an article from the Jewish Post entitled “Internet Dating’s Major Impact [on] Jewish Life,” Rabbi Zev Wineberg stated that “evolving social realities have created more of a need for Jewish dating websites.”  He continued, “This situation becomes more challenging as both Jewish and American society grow and change.”  Realizing the need to perpetually modernize Jewish traditional ways, the number of Jewish dating sites exceeds any other subculture or religious group in America.
What our mothers have figured out is that JDate is the largest Jewish online dating community.  Since 1997, the site has enabled users to communicate and meet other Jewish singles instead of hunting for a curly-haired person with a Star of David at a local watering hole.  According to JDate’s online survey, 63 percent of all users’ families have encouraged them to join JDate and 22 percent of JDate users’ mothers have paid for their membership at one point in time.  Now we all know what we got for Chanukah, eh?
Spark Networks, Inc., the creators of JDate, wrote in December of 2011 that there were 62,764 paying Christian subscribers to their online dating sites, while there were 90,094 paying Jewish subscribers.  For the first time in history, the Jews have out- numbered any subgroup!  This information is astounding when paired with the religious population ratios.  While 78.4 percent of America identifies itself as some denomination of Christian, the Jews only account for 1.7 percent of the population.  Clearly, online dating is a highly sought-after approach and remedy for intermarriage within the Jewish community.  The online presence that the small population of American Jews has is a modern technological and dating phenomenon, unparalleled by any other subculture or religious community.
JDate’s “News Center” takes a look at its user population.  According to the survey, JDaters are 51 percent female and 49 percent male.  This almost even split indicates that JDate is valuable to both sexes.  In addition, 41 percent of all users have a bachelor’s degree, 33 percent have a master’s degree or higher and 70 percent of JDate’s users make $50,000 per year or more.
In September 2012 JDate released data indicating that “[of the Jewish population] 76 percent of those who used an online dating website used JDate.”  Additionally, 57.7 percent of JDate users state that they come to the site to look for “similar lifestyle[s] and values,” whereas 34.8 percent of users are looking for “physical chemistry.”  I guess that means we all have to start being honest about our profile information and take recent pictures.  Oops!
In 2004 JDate introduced the “willing to convert” option on its site for non-Jewish users to indicate if they are there with the intention of becoming a member of the faith.  A survey revealed that non-Jews make up approximately 2 percent of the users on JDate, and there were 21 thousand reported marriages from 1997 to 2008.  None are reportedly interfaith couples.  The rate only continues to increase at 5 percent between the years of 1990 and 2001.  Prior to online dating, it was increasing by 10 to 15 percent every ten years.  This rate has dramatically slowed down, proving that when the Internet and Jewish mothers who are willing to pay for JDate collide, the Jewish community’s rate of interfaith marriage decreases.
So, if you’re one of the 22 percent of people whose mothers got them a JDate subscription, welcome to the online dating world.  For those of you who have been on the most awkward of dates because of online dating, thank your mothers and your Internet providers… and remember what the Torah says – “Be fruitful and multiply.”


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