HomeJanuary 2012E-mail Anxiety

E-mail Anxiety

The sound of e-mail brings a new sense of anxiety for people in their twenties and thirties.  No longer might it just be a friendly reminder to pay a bill or a message from a family member in Israel; the e-mail can be a potential suitor. As our culture engages in education and places more emphasis on building a career before having a family, the average age of a newlywed couple is on the rise.  With this focus on financial stability and education, people have less time to venture to random watering holes in hopes of meeting their beshert (loosely translated as soul mate).
Curious about how dating and assimilation interact with one another, I stumbled upon an article from USA Today entitled “Sooner vs. later: Is there an ideal age for first marriage?”  I had to laugh.  Why is the word “first” included?  Am I more behind now because I am not married to my first husband, let alone aiming for my second?  What is the rush to find a nice Jewish person?
Although my mother might wish I were in a hurry, being single in Orange County has its perks.  There are tons of Jewish events to attend and activities to do.  However, many of the Jewish singles still find themselves prowling the Internet for a mate.  Although we dread staring at the happy faces of the promotional couple who met on the site (Mazel tov, Hershel and Miriam Cohen on your wedding!), it is apparent that spending $39.99 has the potential of becoming a great investment.  The best selling point is that one can get a date while in pajamas, teeth unbrushed and no makeup on!  Who knew pixels could provide the gateway to a chuppah? This is no Yentle from Fiddler on the Roof!
So what happens to the twenty- and thirty-somethings who have been on these sites so long that they can tell when people have relocated, had some “work done,” are on the hunt for their second marriage or they start running into people from the sites and refer to them as their user name?  I am not sure.  Is this a concern for people on an individual basis, or does the community take the burden?  According to simpletoremember.com, “by the year 2080, more than 40 percent of Diaspora Jews would be 65 and older,” indicating a major decline in Jewish marriages and births.
Will these websites contribute more to the community than we give credit?  If singles are participating in the online culture, might Jewish dating sites help increase the Jewish population?
Not enough time has clearly gone by with the boom of Internet dating to place a positive or negative spin on its impact, but it does provide an outlet that some still find unconventional.  The largest challenge is to identify how this modernity can increase the Jewish population.
What the Jewish, single community has to ask is does this fear of unconventional dating outweigh the fear of the Jewish numbers declining with future generations?

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