How to Celebrate Tu B’Av: The Ten Suggestions


Arriving imminently, the Jewish holiday of love.

To celebrate, you can:

1) Watch Benji Lovitt try to get a date for the holiday

2) Go to a local Jewish singles party celebration of the holiday, like tomorrow night’s LoveFest 2009 sponsored by JConnectLA or Bangitout’s NY White Party (now to be held on Thursday because of a rain threat).

3) Find. Me. Somebody to Loooove.

4) Remember that last year, Madonna and Guy Ritchie used Tu B’Av as a chance to rejustify their love.

5) Read about how I once jinxed the Bangitout Tu B’Av party.

6) Reassess the pros and cons of speed dating, created by Rabbi Yaacov Deyo in 1998.

7) Listen to Galgalatz, Israeli radio, for a menu of songs including “All You Need is Love” (The Beatles), “I’m Yours” (Jason Mraz) and – of course – Lady Gaga’s “Love Game,” with the immortal love lyric “I want to take a ride on your disco stick.”

8) Go through your iPhone/BlackBerry address book and let your eyes linger on each name, remembering how you were treated and how you treated others, and promise yourself it’s going to be different this time. If you’re feeling benevolent and find worthy candidates, recycle people by matching them with each other based on things they have in common. If you’re not feeling benevolent, don’t bother…

9) Go old school: Wear white and frolic in the fields, waiting for a special someone to come along and fall in love with you. Make sure it’s your field, though. Because otherwise it’s just called trespassing. And bring some Shout wipes. Because grass stains like a bitch.


Happy Tu B’Av, everyone. And please, as always, love responsibly.

JDA Roundup: This Week in Dating and Relationships


Greetings sports fans. Here’s your vital roundup of dating- and relationship-related stories, and yes, even a little humor thrown in at the end.

The Husband, His Wife, and His Other Wife (Her Sister): If you think there’s tough competition in the dating world, at least you’re not married to the same guy your sister is. Brad Greenberg, formerly of the Jewish Journal and the award-winning God Blog, now writes at about such a situation. And no, he’s not the husband in question. But his shock comes not from the prospect of a polygamous relationship featuring two sisters, but at the job the Telegraph reporter did in reporting the story:

While the Telegraph delivered a surprising story here, the reporter for this un-bylined article does a poor job of including the religious context needed for this story. In fact, we’re never even told in this story that the Mormon Church has banned polygamy, only that it is banned in the United States and, apparently, that “Fundamentalist Mormon families” favor polygamy.

She Brought Lewinsky Back (Yeah!): Over at Jewcy, Shula Reinharz gets the credit for bringing everyone’s favorite former White House intern back (a full week before former President Clinton flew over to N. Korea to get two American journalists freed), as the symbol for Jewish women who may have been raised in an overly sexually aggressive manner. In “Sex and the Suburbs,” Prof. Reinharz says that when the Clinton-Lewinsky story broke, she had been focusing on the wrong story.

Everyone was rightly talking about Bill. What he did wrong – and wrong he surely did. But what about Monica? Had she been doing this kind of thing back in Beverly Hills or was this an entirely new extracurricular activity for her? Can we generalize to Jewish girls in Weston or Westfield or Westwood from what Monica was doing in the West Wing?

The piece continues to consider whether today’s young people consider sex to mean only in the non-Clintonian definition, in the process noting that the practice  of oral sex “is so rampant that the Reform Jewish movement has taken it on as a national policy concern.”

I checked that piece of information out on Google, and sure enough there is an article to that effect dated November 19, 2005. Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, addressed 4,200 people in Houston for its biennial convention and explicitly talked about oral sex and hooking up. Bravo, Rabbi Yoffie. For him the issue was that girls are “defining their worth by how they please boys.” The degradation of girls flies in the face of the Reform Movement’s dedication to the equality of women, he said.

Can’t Touch This: And now, from oral sex, we go to the concept of shomer negiah, meaning the abstention from all premarital physical contact with the opposite sex. If you’re shomer negiah and have been looking for a loophole, we’ve got one for you. (Hat tip to Miriam Shaviv at the

And lastly, since this is “J”Daters Anonymous, I would be remiss if I didn’t bring out the J factor by mentioning the imminent arrival of Tu B’Av, the Jewish holiday of love (often called the “Jewish Valentine’s Day”). So look for a post about that auspicious day soon.

How to Overcome Sterility and Long-Term Bachelorhood (Without Really Trying)


The “How to Solve the Singles Crisis” discussion takes a new turn with the following advice: Have at least 12 children, do not use birth control, and continue having children after 40. According to Ynet, “This is the formula for overcoming sterility and long-term bachelorhood in the Religious Zionism movement put forth by renowned Rabbi David Batzri.”

Rabbi Batzri, a respected kabbalist and head of Nahar Shalom Yeshiva, participated in a prayer assembly held in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter and at the Western Wall together with about one thousand single women searching for “respectable mating.” Under the title “Women in Wait,” they heard tips for getting themselves out of their distressful situation.

[T]he rabbi asserted that “a girl who wishes to marry must take upon herself already on the first date an obligation to have no less than 12 children.” In addition, he encouraged women to put pressure on one another not to delay pregnancy after getting married and not to wait long in between births.

Maybe I’m not seeing what is obvious to others reading this. But for me, a single woman who is, let’s say, NOT in her early 20s, I can’t see the value of this advice to unmarried women. Is the implication that the reason these women aren’t married is because they go into their dates unwilling to have more than 12 children? Because otherwise, you’re just telling them to do something that’s outside of their control: they can’t get married because they haven’t “taken on the obligation to have no less than 12 children,” and they certainly can’t have children before they’ve gotten married.

This reminds me of Lori Gottlieb’s article titled “Marry Him,” in which she opined (this is my paraphrase – I suggest you read the whole article) that women in their 20s should settle for Mr. Good-Enough so they can have the life they want in their 30s. By the time they reach their 30s, they’re living another situation entirely:

Choosing to spend your life with a guy who doesn’t delight in the small things in life might be considered settling at 30, but not at 35. By 40, if you get a cold shiver down your spine at the thought of embracing a certain guy, but you enjoy his company more than anyone else’s, is that settling or making an adult compromise?

Basically, go back and be in your 20s and make different decisions. If you’re already in your 30s, it’s like the bumper sticker: “If you can read this, you’re too close.”

Batzri’s instruction to women isn’t a solution to sterility, or to “long-term bachelorhood.” Unmarried women aren’t sterile, nor are they responsible for bachelors being bachelors. Perhaps giving a bit of mussar (strongly worded advice) to the bachelors might yield more marriages – and therefore more children – than telling a crowd of women, gathering because they’re desperately desiring of marriage and children, that it’s up to them to change things.

JDA Wide World of Dating: News Roundup


Sorry I’ve been away. Thank you for sticking around, checking back with me, reminding me to publish held comments, etc. I had been having some technical problems, but most of all found myself in a crunch for time – I kept writing half-posts and then discarding them. But now I’m back, hoping to provide some regular dating news and commentary from the crazy place where Jews and dating (sometimes) meet.

Up after the jump, Megan Fox, blind dating that’s really blind, religious transparency, and words to the brokenhearted.


Hareidi Singles Strategy: Marry By 20, Or You’re Out!


Today, the Telegraph blog over at the JTA shared a story from the Hareidi (Ultra-Orthodox) world (via YnetNews): that older bachelors who were not married (and who were not yeshiva students) be punished: with banishment from the city of Jerusalem. This class of toxic older bachelors, shirking their responsibilities to be fruitful and multiply consists of those over the wizened age of 20.

The ruling was issued by Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, head of the Hazon Yaakov yeshiva and son of Shas’ spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who noted that:

[…] in the past it was customary to banish “older” single men from the capital as punishment for their refusal to marry and provide for a family.

In recent generations, Sephardi rabbis decided to annul this regulation, but according to Rabbi Yosef it should be reinstated. “Only a yeshiva student who studies Torah has an exceptional permission to postpone marriage, if he fears that marriage might distract him from his studies. But normally one must not delay marriage till after 20, and those who do had better leave Jerusalem and go study somewhere else,” he wrote.

Banishment. Somewhere, Jewish demographers and those who are obsessed with the singles crisis are saying, “Wow. We totally should have thought of that.”

“Shtetl-Lovely” – The Allure of Jewish Women


And now, for something completely different…

If you’re tired of all the negative stereotyping of Jewish women as overinvolved, shrill, shrewish (“funny, she doesn’t look shrewish”), superficial harpies (and why wouldn’t you be?), here’s something a bit unusual. Friend of JDaters Anonymous Van Wallach has now published a treatise on the appeal of the Jewess, titled “Smart, Vulnerable, and Shtetl-Lovely: The Allure of Jewish Women.”

While the titular love Wallach describes was no doubt something that he had within him, he was inspired to write this piece after reading a Matchup column by Chicago-based freelancer Abigail Pickus (who once wrote for PresenTense) in the Jewish Week (where someone else used to write a column). The column shared her experiences on the receiving end of a litany of reasons why her Jewish male friend wouldn’t date Jewish women. Wallach didn’t just get angry – he got writing:

Why […] did I turn to and stay with Jewish women? Something about them clicked with me on a deep level. I once described a woman as “smart, vulnerable, and shtetl-lovely.” That’s my highest praise for the appeal of the Jewish woman’s mind, heart, and body. They are all allure, and if they freshen their lipstick over a sushi dinner, I’ll follow them anywhere – and I have. A Jewish man who dismisses such women as a group is, in technical terms, meshuggenah.

I’ll just add that anyone who dismisses Jewish men or Jewish women as a group isn’t helping. Let’s acknowledge that there are trends, and there are exceptions. And most of us are really looking for someone who is – in some way, even if it’s a small way only perceptible to us – exceptional.

Check out the whole piece over at Blogcritics.

“Ph.D. in Him” – Hebrew Mamita at the Def Poetry Jam


For anyone who feels like they’ve spent too much time obsessing over an ex…and who suspects that the wasted hours in question might have been equivalent to degrees in something else…experience the Hebrew Mamita, Vanessa Hidary, spoken word poet who’s appeared on Def Poetry Jam and the Nyuorican Cafe. People have been sending me these clips all week, so I guess the DVD must be out, but I’ve heard (at least the second of) the two pieces before. She’s outstanding, truly.

The first piece is about ex obsession and all the time we waste in contemplating past relationships. But stay tuned for piece #2, which is a great treatise on Jewish identity and whether people “look Jewish” or not.

“JDaters Anonymous Live” Yields Strange Results


It’s been a while since I posted here, I know. I’ve been running around presenting at conferences like a crazy person, or at least the type of crazy person who’s asked to speak at conferences. And a quarter of those presentations centered on our topic at hand: dating and relationships.

This past weekend, I spoke to a crowd of 200 people – most of them students in their early 20s – about the challenges of dating in the age of technology. The session was titled – somewhat obscurely – “JDaters Anonymous Live,” which led people to make their own assumptions about what the session would address. Some thought it was going to be speed dating, or me talking about my dating horror stories, or an opportunity for the participants to share their horror stories. And as a result, although I tried to keep the conversation to the topic at  hand – technology, and how it complicates our communication process even as it keeps communication more frequent and varied – people just wanted to vent.

They were angry. Angry about being rejected. Angry about being deceived. Angry about not being called back, or being passed over in favor of a friend. But one of the comments made by a twentysomething male really gave me pause. He stated that he knows, definitively and always, whether it’s going to work (he meant a date) within the first five minutes of meeting someone.  Shocked, I polled the room, and most of them agreed, not just about a date/potential romance, but about a potential friendship. When I suggested that perhaps it was because the people in the room were under 25, I almost had a mutiny on my hands. The room was fairly united. Five minutes. And they’d know.

Maybe I err on the side of believing that first impressions, while often fairly accurate, do also contain a margin of error – some of the people I met and instantly liked I’ve since fallen out of like with, and others, who were slow starters for one reason or another have emerged as some of my nearest and dearest. While I’m talking about friendships mostly, I find the same is true for me in dating…I think most people become more interesting as you spend time with them, and it’s not fair to judge someone from five minutes of interaction.

Here’s the part where all y’all weigh in and tell me what you think…

What the World Needs This Valentine’s Day Is….JDateTV?


JDate‘s launching their new reality web series about JDaters starting February 14th. Tune in to meet some of JDate’s finest, like “Guy Who Prefers Brunettes But Would Also Be Game For Redheads,” “Woman in Love Who Sits on Couch With Boyfriend and Smiles,” and “Woman in Bathtub.”

The Age Thing


If asked, most people would say that they try not to judge people by their age. I was born in the 70s, and most of my friends were born in the 80s. Fine. No problems, except for when they refer to 80s music as “oldies,” which makes me wince a little.

If age is really relative, it might seem strange to establish age as a determinant in either dating or not dating a person. If theoretically, you’re only looking for someone to age 40, it makes no sense to reject someone just because he’s 41 – in all likelihood, he’s no different in terms of his ability to enjoy life and act young than any 40 year old is. And also, we all know people who act way older or younger than their actual calendar age, and so we know not to judge a book by how old its birth certificate says it is. (Yes, enjoy that mixed metaphor.)

But what’s happening online is something different. Everyone who fills out an online dating profile indicates a preferred age range for potential partners. And a woman in her thirties who indicates that she’s looking for a man in his thirties or forties will likely encounter that the men in their thirties and forties are looking for women in their twenties. Then comes the next part: men in their fifties contacting women in their thirties, even if that’s not the age range they’d prefer.

Of course, we’ve already said that age doesn’t matter. But is a woman still entitled to reject a man’s advances online if he’s over a certain age? After all, some of the men online are employing artificial age cutoffs themselves, mostly because it’s required by most dating services. Does this make her a judgmental person? Or is she just using her best judgment?

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