If there’s any sign you’ve made it as a Christian rock act, it’s when your song “Bring Me to Life” is parodied by Ben Klein, the “Hassidic Weird Al.” (I know it’s April Fool’s Day, but this is no joke.)
Klein has also recorded fairly musically-accurate not-quite-parodies of songs by Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Linkin Park, the Plain White T’s, Cascada and Miley Cyrus. What’s YOUR favorite?
This “week” in Jewish dating news is a magical week, because it includes stories from the last month, many of them centering on issues of modesty and “shomer negiah” (not touching members of the opposite sex until marriage).
Chastity squad’s gonna git you, sucka. If you’re American yeshiva students screening porn for local Orthodox youth, or if you’re someone really immodest, like a divorcee, you might want to stay out of Jerusalem’s Beit Israel neighborhood. The ‘hood, which is becoming increasingly religious has been the site of several violent attacks against people deemed by the local “chastity squad” to be immodest.
The ‘chastity squad’ members snatched her at the playground, poured hot water on her, and when she began shouting they beat her up,” said the resident who witnessed the incident. In a separate incident, squad members allegedly broke into an apartment where several American yeshiva students lived, sprayed them with tear gas and stole a laptop.
Isn’t It Romantic? Giving new meaning to the term “eligible singles,” Star Singles is hosting a “special event for Kohanim and women eligible to marry them (please contact us for halachic parameters).” To learn about those parameters, you can check out the comments (“I guess this is where all the virgins will be,” “no divorcees allowed,” “sorry, I’m not a virgin”) or do some more research (see here, under “ritual defilement”). If you’re “eligible,” the event’s tonight in Brooklyn. Here’s the link to the Facebook invitation - if you go, please share a report with JDaters Anonymous…inquiring minds wanna know! (via Mara Manischewitz)
Isn’t It Romantic 2: Shidduchim Boogaloo. Cash money to anyone who matches a couple! Has it really come to this? On the Upper West Side, a memo circulated shortly to rabbis before Simchat Torah, promising $1000 to the person who orchestrates each of the first five matches made over Simchat Torah on the UWS that leads to marriage. Stipulations include that the two people didn’t know each other before and that they get married by Simchat Torah of next year. Also, “all 3 people have to agree that at certain time and certain place this matchmaker made the match and verified in front of a rabbi and they must be married by next Simchat Torah.”
“It has recently been revealed that the primary cause of the [shidduch crisis] is that boys frequently prefer girls who are a few years younger… Since every year our population grows, the result is that there are always more girls in need of a shidduch than there are available boys.” The letter strongly urges shadhanim [matchmakers] to push shidduchim[matches] in which there is a minimal age gap between the boy and girl, or for the girl to be older.
Cool it, would-be “Jewgars”: in this world, “older” probably means 23.
Bringing Sexy Back(side) to Saucier Shomer Negiah Girls? “Shomer Negiah Panties allow a woman to abide by the halacha, but still be individual and sexy at the same time.” One pair sets you (sexy) back $20, but since these panties are Jewish, you can get a bargain: two pairs for $36…that’s one “chai” per pair. Cute idea, but I think they should really read: “Shomer Negiah: If You Can Read This, You’re Too Close.”
So that’s the news for now – feel free to send your submissions for wacky dating news to us here at jdatersanonymous at gmail. We want to hear from you!
Those of you who have never heard the f-word might want to skip this post.
Some of you may be familiar with a site called “F___ My Life,” in which people write in complaints about all the ways their life sucks, and then end each post with the signoff, “F___ My Life,” or simply, “FML.” The subheader reads: “your everyday life stories.” The tagline: “Get the guts to spill the beans.”
Now we have Holy Shidduch! – I don’t exactly want to call it a “ripoff,” although the site’s design and concept do seem rather similar to the original FML site, so let’s go with the kinder “homage” – which centers such “my life is so nuts” – FML-style stories within the religious dating world, and ends each post with “HS.” The subheader reads: “your everyday dating stories.” And the (somewhat less catchy) tagline at HS is (emphasis, including caps and color directly from that site): WELCOME TO ALL THOSE WHO WISH THE MATCHMAKER WOULD STOP CALLING!
OK. We get it.
I know people who are obsessed with FML, and there are undoubtedly those who will become addicted to these short tales from the Jewish dating battlefield. As someone who’s never been a fan of FML, I can’t say I am going to add HS to my list of daily must-reads – most of these stories, on both sites, do seem more “everyday” than uniquely appalling. I’ve heard far worse stories, and the boxiness of the design – while perhaps an homage to the current Twitter trend, seems a little unsophisticated to me. But I’m one of the first people to admit that a site doesn’t have to be gorgeous or a runaway success in order to tap into the pop culture zeitgeist.
As readers and consumers of dating-related culture and sites, do you have any insight, comments or insights? Are these stories compelling enough to keep you coming back? Or is it just a massive complaining competition (“you think that’s bad, my life is worse…”)?
As some of you likely know, the Orthodox movement has proclaimed a singles crisis (or, as some might say, a “catastrophe”) in the Jewish community. This all stems from the fact that even in the Orthodox movement, many singles are marrying later, or not at all, resulting in a drop in the number of Jewish births expected based on prior estimates.
Enter the Center for the Jewish Future. I mean, it’s right there in the title–they’re about making sure that there’s a Jewish future and that it’s centered. (Or something like that.) Anyway, according to the YU Observer, the school is entering the “we can fix the singles crisis” game with a new organization called YU Connect-2, which will employ a two-pronged approach to enable interested singles to meet prospective spouses. Social workers, rabbis and peers will all be involved in the new venture, which was created with a team that included mental health professionals/dating advisers, rabbis, and dating mentors.
The first venue for interaction will be a variety of singles events. â€œThese are not just random singles events, but theyâ€™re really going to be to reach out to all constituencies of the YU community,â€ confirmed Rabbi Brander. The activities include more structured settings, such as shiurim given by YU Roshei Yeshiva, as well as more relaxed activities such as bowling or miniature golf. â€œThere will be a plethora of different activities,â€ Rabbi [Kenneth] Brander added. […]
The CJF has spent the past few months training approximately 30 dating mentors: young, married men and women who will organize programming and meet with singles one-on-one […] As part of YU Connect-2â€™s effort to appeal to different facets of the greater YU population, the dating mentors were chosen from various neighborhoods in the NY region, including the Five Towns, the Upper West Side, and Queens. The goal is to have different types of mentors who will be best suited to meet the needs of the religiously diverse YU community.
But it’s not like today’s YU students have no idea that marriage and procreations are on the general (and specifically, the community’s) agenda for today’s young Jews. As student Revital Avisar (SCW â€™08) noted in the Observer article, â€œYU in general is by definition Jewish Orthodox and obviously they base their curriculum and their overall activities on Jewish attributes and ideals,â€ she said. â€œOne of those ideals is starting a family. I think itâ€™s been implied and emphasized; itâ€™s already so overwhelming. The environment that weâ€™re in is already enough.â€
Sounds like the pressure is on, for everyone. And YU is at least admitting that the attempt is an initiative in process, so they don’t expect to get it right immediately. But they’re trying, which is something. My concern is the pressure noted by the above student, and likely felt by many others. That, and the reinvention of the wheel–how many other dating opportunities do religious Jews in NYC have? Many, many, many. The challenge will be making “this dating service different from all other dating services,” especially at a university where students already know what’s expected of them, and despite that fact (or maybe because of it??) are still marrying later.
Stay tuned for other posts in what is sure to be an ongoing series.
One of my upcoming events has me presiding over a group discussion at NYC’s Skirball Center on the subject of “dating and Jewish ethics.” (November 28th, $10, or free if you email me to register in advance.) Among the items I’m hoping to address is the issue of “full disclosure” when it comes to setting people up. How much about a person’s past (or present) do you reveal before a first date? How much of it is really important, and how much is hearsay, conjecture, and personal bias?
I’ve argued before, in this space and in others, that we often know too much about our blind dates that influences the framework in which we see them. Even before we’ve met, if I know someone’s age or profession, I might make certain negative assumptions, and hold to those assumptions even if the date itself is going well. (And by “I,” I’m using myself as “Everydater.”)
Some things are objective: a person is so many feet tall, or is an accountant. (Sorry, accountants. I don’t know why I’m picking on you.) But then there’s the other stuff that people tell us about prospective dates that we probably don’t need to know in advance of a first meeting. “He’s not that tall or attractive, but he’s a nice guy,” does not have a single gal looking eagerly forward to the date. “She’s kind of boring, but I understand that once you get to know her, she’s really got a good heart,” sounds like a compliment. But her prospective dates will likely remember the negative, rather than be open-minded. Not every person has a good sense of humor; not everyÂ 40-year-old looks like an old man; not every accountant is boring. (Although in my experience, it takes an exceptional person to defy that last norm.)
In reading this post at SerandEz, whose blog I don’t visit enough, I became aware that this isn’t just my problem. Especially within the religious Jewish community, there are certain things that people leave out of their conversations with the matchmakers. For example, if someone was in some way “off the derech” (off the path of religious Judaism) at some point in their past–instances of eating disorders, drug use, depression and promiscuity might be examples–that might be left out. Not exactly a lie, but not exactly truth either. Aside from a kind of disturbing but not unsurprising tendency to connect homosexuality with child abuse, the comments section reveals some interesting theoretical situations and responses to some of the questions brought up by the issue of honesty in matchmaking situations.
So the larger question is, how would you handle such situations? Say you’re setting someone up with someone else who “has a past”–would you reveal all, or be selective about what you reveal? And what if you’re the one being set up….would your answer differ? Would you want to know about high school drug use, even if the person is reformed? What about learning disabilities or a history of depression? What about whether a person has been married and divorced before?
How much would you want to know about a person before you even get to know a person?