I'm not Jewish - Can I use JDate?
August 5, 2010 9:51 AM   Subscribe

After some recent success stories from friends, I'm thinking of trying out JDate. The rub? I'm not, nor do I aspire to become, Jewish. Can I do this without looking like a tourist?

Late 20s female. I've tried various other dating sites with some successes and figured JDate could be worth a try, especially given the wonderful couples I've seen made in my social circle. I know OKCupid is a big MeFi favorite, and it's fine, but the signal to noise ratio is almost unbearable. From my casual perusal, JDate looks to have a more mature crowd (just by profiles and pictures), which is what I'm looking for.

I'm really worried about the propriety of doing this and don't know how common, if at all, it is to use the site if you're not Jewish. Help, please!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (29 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've no idea about J-Date specifically, but I would have thought if you put "I'm not, nor do I aspire to become, Jewish" in your profile, that would cover your bases. So long as your not leading anyone on, what's the harm?
posted by modernnomad at 9:53 AM on August 5, 2010

Well, some people--maybe many people-- will be pissed, others won't be.

Date the ones who aren't.

(I'm not a user of JDate, but this just seems like a common-sense inference.)
posted by darth_tedious at 9:55 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would be pissed if you didn't say in your profile that you're not Jewish. As long as you say it, you're fine.
posted by amro at 9:58 AM on August 5, 2010

Among the options for "religious background" that you can select on JDate is "Not willing to convert". You may not get as many matches as your Jewish friends but if they have set up the site to accommodate people like you--which they clearly have--and if you are straightforward about your position in your profile then I don't see what the problem is.
posted by phoenixy at 9:58 AM on August 5, 2010

I have successfully used J-Date and I'm not Jewish. You fill out the religious preference part and the folks for whom it matters won't contact you. But plenty will!
posted by thinkpiece at 10:00 AM on August 5, 2010

From my friend, an experienced and successful JDater (and Jew):

"Well, people join jdate because they are looking for jewish people to date. I once went out with someone, who disclosed very late in the date that he wasn't Jewish, and I felt deceived... if there is a specific reason the person wants to date jewish people (lots of jewish friends, grew up in jewish area, feels comfortable with jews) then it's ok."

[me: What if s/he puts it in the profile?]

"well, people on there wont really talk to you if you have it there, so usually non jews leave it blank. but it depends on the person."

"problem is, lots of girls want to date jewish guys cuz they tend to be wealthier. so it looks bad. and guys sometimes think jewish girls are cute, but dont intend to be with the person long term."

"also, seems like asking for long term problems since religion is a big reason people join jdate, so it's probably somewhat important to them in the long run."
posted by k8t at 10:10 AM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

Via IM, a Jewish friend who uses JDate (a woman who is Jewish) said that she would certainly date someone from there who put in their profile that they were not. So YMMV.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:17 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you want to avoid immature folks on OKCupid, just put a long "this is not what I'm looking for, so if you are like this, don't even bother" paragraph at the beginning of your profile. The people who are looking for "casual" stuff won't bother you (or will be scared off), and the folks who are looking for serious relationships will appreciate it. Worked like a charm for me.

I wouldn't use JDate because I am not Jewish. I would feel like I am deceiving people, but it really is up to the individual. You'll get a lot of folks who say it's no problem and a lot of folks who say you shouldn't do it.
posted by your mom's a sock puppet at 10:28 AM on August 5, 2010

Also, as a Jewish friend just mentioned, it is important that the mother/wife/lady spouse is Jewish in order for the children to be Jewish. That is clearly a cultural/religious thing, and I am not an expert on that at all. That might not be important for a lot of men, but it will probably be important for a lot of them, especially if they are on JDate.
posted by your mom's a sock puppet at 10:35 AM on August 5, 2010

Can you use JDate? Sure.
Should you? Probably not.

I can't help suspecting that guys on JDate would be more likely to meet you to try and get laid rather than seek you out as a potential girlfriend/relationship. Think about it from their point of view: if they're on JDate to date Jewish women, and you're not Jewish and don't aspire to become Jewish, then what's the point for them?

If all you want is to get laid, I bet it'll work.
If you want anything more than that, I think you're setting yourself up for failure.

People are on JDate because they want to date those who share their religion and culture. You're not. You don't.
posted by 2oh1 at 11:09 AM on August 5, 2010 [9 favorites]

I would assume that a non-Jew using JDate is generally okay with marrying a Jew and living in a Jewish household and having Jewish kids, whether or not they intend to convert. If not, then it's a bit weird. If so, just write in your profile that you're not Jewish, and ignore all the weird stereotyping in this thread. Sure, some people won't be willing to date you, but they're no more unwilling than they would have been had you not signed up.
posted by jeather at 11:11 AM on August 5, 2010

My cousin is on a similar site which is for people of East Indian origin, and scrolling through it with her, I noticed there were a lot of non-Indian people, like white guys and African Americans, and Africans, and these people seemed wacky.

I don't understand why you are on JDate if you're not interested in Judaism. It would just seem like you're fetishizing Jewish men. It seems like people on JDate are actually looking to date within their own religion/ethnicity.
posted by anniecat at 11:24 AM on August 5, 2010 [3 favorites]

From JDate's site:

*JDate's mission is to strengthen the Jewish community and ensure that Jewish traditions are sustained for generations to come. To accomplish this we provide a global network where Jewish singles find friendship, romance and life-long partners within their faith.*
posted by watercarrier at 11:38 AM on August 5, 2010 [4 favorites]

Do you live in New York or another place where there is a big agnostic Jewish community? If not, you might not have the greatest luck on JDate, even if you are Jewish.

I fall under JDate's "Culturally Jewish but not practicing" category. People in this category and other non-religious people are the people most likely to view your profile. The rest will probably not be looking for a long-term relationship. Since you're a woman, you'll have a little more luck than a guy asking the same question because Jewish men are more likely to intermarry than Jewish women. However, I'd be wary as there are religious guys who like to fool around with non-Jews before they decide to settle down with a Jewish woman.

In my experience, completing my profile as "Culturally Jewish but not practicing," I've found most girls on JDate won't respond to me or even view my profile with that setting even though I consider myself to be Jewish and not particularly bad looking. I've had much better luck elsewhere.

I've only met 3 girls via JDate in the last 5 years. One of them is now my ex-girlfriend. She fell into the same category as me. We were not raised with religion but have a cultural connection. My father's family was Jewish and my mother's father was Jewish. My mother converted, but at a reform synagogue. This makes me in many people's eyes "not Jewish at all" whereas my ex was considered Jewish through matrilineal descent even though she knew less about Judaism than I do.

I've had much more luck with other sites and suggest you try something like OKCupid or Plenty of Fish. Also, JDate tends to be very dishonest in the e-mail alerts it sends. For example, if you let your paid membership lapse and had 5 read messages in your inbox, you will get a message down the road notifying you of 5 new messages when you really don't have any since you've already read them.
posted by globotomy at 11:42 AM on August 5, 2010

A friend of mine who is not Jewish, but who has a plausibly Jewish last name created a profile on JDate and went on a date where his Jewish date ended up expressing that she felt deceived, since he had checked the "not practicing" or some other vague option. I don't know if he still has a profile on there.

I'm a non-practicing Jew, and I have met several women via JDate. Two of them were not Jewish but interested in Judaism and open to converting. I didn't find that strange.

What I do find strange are the profiles that seem to be written by nearly illiterate folks who don't even fill out the religion-related sections, and say very little about themselves. I assume these are impostor or spam/scam profiles.

If you are articulate and open about your religious status and preference, I don't really see a problem with you using JDate. However, as others have stated, they are expensive and occasionally deceptive in getting you to pay for a membership.
posted by MonsieurBon at 11:56 AM on August 5, 2010

I am Jewish, and have used JDate. When I filled out my profile, I was not strongly connected to any of the "branches." So, for that option, I checked "unaffiliated," which was apparently polite-code for shiksa. It did not seem to dampen the volume of responses, though some did poke around asking about my faith.
posted by charmcityblues at 12:11 PM on August 5, 2010

I actually totally understand the appeal of Jdate for reasons that have nothing do with the people on their being jewish. I swear every attractive, successful, fun, single jewish friend I have is on jdate. Pretty much 100%. Of my non jewish attractive, successful, fun single friends the rate drops to maybe20%. The young jewish singles seem to really flocked to jdate. I realize that online dating is pretty mainstream now, but there is still some stigma attached. That does not appear to be true for the young jewish population. If they're single, they're on jdate. The quality level of the people on there seems so much higher compared to other dating sites.

That being said I'm not jewish so I wouldn't join it because people go there to meet jewish people, it's really that simple and I don't fit the bill. Even if a guy were to want to date me, I would kind of wonder if he would have preferred a jewish girl, whether his family would have preferred a jewish girl, or if he's still looking for a jewish girl to marry because at the end of the day that's what he wants.

Us agnostics need to get our own jdate. There probably is one, but the whole point of a dating site is to have a huge pool of people and since I haven't heard of it, I'm not too hopeful.

And yeah I totally agree about okcupid. The design and idea of the site is great, but the signal to noise ratio is totally unbearable. Also, it seemed to attract a lot of people simply because it's free. When I was on it, I got A LOT of email from 30 something guys who had committed their lives to surfing and smoking pot. Nice enough guys, but not exactly what I'm looking for. Also, far too many married men whose marriages were "totally over" except for you know legally and they still lived together and the kids and oh the wife doesn't know this yet. Maybe 5% max of the emails I received can I say came from an even vaguely normal human being. And maybe 1% I was interested enough to talk to or go out with. It was a lot of effort weeding through all the emails and no reward.
posted by whoaali at 12:12 PM on August 5, 2010

You do risk looking like a punchline in a musical comedy.
posted by zamboni at 12:14 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you want to avoid immature folks on OKCupid, just put a long "this is not what I'm looking for, so if you are like this, don't even bother" paragraph at the beginning of your profile.

Ohjeez, don't do this. I think people who do this are kind of insufferable. There's really no way to say something like that and not sound obnoxious and negative and picky. Instead, just say what you do want, and be sure to emphasize that those things are absolute dealmakers/breakers.

As for the OP : I'm Jewish, and don't think there's anything wrong with non-Jews using J-date. People use the site for all kinds of reasons. There are Hasidic dudes looking for a woman to have 10 kids with. There are guys like me who just seem to get along with other Jews. There are non-Jews who like Jews for whatever reasons. It takes all kinds. Just be clear about who you are (non-Jew, atheist or whatever) and see what happens.

HOWEVER -- I would say that you will probably fare worse than someone who is Jewish, and at that point you kinda have to make a cost/benefit analysis since it is a pay site, and kinda expensive if I recall.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:19 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm Jewish (by birth and upbringing, atheist by belief) who was on Jdate because hey, might as well not put the Orthodox parents in an early grave if I could help it. I wasn't that comfortable myself with specifically dating Jews only, but I thought I'd give it a try for them, and it worked -- I met my wife there.

I always thought the non-Jews on there were kind of creepy because I assumed that they had some stereotype of Jews that they were looking for. (I've had non-Jewish friends tell me things like "My mom always liked Jewish people..." Yeah, kinda weird.) It honestly never occurred to me until I read your question that they might be there just because they liked the site. So you might want to spell that out (in addition to your not being Jewish) if you do join.

I also assumed that most Jews who use Jdate do so because they're looking to date/marry a fellow Jew, but maybe there are enough who are there just because they like the site as well. Can't hurt to try.

Good luck!
posted by callmejay at 12:51 PM on August 5, 2010

If you want to avoid immature folks on OKCupid, just put a long "this is not what I'm looking for, so if you are like this, don't even bother" paragraph at the beginning of your profile.

Yeah, I'd be careful about that. I found myself avoiding women who did that even if it sounded like I was what they were looking for just because it made them seem either too judgy or in possession of "too much baggage."
posted by callmejay at 12:52 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

There are plenty of mature professionals on Match.com, eharmony, perfectmatch, etc.

If a man joined Kdate because he 'liked Asians' I'd be repulsed. I'm trying to feel differently here, and not entirely succeeding.
posted by namesarehard at 1:17 PM on August 5, 2010

"If you want to avoid immature folks on OKCupid, just put a long "this is not what I'm looking for, so if you are like this, don't even bother" paragraph at the beginning of your profile."

That's a seriously bad idea. Idiots will never stop being idiots just because a no-idiots sign is posted. Non-idiots will get the impression that you're rude.
posted by 2oh1 at 2:06 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm always surprised by the number of non-Jews on JDate... I mean, what the fuck? That's our place. There are plenty of other places -- online or otherwise -- that you can go to find intellectually stimulating people to date.... or, for that matter, plenty of places you can meet Jews that aren't JDate. The exception would be if you were thinking seriously about conversion or whatever....
posted by ph00dz at 3:40 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would like to point out to namesarehard, that match.com sucks, and has a really low, low quality of user, and eharmony sucks for other reasons. No experience with perfectmatch.

Really, once nerve went pay, there have been no real good online personals. I've used 'em all at one time or another, the short-lived and those that outlived their good stages. I'm vaguely tempted to check out JDate now. Although I'd feel a little creepy, like the straight man in the lesbian bar.

I think people have done a good job of pointing out that the Jewish people there are there for a variety of reasons, and some of them will be willing to date non-Jews. There are also clearly a number of non-Jews there who are there for reasons other than fetishistic.

Just try not to be hurt and offended when someone is bothered by you being there. Clearly there's a niche there for you, however small it may be. I can almost guarantee that at some point someone will email you something snotty if you put up a profile. Once a lesbian PAID to email me and tell me that I couldn't possibly be bisexual, as my ad claimed, because I was far too butch in my photograph and that I'd eventually come to my senses. It made my week. I still laugh about it when I think of how much she paid to express that opinion.
posted by tejolote at 3:45 PM on August 5, 2010

Oh... and charmcityblues, "unaffiliated" is NOT for non-Jews, it's for Jews who don't belong to any particular movement within Judaism. "Willing / Not Willing to Convert" is more appropriate.
posted by ph00dz at 3:50 PM on August 5, 2010

Ph00dz- That's why I chose "unaffiliated," because I hadn't joined a non-Hillel congregation yet. My point was that a lot of fellow Jews took it to mean "not affiliated with Judaism." And that I got plenty of responses anyway.
posted by charmcityblues at 4:18 PM on August 5, 2010

Ahhh... right on, charmcityblue.... Hope it worked out ok for you!
posted by ph00dz at 5:39 PM on August 5, 2010

I have recently join a Jewish date site. I am Jewish and am not interested in anyone who is not so yes, I would be ticked if someone joined who wasn't Jewish. Non-Jews have all sorts of other dating sites for their use. If you aren't interested in converting then don't join.
posted by sunshine22 at 8:04 PM on August 6, 2010

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