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We have awarded JDate our prestigious Gold Award in this category, having reviewed 12 Jewish Dating Websites. Read our review below to find out why...
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JDate was established in 1997 and is currently the top international internet dating site for Jewish singles. They claim a 50:50 male/female ratio, and cater for people seeking friendship, dates and marriage alike. With tens of thousands of members, many of whom are in the US, that's a lot of potential cappuccinos. Although you don't have to be Jewish to become a member, unlike some other Jewish dating sites. The general idea is to encourage dating and marriage within the Jewish faith. JDate's noble mission statement is as follows:
"JDate's mission is to strengthen the Jewish community and ensure that Jewish traditions are sustained for generations to come. To accomplish this mission, we provide a global network where Jewish singles can meet to find friendship, romance and life-long partners within the Jewish faith.."
Interestingly, the New York Times published an article in 2004 on the JDate phenomenon, entitled "You Don't Have to Be Jewish to Love JDate", citing that actually many non-Jewish singles preferred dating within the Jewish faith, and many of them were doing this through JDate. Women found Jewish men "treat them better", whilst men found Jewish women more independent, sassy and forthright than their gentile counterparts. The running joke is choosing to date a Jewish woman will be the last decision a man will ever have to make.
According to the New York Times, the cultural tradition and family values of American Jewish lifestyle appealed to non-Jewish people on the dating scene and this has led to a sharp rise in inter-faith marriage among American Jews. The then most recent data from the US National Jewish Population Survey of 2000-2001 showed that a whopping "47 percent of Jews married after 1996 chose a non-Jewish spouse. If this trend continues, some fear it could lead to the end of the American Jewish community." JDate did this? Wow!
Any commercial giant in its prime comes under scrutiny and will inevitably be harangued by all and sundry trying to knock it from the No.1 spot. JDate has been accused of planting fictitious profiles of porn stars (dressed in business suits?) to create its sharp spiffy look and draw in the virtual masses. It is true that it is an ultra shiny website, with a very accessible look and the profiles are very clean cut and well rounded, but this is no different from the aims of its competitors. Anyway, the proof is surely in the pudding. Or the Kugel. You can't argue with hundreds of thousands of members.
JDate has a safe and exciting family feel, with smooth and friendly navigation and lots of nice looking Jewish boys and girls with good jobs and varied interests.
Starting at $33.99 for one month on the standard plan, this site is not the cheapest on offer. However, you do seem to get what you pay for, and JDate argues that it's still cheaper than a night on the town! If you manage to sign up during a sale you can save quite a lot, making 6 month options something of a bargain.
JDate has by far the best presented profiles. There is a thumbnail picture to go with each profile section tab which is cute. The standard of quality for most pictures on JDate is very high. There's nothing worse than a vague profile with a blurry photo of what looks like the back of someone's head in a rainstorm. That said, we found that a lot of members had no profile picture on display and that you had to request a photo from a member to see what they looked like. However, there are also plenty of people who have uploaded photos, so this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Of course if you add a photo you’ll get a lot more attention as there’s less of a “blind date” risk.
Being informative and honest with profiles seems to attract other people to do the same, and JDate has created just the right atmosphere of openness. Think Facebook for the romantic Chosen Ones. There is the option of hiding your profile in searches and when you are online. You can also hide your photos from non members. You can include as little or as much information as you like, really allowing you to sell yourself. The site now asks for your religious sect / beliefs so you can really pin down a person with a similar belief system to you if that’s what you’re looking for.
Other notable features include Members Online, Chat Rooms, Message Boards, and E-Cards. We like these gimmicks and gizmos. They're fun and are creative ways of getting in touch and testing the water. For the intrepid daters there are adventure holidays for JDate singles, local events and speed dating near you. Events include trips to the theater, talks (e.g. The Future of the Legal Profession, California), and JDate Platinum Events (i.e. exclusive meals out, parties of 6-20 members, specially selected and invited by JDate). This is what makes JDate stand out from the crowd. The addition of an “events” section is welcomed as it allows members to organize events and potentially meet up offline.
JDate has a safe and exciting family feel, with smooth and friendly navigation and lots of nice looking Jewish boys and girls with good jobs and varied interests. The light-hearted mini documentary video clips on JTV are fun and make the online dating thing a bit less sterile or creepy than it can sometimes be. We've all been there! With JTV you see real people talking about their experiences on JDate and about dating in general in real situations. Why not check it out and see what all the fuss is about?
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