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Sex + Relationships

Why JSwipe Fails Jewish Dating

When I came to college, I expected to find a boyfriend. Then I realized that I go to a women’s college. I wanted to get the whole college experience, so I thought perhaps a relationship could help me find self-fulfillment, and also quash the relentless questioning from my mother on whether I found a “nice Jewish boy at Hillel.” 

A friend of mine suggested JSwipe, which is like Tinder but for Jews looking for other Jews. You can separate which denominations you are from and whether you are kosher or not, which is great because it makes everything so much easier. I thought JSwipe would be the answer to my prayers.

I was wrong.

I thought, like Tinder, there would be a diverse group of Jewish guys. After a long night of swiping away while watching The Bachelor, I ran out of guys in my area. Since I was unwilling to look for guys over my age range and outside my location range, I gave up on the app. I was, however, able to woo hundreds of others “Js” in my area.

Within my brief time swiping, I realized that Jewish Geography is real. When you have a community as small as Jews within a 10-mile radius, you either know the person, know of the person, or there is a very clear reason why you have no idea who this person is.

JSwipe guys end up being really, really categorical. You have your:

  • Guys who sit three rows in front of you in services, so you swipe right to see whether they recognize you. They don’t and think you’re interested in them; services get weird.

  • People from your respective youth group  

  • Oily men who could have prevented the Maccabees from ever needing a Hanukkah miracle

  • Guys who went on Birthright and will make sure you know that they went on Birthright

  • A strangely large proportion of Libertarians who will Ayn Rand at you

  • Dudes who have a shockingly large collection of flags

  • Guys with Magen Davids bigger than their faces (they are usually the same guys who take pleasure in saying the n-word in songs because they think it’s justified since “Gold Digger” is “just a song”)

  • 18-year-olds who are already going bald

  • Men with severe mommy issues

  • Men with severe compensation issues

  • Guys who have read only one book: Fight Club

  • Jared Kushner wannabes (pretty cringe-worthy)

  • Adam Sandler wannabes (somehow more cringe-worthy)

  • Guys who will tell you they will not go out with girls who wear pants, so they are just there to gawk and swipe

  • Men who are way too into those cruises for Russian Jews

If you are really lucky, then you can get a man who is a collection of all of these traits.

I don’t know what it is about JSwipe, but the men there are such a microcosm of stereotypes that I was immediately turned off. The Jewish guys my age that I know happen to usually be very nice and pleasant and I can’t figure out why the men of JSwipe are anything but that.

Even on other dating apps that are not traditionally geared towards Jewish dating, the Jewish men are completely normal. What is it about JSwipe that attracts unsavory guys? There have to be normal, single, Jewish guys.

What I’ve noticed is that a lot of the guys on JSwipe just don’t get it. When I do not respond, they will continually message me for the next 18 days with, “You still want to talk?” Obviously, I do not want to talk if I don’t respond for almost three weeks, but there seems to be a disconnect there.

On any dating app, there will be a gross level of people who will respond inappropriately to any single question. What is especially gross about JSwipe is that there is a level of religiosity in every single statement anyone says. I asked a guy what activities he was involved with on campus and he responded, “The only thing I want to do is part your Red Sea and get you so down and dirty that you need to go to the mikveh.” Number 1, he never answered my question. Does he not have any hobbies? Number 2, EWWWWWW.

I need to give him some props, though: the moment I read that, I felt dirty, tainted by his low self-esteem and inability to be a functioning human being. I want to expect better from Jewish guys because they’re members of the tribe. In a religion so consumed with laws of morality and being the best version of one’s self, JSwipe has found the worst examples of Jewish teachings. Plus, what would their mothers think?

JSwipe manages to play into every single Jewish stereotype and iconography possible, so honestly, I don’t think I can be angry that what I have found is exactly that: complete caricatures of Jewish men.

When you get a match, you get a variety of inherently Jewish images: a chair lift for a Jewish Wedding, a foot stomping on a glass also for a wedding, and the dreidel landing on gimmel, meaning that you are the big winner of the night. When you swipe right, a little Star of David appears to signal that you are making the best Jewish choice.

The bios pull out all the Jewish jokes and statements one could ever read. I don’t know how many times I have heard guys call themselves NJBs in their bios, say that they only eat bagels and lox, want to immediately bring you home to their mothers, call themselves mensches, talk about matzah ball soup, and refer to their testicles as matzah balls (which honestly ruined the soup I was eating while swiping).

In a place where everyone is Jewish (except those odd willing-to-convert folks) the Jewish-themed bios don’t need to happen. It’s not like Tinder or Bumble where there is that moment when you have to ask whether the other person is Jewish and hype yourself up as a Jew on your own bio. Most guys on other apps will talk about their interests, but the moment they get on JSwipe, they will only speak about their favorite Shofar Sound. The conversation of “are you Jewish?” does not have to happen, which makes me wonder why it still does. I’m guilty of this too, however; my bio reads “Yeshiva Boys Choir’s Biggest Fan.”

Until JSwipe is able to become the dating app it promotes itself to be, it’s time to say “shalom.”

Elizabeth Karpen

Columbia Barnard '22

Lizzie Karpen is a junior at Barnard College, the most fuego of women’s colleges, studying Political Science and English with a concentration in Film. To argue with her very unpopular opinions, send her a message at [email protected] or @lizziekarpen on Instagram and Twitter.
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