Dear Jewish Mothers everywhere,
Things have changed since you were young. Finding a 'nice Jewish boy' is now about as easy as finding 'a nice studio apartment for under $1,500 in NYC.' So if you're wondering why your super smart, successful, beautiful perfect goddess of a daughter is still on the market, I have your answer.
Last year, my matchmaking service, Dating Ring, stirred up some controversy when we flew a group of women cross country. We did this because we realized there were twice as many single women in New York, and almost the opposite problem in San Francisco. It was mostly a joke, on our part. But after just one weekend, two out of the 16 women ended up moving across the country for love! I wish I had better numbers to back up just how insane this is, but even without them, just trust me -- it is.
OK, so, we get it. The numbers aren't great for New York women. But while this is starting to become more known, we haven't even begun to examine how this affects women with limiting filters -- like religion.
Out of our New York women, 19% identify as Jewish, and out of our New York men, 13% identify as Jewish -- that means there are nearly 50% more Jewish women than men in our database. There are a number of possible explanations for this -- maybe women are just more likely to be religious, or Jewish women are more likely to join our service. But regardless of the reason, this imbalance, added to the already uneven gender imbalance, does not create a pretty picture for single Jewish women in New York.
For every Jewish man in New York in our database, there are 3.5 Jewish women. So think of it as a Shabbat dinner, where there are two single Jewish guys, and seven women vying for their attention.
If we go back a decade or two, this huge imbalance may not have played such a large role. People were much less likely to have a sense of the overall dating market. Before online dating was huge, your options were limited to those who lived close to you, or who you knew through family, friends or work.
But due to the popularity of online dating apps, there is a lot less friction in the online dating market. This means that a nice but not special Jewish boy knows he has tons of options because of all of the matches he sees every day on Tinder or JSwipe. This mashup of the scarcity of Jewish men + the availability of Jewish women via dating apps = a fantasy dream world for guys, and a nightmare for women.
A common thing I hear as a matchmaker is that people would prefer to just 'wait' until the right guy comes along. But here's the thing -- with this big of a gender imbalance, it is very likely that this 'right' guy will never come along. Dating, like anything else, is a market. The more options guys have, the pickier they become. Basically, with the Jewish guy as a rare commodity, a guy who is a 5 can date a woman who is a 6 -- or even a 7 or 8. So a totally fine and smart Jewish woman may stay on the market a very long time, unless she's willing to 'settle' for a guy of 'lesser' dating value.
So what can be done about this? Well, a few things.
- You're setting religion as a deal breaker -- even though you aren't religious. For people who are very religious, I totally understand that Judaism is a deal breaker. But for those who are secular AND who must marry someone Jewish, my suggestion is to change this deal breaker. Be open to both Jewish men, and to men who don't identify with any religion. If your main reason for wanting to date someone Jewish is so that you can raise Jewish children, you're in luck! According to the Torah, only the mother has to be Jewish. And there are tons of guys who will be fine with raising their kids Jewish; don't write them all off at the beginning of the process.
So, that's my schpiel. Dating is hard, and dating is especially hard for Jewish women in NY. But rather than kvetching, use this knowledge to make more informed dating decisions. Don't just sit around waiting for your Jewish knight in shining armor to show up.