Here at NYJew Local, finding love is hard. Our mothers want us to find the loves of our young lives immediately, and we want that too, but we also want to be cool and try to dance like no one watching.
So if we’re considering Jewish internet dating, we only had J-Date, a billboard of I WANT CHILDREN RIGHT NOW (True story: this reporter’s dad found his step-mom on JDate. They have two children. Ugh).
Launching today, in flourish of Drake rapping over dubstep klezmer, is JSpot.
JSpot declares that the site is for “all you sexy Jooz deserve a dating site that reflects who you are.” Oh really now? We’ve been burned before, and that’s why we’re on the site in the first place. On the surface, it seems like OKMoses; a free Jewish dating site that’s more casual for the 2013 crowd. But there seems to be some real heart behind the computer screen. “[It’s] a dating site that’s comfortable and fun, like a great house party, “ said co-founder and CEO Elissa Shevinsky over e-mail. “Other sites can feel creepy. I don’t like getting messages from guys 20 years older than me saying ‘hey sexy.’ Meshuganah stuff like that happens much less often on JSpot, because we really care about making this a great community.”
The no-douchebags policy comes through once you get inside. JSpot sports probably the first spam filter in the history of online dating. How has no one thought of this before? We’re on G-Mail all the time. There’s also more mensches than ladies signed up, so the JSpot staff are striving to be extremely selective in their beta tests. “This makes it better not only for girls but for the nice guys too. Once girls can relax and feel comfortable, they’ll be more receptive to getting messages from guys who they might really like,” says Shevinsky. Not only that, you can only get 18 matches per day. Not only is the site making dating back into the fun thing we hoped it would be, but users will no longer be scrolling and clicking furiously for romance.
Another key feature working for JSpot is the simplicity of getting involved. Unlike the hours devoted to crafting and curating the perfect profile, (looking at you, OKCupid), starting the Jewish lovin’ is very quick. The website quickly verifies you via Facebook, so your picture is already there. Then fill out a few simple questions: Job, Jewey Style/Affiliation, Relationship, Interested In, and 100 characters for “Ask Me About.”
The brilliance is in the drag bars, where you can gauge your sexual preference – from heterosexual to homosexual, and all sorts of flexibility in between – and How Jewey Are You? This is where the JSpot crew is hitting it right on the nose (or the heart). There is a simultaneous acceptance and complication about being Jewish and being a sexual being. Jews in NYC are looking for love, and its hard to put it all three boxes; sometimes the three micrometers of a mouse pad drag is what someone needs to put their truest self out there.
You’d think that this casualness of love and Jewery might shut out more Orthodox and other uber-observant sects of Judaism, but Shevinsky is confident in the new site’s Chassidic pulling power. “I think the way to do this is to show secular Jews stuff that they care about (like lifestyle quizzes that aren’t afraid to ask about drugs and sexuality) and show Orthodox folks stuff that’s meaningful for them (like kosher observance and yeshiva background.) Then it’s about matching up Orthodox people only with other Orthodox people. So the sexed up secular Jews who are my early adopters will still see tattooed up boys and girls in miniskirts as matched. Making sure people only see people who they’re interested in is pretty easy to do.”
The site launches in beta today, also known as I’m Extremely Vulnerable From Valentine’s Day Day. Check out the beta at https://joinjspot.com/. What do you have to lose? You might find the curly-haired, super-hip lover you’ve always wanted.