Is Jewish matchmaking relevant in an age of dating apps?

We spoke with matchmakers and contestants on Netflix's "Jewish Matchmaking" to learn more.
(Photo: Getty Images)

Around 30% of U.S. adults have tried using dating apps, with varying amounts of success. Today, meeting a partner online is the most popular way of meeting someone.

Still, matchmakers and contestants on Netflix’s “Jewish Matchmaking” show interviewed by Unpacked agreed that apps are probably not the most effective way to meet one’s bashert (soulmate).

Read more about how Jewish matchmaking works.

Daniella Rudoff, a matchmaker based in Beit Shemesh, Israel, emphasized that her matchmaking approach, including personalized coaching, is what sets her services apart from dating apps.

Rudoff believes that many issues that could potentially end relationships otherwise can be worked through with her mentorship and coaching. This process, she said, fosters more robust relationships and teaches critical problem-solving skills. 

“I get to know each person, so it’s very effective. I’m able to really be there when the couple has an issue — when it could not work for somebody otherwise, I’m able to help iron out the issue,” she said.

Aleeza Ben Shalom, the host of the Netflix show, told NBC that, unlike dating apps, she can help people sift through the sheer number of choices and pick people who fit their criteria. 

“I like that people narrow in on what they want, and then look for specific details that would help them find that person, which means you’re going to say no to about 90% of the people. We’re going to filter and look at about 10% so that you don’t get dating fatigue or burn out,” Ben Shalom said.

Alessandra Conti, owner of Matchmakers in the City based in Beverly Hills, added:

“In a meeting between a client and a matchmaker, critical questions are brought up that many are curious to ask on a first date, but avoid asking, such as moral values that are important to us as a partner, religious affiliation, political opinion, and even how many children we want. A matchmaker filters these questions in advance and saves a lot of headaches.”

Content creator and “Jewish Matchmaking” star Cindy Seni, who has also hosted videos for Unpacked, also said that dating coaching is what makes matchmaking different and special. But giving up a bit of control in the dating process is truly what makes matchmaking stand out — for better or for worse. 

“You’re not really choosing, it’s the matchmaker that chooses. When you’re going out on your own, you’re choosing who you want, and you see [the person] in front of you and you’re like yes,” Seni said of the difference between matchmaking and dating apps.

“Here, you’re presented with [someone] and it’s either you take a risk or you don’t, but you don’t have 100% of the initial choice.”

“Jewish Matchmaking” participant Alyssa Lezerrovici said that much of online dating and dating apps is trial and error and people aren’t able to figure out whether they’re compatible online. 

“In today’s world, we are choosing people purely based on looks on the apps. We have absolutely no knowledge about the person, other than how they look. You end up going out with those people and figuring out that you have absolutely nothing in common, other than you find each other attractive,” she said.

“When you’re looking for a relationship, you want way more than that — you actually want someone who is compatible with you in every possible way,” she added.

Influencer and matchmaker Lizzy Savetsky emphasized the importance of in-person interactions not only in dating, but also in daily life. She said that the connection and understanding achieved through direct, personal conversation cannot be substituted by digital platforms like FaceTime or Zoom.

The Bashert creator said that the expansive pool of potential matches on dating apps can make it difficult for people to commit. She advocates for matchmaking, as it offers a selection of potential matches who have been pre-vetted.

“When people have limitless options at their fingertips, it doesn’t do them many favors, because human beings by nature are indecisive and are always looking for something better,” she said.

Another matchmaker, who preferred to remain anonymous, agreed with Savetsky’s assessment, saying: “There’s always going to be an attitude that maybe there’s something better.”

“Everybody can get a date on a dating app,” he added. ”The apps can work as long as you’re realistic. Matchmakers see this as a law of large numbers. The law of large numbers means the apps will give you as many dates as possible and one of them will hit them, you’ll be fine.”

However, the matchmaker said that this process can be emotionally draining and may span several years due to the initial lack of information about the person one is meeting on a date. 

“When I speak with clients, they often tell me, ‘I don’t need 10 dates. I just need the one or two that make me feel that I’m actually getting closer to the one.'”

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