What makes particular dating advice Jewish? Does Jewish dating advice mean that the advice was given by someone of the Jewish faith, or is there something intrinsically Jewish about the content of the advice?
Jewish dating doesn’t seem to be much different in substance than general dating. Sure the food eaten might be kosher and the big night out Saturday instead of Friday, but rest of the dating process is the same. But should it be?
If Jewish dating is based on fundamental Jewish moral and ethical principles, then it should be a lot different than ordinary modern dating. Modern dating in today’s world often revolves around the quest for self satisfaction above all. The primary goal of dating for many singles is to get what they want as quickly and as easily as possible with as few strings attached as possible. That’s why most dating advice books focus on teaching men and women how to attract and manipulate partners.
This is particularly true for books targeting men, for good reason. It would seem that men today have one dating goal in mind and no, it’s not to build a committed relationship with a good woman (use your imagination). As a result, women are being taught how to use rules and tactics to manipulate men into committing to relationships. Even if both parties finally do get together, it’s unclear what the end game is. Is the goal to date for a few years and then live together until one party finally pressures the other into marriage or breakup?
Jewish dating is different, or at least it should be. Jewish dating advice is based on kindness, respect and sensitivity. While the goal of dating is to find the “right one”, that process doesn’t supersede the responsibility of both parties to treat one another with sensitivity and respect.
Jewish dating must be based on honesty. While there are certain things that do not need to be disclosed, blatant lying about basic personal information or cheating are clearly against Jewish principles. Embarrassing or abusing a dating partner (or anyone for that matter), or hiding one’s true intention in order to manipulate or deceive a dating partner into doing what you want them to do is clearly forbidden.
Finally, the ultimate goal of Jewish dating is marriage. Therefore, all Jewish dating advice must steer the inquirer in that direction, even if that means ending a current relationship that isn’t moving in the right direction.
Unfortunately, online dating sites aren’t doing enough to stop members from lying about their personal information, posting false or outdated photos, or using their sites as vehicles for quick hook ups instead of long lasting relationships. Jewish dating sites should be doing more to represent Jewish values. It’s time to put back the “Jewish” before dating.