Online dating is very popular. imago/Panthermedia

As with most dating platforms, you can get started quickly: answer a few questions about yourself, your hobbies and character, age and profession, upload a photo, done. You are already included in the pool of those singles who are looking for a partner – perhaps one for life.

But the new JSG platform goes one step further with its questions. “Are your mother and maternal grandmother Jewish? Do you live kosher? Are you celebrating the Sabbath? ”JSG, started a few days ago by the Association of Jewish Congregations on the Gulf (AGJC), mediates Jewish singles in countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar. Whoever wants to use the services must disclose what role religion plays in his or her life.

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Dating via online dating is becoming increasingly popular

While online dating was more of a marginal phenomenon 10 or 20 years ago, online dating is becoming more and more popular. Large providers like Tinder, Badoo, Bumble and OK Cupid are considered mainstream in many countries. At the same time, the range of so-called niche dating is growing. The large pool of singles is getting smaller and filtered with a view to their athleticism, underlying illnesses, sexual orientation, love of animals or even their beliefs.

« Jewish dating is difficult even under ideal conditions, especially during Covid-19, » says Benjamin, who does not want to read his real name in the newspaper. Life in the Gulf countries, where comparatively few people of Jewish faith live, makes it “even more complex.” Benjamin moved from London to Dubai in 2019 for his job in finance and has been registered with JSG for a few days. For the 28-year-old, living Jewish means above all shared “values, interests and traditions”.

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Dating platforms for Jewish, Muslim and Christian singles

Muzmatch, which was founded in 2015 and claims to be the largest platform for Muslim singles worldwide, has four million members. Users can choose from 16 languages ​​and filter their counterparts based on religiosity, clothing and frequency of prayer. “Start your journey towards a wedding today”, advertises the app, which describes itself as “halal, free and funny”.

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Christian Mingle, who started as a website in the USA in 2001 and now has 15 million members, is even older. The aim is to lead Christian women and men into “loving relationships with God at the center of their lives, based on shared faith and love”, write the developers. Success stories of hundreds of happy couples are supposed to convince those who doubt whether the Internet can really be a collection point for true love.

In the almost two years of the pandemic, not only singles have had plenty of time to think about what is important to them in life and in a relationship. That is what people wanted to focus on now with a view to their lifestyle and values, said Julie Spira to the Wall Street Journal in the summer. Spira wrote a book on online dating and started a dating consultancy. In February, in a Germany survey by the digital association Bitkom, as many as 70 percent of those surveyed said they would not have met any new people without online dating during Corona.

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Individualized dating platforms are springing up like mushrooms

More and more specialized services are springing up from the app stores. Today there are dating platforms for active athletes (TeamUp), abstainers (Loosid), dog lovers (Dig), video game fans (Kippo), farmers (Farmer Flirt) and the rich (Luxy). Also for vegetarians (Veggly), single parents (NextLove), people over 50 years (SilberSingles) and motorcycle enthusiasts (Biker Planet).

Digital is therefore strongly coupled, mostly using an algorithm. JSG, on the other hand, relies on traditional « matchmakers » who view profiles and then submit partner suggestions. This is what JSG user Benjamin appreciates about the service. He gives the hesitant, who have so far not been able to bring themselves to online dating, on their way: “Why not? There is nothing to lose and everything to gain. « 

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