Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Gripe of the day

Researching some not-at-all-racy French-Jewish stuff, I find that every search having to do with Jews leads to ads, in one form or another, for beautiful Jewish women, Jewish dating services, Jewish matchmaking, etc., etc. What if you're looking for an academic article about Jews, but not a spouse, even a lovely one from the former Soviet Union? Is that so inconceivable? Or is this just a reminder that one cannot do any form of Jewish Studies without taking the role of matchmaking in Jewish life into account.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi! I've never commented on your blog before, but I've read it from time to time. And you finally got me curious enough to ask a question.

I'm admittedly one of the masses of goyim from the midwest who never met a jew until going to college...so I'm utterly ignorant. But is matchmaking still a big part of modern jewish culture? Inquiring minds and all...

Petey said...

Phoebe writes:

"I find that every search having to do with Jews leads to ads, in one form or another, for beautiful Jewish women, Jewish dating services, Jewish matchmaking, etc., etc. What if you're looking for an academic article about Jews, but not a spouse, even a lovely one from the former Soviet Union? Is that so inconceivable?"

Anonymous writes:

"I'm admittedly one of the masses of goyim from the midwest who never met a jew until going to college...so I'm utterly ignorant. But is matchmaking still a big part of modern jewish culture? Inquiring minds and all..."

Phoebe may be a hasid, but more assimilated Jews don't necessarily identify dating with matchmaking.

Attractiveness can be its own reward.

Phoebe said...

I don't understand Petey's comment, so I'll address anonymous: yes, matchmaking is a HUGE part of Jewish culture. Especially on Birthright Israel, but almost every (non-Hasidic) Jewish-oriented event is secretly or openly designed to create couples. It's not precisely matchmaking, fine, but the idea is not so far off. Assimilated Jews, to use Petey's term, date like anyone else, but the second they (we) arrive at a Jewish event, the subtext (or, well, text) suddenly appears.

Withywindle said...

JSTOR searches ... Project Muse searches ...

Phoebe said...

I think this was a Project Muse search, but through NYU. I don't remember exactly how the ad popped up--it could have just been when emailing myself the article PDF.

Withywindle said...

How bizarre. If they're going to have matchmaking ads on academic journal databases, I suggest: "UD [Untenured Derridean] seeks UF [Untenured Foucauldian] to MC [Manage Conference], EA [Edit Articles] for SP [Subsequent Publication]. Must have RG/UF [Research Grant/University Funding] and PLOFT [Profound Love Of French Theory]. ILG [Ivy League Graduate] preferred."

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to think of other minorities which have maintained themselves in larger cultures for long periods - Parsees come to mind, and gypsies, Chinese in Indonesia and elsewhere overseas, South Asian merchants in Polynesia and Africa. And now Muslims in Europe, sending their citizen daughters back for arranged marriages in Pakistan and bringing back the cousin-husband.
To the extent I know about them, they are all focused on encouraging marriages within the group. dave.s.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, the groups you mention are all pretty much ethnic as opposed to religious groups, i.e., you can't convert to Chinese. Does this mean you see Jews as an ethnic as opposed to a religious minority?
--EH

Angelica said...

A Jewish-oriented event is not exactly matchmaking, as you've said. In fact, it is not matchmaking at all. Matchmaking involves an outside party matching two people using criteria like status, wealth, family background, literacy/education, etc. in order to initiate meetings that will create successful long lasting unions. At a Jewish-oriented event, young people meet each other and decide for themselves who to date, using their own values as criteria and more often than not choosing the absolutely wrong people for them, which leads to more events and more searching. Certainly not matchmaking by any means.

Phoebe said...

It's matchmaking for the modern age. The traditional sort would be all but impossible for large groups of singles who do not live with their families. Or, to be precise, it falls somewhere between matchmaking and dating. There's clearly a spectrum, from the 12-year-old married off against her will to a 50-year-old man to Romeo and Juliet. Going to a Jewish event to find a Jewish spouse is voluntary behavior of adults; that Jewish organizations think in terms of 'singles' comes in part from continuity of the Jewish-matchmaking tradition.

PG said...

Identifying people as single versus married, and putting all the single people into one space for social purposes, pretty much inherently is some kind of matchmaking. But to make it more recognizable, here, have a questionnaire about whether you need your spouse to be a doctor or if you would settle for a mere lawyer or engineer.