Jewish dating rules vary from family to family and from sect to sect. People who are more religious tend to be more modest and follow traditionally Jewish customs. Those who are less religious, and perhaps more culturally than religiously Jewish, tend to be more relaxed on the dating rules. Read on to find out the most important Jewish dating rules:
Though we think this is probably a good policy no matter who you’re dating, Jews take manners and feelings very seriously. It’s important to give the proper attention to a date (yes, that means leaving your phone in your pocket). There isn’t as much emphasis on instant chemistry. Traditionally, Jewish men and women look for a more practical bond. They want shared values, intellect, and other similarities to be there, and are open to the fact that love may grow over time rather than occur instantly on the first date.
Modesty is important in Jewish culture. Orthodox Jews are very modest and have specific rules for attire and behavior. Reform Jews are more secular but still tend to be on the more modest side. And there are some interesting traditional views about men and women who spend time together; in some sects, simply being alone with a member of the opposite sex can be considered a sexual act. This is not necessarily a common belief, and most modern Jews who are less strict and traditional would probably be surprised to learn about this. If you’re not sure what sect your date belongs to, if any, we think the best policy is always to ask.
Traditionally, Jewish people dated to get married, rather than for fun. In modern times, this has changed a little, but most Jewish dating sites are still geared toward long-term commitments and marriage. Not ready for marriage? Have the conversation early to set expectations and avoid confusion or hurt feelings.
In Jewish culture, family, and especially mothers, are very important. Since Judaism is matrilineal, meaning that it is passed down on the mother’s side to her children, mothers are usually pretty involved in the lives of their children. Even if your date’s mother isn’t running their dating life, chances are that their mother’s say and opinion carry a lot of weight. We’ve even heard of cases where a Jewish mother runs their kid’s JDate account.
A very strict orthodox Jew may not be willing to date someone who isn’t Jewish, though this is much less common amongst other sects. Many Jewish people, regardless of how closely they follow traditional beliefs and customs, believe in marrying another Jews for their shared cultural beliefs and family values. Again, if you’re not sure what the case is for your date, just ask. If you’re already on a date together, we think you probably have a shot!
As with any type of dating, listening is very important. For many Jewish people, there’s an emphasis on courtesy and being open to what others have to say. Since there won’t necessarily be an expectation of an instant connection, Jewish people take time to listen and get to know each other. Be prepared to stay focused on the date. Basic kindness and courtesy go a long way in the Jewish community.