Swiping right on love
By Zach Colick
As anyone navigating the world of online dating will tell you, the experience of sifting through matches, going on dates and deciding whether the person sitting across from them is someone they hope to be with long term and potentially marry is difficult and confusing to say the least.
And despite the seemingly countless apps, websites and matchmaking services single men and women have at their disposal, the manner in which younger and older generations alike today are trying to find their bashert is not only challenging but also constantly changing.
“I think it’s the Wild West out there,” said David Yarus, the founder of JSwipe, during a recent phone interview. “Despite all these choices we have, we’re still lacking an established language and form of etiquette when it comes to dating, and because of this, people are getting hurt left and right.”
Yarus knows this firsthand. After moving to New York City in 2010 for a dream job and to meet a “nice Jewish girl,” he did what he thought was the best move for a young Jewish adult: find a place in the Upper West Side, hit up weekly Shabbat services and “join the Shul circuit.”
Alas, Yarus concedes at times it was socially awkward and uncomfortable trying to meet new people, let alone any desirable women. Around the same time, Tinder hit the market and “totally disrupted the technology people used for connecting with each other.” That’s when the idea sparked within Yarus to create a similar dating app intended for Jews.
“When people ask me how I started JSwipe, I jokingly but honestly say any Jewish person on Tinder at the time must have thought of the same idea,” said Yarus, noting JSwipe launched just six months after it was first conceptualized. “It was a combination of the right place, the right time and the right team, as well as a whole lot of luck, a whole lot of hustle and whole lot of blessing. It was a dream, and we made it happen.”
Yarus, who started what many describe as “the Jewish Tinder,” will help kick off Heart 2 Heart: A Celebration of Love, Connection and Discovery at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas. He will deliver a keynote presentation Thursday, Aug. 15 titled “Jewish Dating in an Online World: From JDate to JSwipe.”
“The ability to be at home, in your pajamas, watching Netflix and having access to all the Jewish singles in your immediate area, community and even around the world has powerfully transformed the way we go about meeting new people,” Yarus said. “For me and many others, it was an incredible shift from scarcity to abundance as far as finding new connections.”
Yet, despite building a successful business out of playing Cupid, Yarus is still looking for “the one.” He concedes apps like JSwipe are tools to spark a connection. Ultimately, however, he believes dating apps can create a different problem or challenge for people: “the paradox of choice.”
“People now have so many options that it becomes harder to choose,” Yarus said. “Today’s modern dating culture means going on multiple dates with different people. And while that’s certainly not a bad thing, many men and women are so confused even though they may not realize it.”
To that end, Yarus, who will share strategies and solutions about the complexities of dating for the modern dater, said it’s about moving conversations offline and seeing where that experience ultimately leads.
And despite dating largely being a personal, individual experience, Yarus also wants to drive home the point that “we’re all in this together.”
“This is a shared experience that we’re all going through,” he said. “By talking about our challenges and failures along the way, we give ourselves and others the tools, tactics and ideas to empower them to find the love they’re looking for.”