JDate advertises itself as ‘the first and largest Jewish dating community’, and prompts you to ‘find your soulmate’ using the site.
That tells you most of what you need to know about what JDate is built for. Clearly, this is not a hookup site, and it’s not a place to mess about if you have no interest in meeting a Jewish date.
That being said, not everyone on JDate is looking for marriage. And maybe that’s where the ‘community’ aspect comes in — plenty of JDate users are looking for friends, friends who could become something more, or casual dates.
JDate is a way to find like-minded singles in your area, wherever that happens to be and whatever ‘likeminded’ means to you, as long as you have some connection to Judaism. Want to try JDate? Sign up here.
Does JDate Work?
JDate has a great track record, and with 23 years in business, we can be pretty sure it works.
As it’s a large dating site with a lot of features, what ‘working’ means can vary from user to user. You will definitely find matches to chat to, have fun with and probably date. From there, as ever, it’s up to you!
If you want solid proof that JDate is effective, JDate offers a JLife page with tons of research on the success of the site. To summarise the findings of independent research group ResearchNow who were tasked with digging into JDate’s statistics, more Jewish marriages began on JDate than on all other Jewish dating sites combined. In fact, even the president of Match.com has used JDate!
If you’re going to use a Jewish dating site, then JDate should absolutely be your first stop. Hopefully it’ll be your last, too.
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Of course, JDate doesn’t only have to stand up to other Jewish dating sites. There are hundreds of dating site options out there, so JDate needs to prove itself capable in a pretty big pool!
I’ve spent hours on the site checking out all its features, both basic and premium, so that I can give you a clear overview of what JDate offers. I’ll let you in on the secrets of JDate, from building your profile to understanding your matches and making contact.
First, let’s start with JDate’s users.
JDate User Overview
Unusually, JDate’s user base covers a wide range of age groups.
The 24-35 age range and 55+ range are the two individual largest age groups (So… first marriages and second, perhaps?) but every age from mid-twenties on is well represented.
Most JDate users are female to the tune of 57% female and 43% male. This is reasonably unusual in a dating site, with the high proportion of female users probably down to the level of trust they have in both JDate and its parent company, Spark Networks. JDate itself has pretty robust security, with mandatory profile pictures that are checked by moderators, email sign up and extensive profiles.
Overall, whatever age and gender of match you’re looking for on JDate you’re very likely to find several suitable options.
It’s easy and free to sign up for JDate, though there are options to create a very detailed profile.
Initially, you can create an account with either your Google or Facebook accounts or an email and password. You then create a username and give JDate your location. You have to supply a profile picture and this will be authenticated. It must be a picture of your face, so if you’re camera shy then JDate might not be for you!
You’ll be prompted to complete your profile after signup, but you can skip the steps after the profile picture. The skip button is small, but it is there! Check the top right corner of the pop up on screen.
You can begin looking for matches right away or go on to complete your JDate profile to find someone even more suited to you.
Making Your JDate Profile
You can edit your profile at any time, though you’ll be prompted to do it first thing. I like to have a look around a site before I perfect my profile so that I can get a feel for the vibe, but maybe that’s just me! If you’re new at this and you think you need help with what to write in your bio, check out my free list of 50 hilarious bios.
JDate tells you what percentage of your profile you have filled out at any given time. This might be so you know how long it takes you, or perhaps it’s intended to guilt you into filling the whole thing out ASAP!
Apart from the first profile picture, the easiest part of your profile on JDate is your interests. Simply pick from a whole list of interests in several categories including ‘sports and fitness’, ‘activities’, and ‘eats and drinks’.
The ‘About Me’ section is also simple, but also really quite in-depth. There’s the option of adding a bio telling your matches who you are and what you’re looking for. On JDate, these bios are usually taken quite seriously. You can fill others in on what you’re looking for in a relationship, but also what you do for work, your hobbies and your religious or spiritual beliefs. Of course, you’re also welcome to be a little flirty and a little silly! Just make sure there’s a little substance beneath it.
As well as the bio there are questions to answer about all the usual serious-dating-site concerns. Physical appearance. Do you have or want kids. College. Pets. Drinking and smoking habits. Less typical, though, are the questions about religion. Do you attend Synagogue, for example, and do you keep kosher?
Your discovery preferences determine what you want your matches filtered by. The automatic options you’re asked to choose are age range, gender, and distance from your location. You can also add advanced preferences, including height, religion, relationship type and everything else that users are asked to choose in their ‘About Me’ section, bar the bio of course.
You can add up to 5 photos to your JDate profile in addition to your profile picture. The site doesn’t accept suggestive or offensive images, so keep your nudes for later! At least one photo must clearly show your face.
Other People’s JDate Profiles
Viewing other people’s profiles on JDate is simple. When you click through from their profile picture in Browse or Matches you’ll see a layout much like your own profile preview, though the location and bio are at the top to draw the eye.
You can see what users are looking for, their interests and their profile picture with a couple of clicks. There’s also the option to like them, wink at them (this is called sending a ‘flirt’ in JDate terms), or message them. Unfortunately messaging is limited to premium members, as is seeing other members’ pictures beyond their profile pic.
Matches or Compatibility
JDate offers you a selection of daily matches, but these are limited. Don’t worry, though, you can also browse users by distance from you, who’s new to the site, who’s online, or match %. Match percentage is based on questions you answered on your profile and your preferences and interests, though JDate’s exact formula seems to be proprietary!
Lookbook is the final option for finding users you want to get to know on Jdate. This is their swiping game; every serious dating site has one these days! You get the profile picture, basic info, and bio of users at random and can either like or dislike them with a click (or a swipe).
I quickly found a lot of profiles on JDate that interested me. The users genuinely seemed to be my type, and we had a lot in common.
But what to do next? How you make contact on JDate?
So, here’s the issue: you can’t message JDate users unless you pay for premium!
For all intents and purposes, the free version of JDate works more as a teaser for the whole thing than anything else. Luckily, JDate Premium is a trustworthy site so handing over your credit card details shouldn’t worry you at all.
You can reply to messages sent by Messaging+ as a free JDate user. Messaging+ messages can be sent by premium members to anyone, and can also be replied to even by free users. So if you really don’t want to shell out for even a month of membership, you can cross your fingers and hope a paid-up member takes a real shine to you!
JDate’s app is clean, well-designed, and usable. The LookBook feature works well on the app of course, but everything is easy to use and smooth. Profiles are easy to navigate and easy to read on a small phone screen. Of course, the app has the same issue as the site if you’re a nonpaying member: you can’t contact matches!
JDate Free is a fun intro to the site, and it lets you see how many potential dates there are in your area and whether they’re a good potential match for you before you make a commitment. Profiles are full and informative, and the rules about profile pictures mean you can really see what everyone looks like (and whether you like the look of them)! Unfortunately, there’s no way of contacting your matches without upgrading. Which I suppose brings me on to what the Premium service has to offer…
The premium account option on JDate offers not only unlimited messaging but also a whole slew of additional features. You’ll gain access to all users’ photos, be able to see who liked and viewed you, get read receipts on messages, and gain the ability to browse anonymously. That last one will be helpful when you want to look at those pictures again without seeming like a creep, or check that your match said they were into cycling before you make a complicated joke about the Tour de France.
Premium members also get to use Message+, meaning that they can send messages to anyone on the site whether or not those people have premium memberships themselves. Essentially, membership opens up JDate to you in its entirety!
Of course, with such a jump in usability when you opt for premium membership, you’d expect a hefty price tag. Lets look into that.
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The first thing to acknowledge is that JDate isn’t cheap.
These are large sums of money, there’s no denying that, but it can be argued that spending upfront at least gets it over with and you won’t be surprised by a hefty direct debit each month!
JDate Value for Money
Compared to some dating sites, JDate is expensive. That being said, the price tag cements it as a very serious dating site. You get a solid set of features all genuinely designed to help you connect with your matches, and for many people that will be worth the money. JDate is a highly trusted site, and the price of premium also reflects that. There is a feeling of ‘you get what you pay for’ with JDate.
Real-Life Success and Reviews
As J-Date has been around for such a long time there are plenty of real-life stories and reviews to choose from. These run the gamut from basic members aghast at the lack of messaging and the price of premium to 5-star reviews from couples in love!
In fact, JLife, JDate’s extensive blog, has a whole ‘Real Life’ page of success stories. They also follow success stories on their social media — including JDate marriages and even JDate babies! Of course, these are straight from JDate and Spark, so they’re going to be positive, but they are genuine. Until 2019, in fact, JLife features monthly interviews with successful couples who met on the site. Lauren said, of her partner Sanford:
‘Sanford was the first date I ever went on while being on Jdate. He picked me up and we went out for sushi. We immediately hit it off and had great conversation and chemistry. I know it was true love a month and a half after we started dating we went on a weekend gateway to Asheville, NC and had a beautiful evening while enjoying drinks overlooking the Smoky Mountains.’
A more balanced review from JDate user, Claudette, reads:
‘For anyone who’s looking for a serious relationship with a Jewish partner, JDate is for you! Although the downside of the app is that you have to spend a lot to be able to connect with potential matches, but the results are great!’
So, user conclusions seem to match mine overall! It’s not cheap, but JDate is worth the money.
JDate has an extensive ‘Help’ section on the site, but if you can’t find the answer to your question in their FAQs or searchable database you can get in touch through email. A number is harder to track down, but messages are usually answered promptly and can include a screenshot of your problem.
JDate is a great site for serious daters. You don’t have to be looking for the one necessarily, but you do need to be genuinely looking for some kind of connection or else the cost simply isn’t worth it.
As I said earlier, the free version of the site is really just a taster and as your profile takes quite a while to fill out it is important that you know the limits of being an unpaid member before you sink time into it!
In many ways, JDate feels like a classic dating site experience. People are pretty open, and most are really looking to connect. Despite the addition of modern features, this is a site that has kept to its founding values of community and making genuine matches since its founding 23 years ago. That’s pretty impressive, but obviously it’s not what everyone online is looking for!
JDate is an exceptionally trustworthy site, partially because if its high price point and partially because it’s pretty niche. Whatever the mechanics behind it, though, this trustworthiness is pretty comforting.
If you’re looking to meet real people, and Judaism plays some part in your life, then I would definitely recommend JDate. You can try JDate for free here.