Netflix's "Jewish Matchmaking" to the Rescue
The new Netflix series "Jewish Matchmaking" deserves my appreciation, but probably not for the reasons you think. I already knew a great deal about the mission of shadchanim [matchmakers] whose work entails finding, vetting, and setting up potential mates. And I also knew that the novelty of Jewish dating apps [like JDate and JSwipe] has tarnished over the years.
But what watching almost 5 complete episodes of this series did for me was give me an optimistic window into the Jewish future. Aleeza ben Shalom's [the matchmaker] clients come to her because they want a Jewish mate--specifically and only. No matter what their past experiences have been, or where they've been looking for love in the past. Now, they're connecting with Aleeza because they want a Jewish home with someone who might share the same culture, family experiences, values, etc. Sure, differences in approach come up, like between Sephardic and Ashkenazi values, but they are peripheral.
Many singles talk openly about their desire to have children, some who want multiple children...even four or even six. Of course, this doesn't put a dent into the dire prediction by the Pew Research Center that "...the share of the world’s population that is Jewish – 0.2% – is expected to remain about the same in 2050 as it was in 2010."
The clients are not the typical ones you might have seen on Jewish-themed Netflix shows before, like Srugim or Shtisel...both shows about Modern and UltraOrthodox people in Israel. These clients engage with all parts of society and share openly and honestly what their dating and love experiences have been like. For all the gloom and doom that I regularly read, mostly about the demise of Judaism, this show injects me with an optimism that I haven't experienced in quite a while. Young, attractive, unattached Jews are looking to continue their Jewish traditions despite the obstacles that are part of today's social-media, self-oriented world. Kol Hakavod to Netflix, thanks for this, I needed it.