Strictly Soulmates: The BBC's kosher dating show

Lonely hearts break dating taboo by looking for love in front of millions of viewers.

By Marcus Dysch, February 9, 2012
Not my scene: Jason Goldstein on a speed-date. Sadly, this girl wanted a partner with a full head of hair

Not my scene: Jason Goldstein on a speed-date. Sadly, this girl wanted a partner with a full head of hair

It was once taboo to admit in public you're struggling to find a date.

But that didn't stop three Jewish twentysomethings taking the dramatic step of looking for love in full view of millions of TV viewers.

Jason Goldstein, Richard Ludwig and Natalie Samuel agreed to take part in a BBC documentary exploring the difficulties faced by singles looking for love within their own religion.

The trio will appear in Strictly Soulmates on BBC Three next Thursday. Previous episodes have followed Evangelical Christians, Muslims and Hindus.

The Jewish episode's central theme is how to find a partner with a similar level of religious belief.

Viewers will see the participants attend a Jewish speed-dating event, trawl JDate and discuss relationships over Friday night dinner with their parents and grandparents.

Other young Jewish professionals talk about their experiences and Rabbi Shmuel Lew of Chabad provides an explanation of the Torah's view of intermarriage.

Mr Goldstein, from Gants Hill, Essex, said: "I wanted to give my views on why I want to marry someone Jewish. Coming from Essex it's hard to meet someone Jewish but I don't believe people should marry out. They should do whatever it takes to find someone from within the community."

The cameras travelled to California with the 24-year-old to see whether he could find a date among fellow Camp America leaders.

He said: "All I wanted to do was be positive and give the right impression of the community. The filming was hard work - but it was a great experience."

Glasgow-born Ms Samuel, 22, was filmed working for the Union of Jewish Students, talking to colleagues about relationships and taking part in a speed-dating event. She was even filmed going on a date.

She said the documentary was an opportunity to highlight what she believes is a taboo subject in the Jewish community.

She said: "Our community has an attitude to dating where no one wants to be open about it. People told me that going on the show was a bad idea and that it would be embarrassing.

"But there's nothing wrong with going on a bad date or liking someone and them not liking you back.

"I wanted to give people an accurate portrayal of what the Jewish community is like. I wanted to dispel some of the myths about Jews."

Accountant Mr Ludwig appeared in the ITV game show Take Me Out last year. In Strictly Soulmates cameras follow him preparing for his first ever Jewish blind date.

He says: "I have pulled good-looking girls before, but Jewish girls intimidate me. I'm a bit of a klutz; some people find it endearing, others just think I'm a muppet."

Mr Ludwig, originally from Manchester, later struggles with the possibility of entering a relationship with a non-Jewish woman and his fears over how his parents might react.

Rabbi Harvey Belovski of Golders Green Synagogue offers the trio vital tips, including warning them to avoid eating spaghetti on dates.

And Yonni Usiskin, the Jewish producer of the documentary, also introduced Ms Samuel to an Orthodox matchmaker,in an attempt to find her a partner.

Last updated: 1:22pm, February 9 2012