Life & Culture

J-Swipe founder may be a matchmaker but he's still looking for love

Despite launching thousands of successful relationships the 31 year-old American, who started “the Jewish Tinder” remains single.


David Yarus is responsible for thousands of Jewish couples getting together.

The founder of dating app JSwipe has achieved what community leaders dream of and is 100 times more successful at making the perfect match than your mother.

But the 31 year-old American, who started what’s been described as “the Jewish Tinder” with a view to solving his own love life issues, remains single.

He says: “I moved to New York to meet a Jewish girl. I was going to temple, I was doing all the things you’re meant to do like hosting Shabbat and going to events, but I always found it was so awkward.

“No one was connecting with people — they were just there checking each other out.”

While Tinder was working well for the general market, “Jewish users of Tinder found it hard to specify what they were looking for.”

It was after one too many awkward encounters that Mr Yarus and his three co-founders set up JSwipe in a warehouse in Williamsburg, in Brooklyn.

“We just felt it was awkward when it came to saying you wanted to date someone Jewish. When do you say it and can you really say that?

“All my friends who wanted to connect with other Jews felt the same thing as me, so starting JSwipe made sense,” he says.

The app launched in 2014 over Passover and Mr Yarus was confident that through it, he would not only help others find a Jewish partner, but also find the right Jewish girl himself.

However, four years later — much to his mother’s disappointment and partly down to the app’s success — he is still single.

“I’m still searching,” he says. “My mum asks me all the time if I have met anyone yet and am I dating? I don’t feel frustrated that I haven’t because I’ve been so busy with work I haven’t been in one place long enough to meet someone.

He has indeed been very busy. JSwipe was famously bought by Spark Networks, the owners of rival website JDate.

The merger took place after a very public battle which saw JDate suing JSwipe over the use of the letter “J” in its name.

JSwipe was purchased for $7m and today Mr Yarus has joined the rival app as its global ambassador, tasked with updating its image.

He travels around the world visiting Jewish communities and assessing their needs when it comes to providing opportunities for young singles to meet.

And despite once claiming JDate was an “outdated organisation” with “an outdated business model,” he is excited about his role and says there is space in the market for both apps.

“JDate serves a very different purpose. It has been around for 20 years and it set the scene. They were the creators of the dating space and have been responsible for tens of thousands of marriages in the Jewish world. It is amazing to work with a brand like that.”

He says his own app might be more suitable to those who are just “dipping their foot” into the dating world while JDate users are older and set on finding “the one”.

One thing he has learned from engaging with different communities is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to Jewish dating.

“One of the more universal issues people have is that they already know all of the singles in their community,” he says.

But other issues include communities where the establishments have lost touch with the needs of their younger members, and the lack of religious involvement among the younger generation.

“In certain communities parents are really pressuring young people to meet someone, but increasingly younger generations are getting married later.

“There are also new communities to cater for, like LGBTQ. And things change as Jewish identity evolves.

“We are experiencing the least traditionally observant Jews that we have seen.”

He argues that the danger with online apps is that they often present people with “too much choice.

It is important that people set themselves a purpose. They have to have the courage to show up and commit to that experience.

“People go on the apps and they forget why they did. If they meet someone they like talking to and want to take it further then they should focus on that and not wonder what else is out there. Give things a chance.”

For Mr Yarus, sacrificing his own quest for love has been worth it to see the matches his app has helped bring about.

“It is so humbling. I feel moved every time I hear a story about people who have met though the app,” he says.

“I love the stories where people have met up internationally. I love the idea of love and it triumphing over adversity.

“When you hear there has been a marriage after someone in Israel and another person in Australia met, it doesn’t get any better.”

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