A good set of abs, manicured eyebrows, a love of dogs, and no pork in the house. Just a few qualities the cast of the new Netflix Jewish dating show are looking for in a partner.
In the new series, which premiered to near-universal acclaim a week ago, Jewish singletons are guided to matches under the careful stewardship of dating coach Aleeza Ben Shalom - a veteran yente who says she “has the best job in the world,” and has sent at least 200 couples to the chuppah during her 15 years as a matchmaker.
But how successful have they been in finding love? and what is it like being on a hit Netflix show viewed by millions around the world?
Although he failed to find his soulmate on the show, newly engaged cast member Shaya Rosenberg has a lot of love for it. In fact, the 29-year-old real estate broker – who proposed to his fiancé on the day the Netflix show dropped – praises Aleeza’s dating advice for helping him to find the love of his life.
Although he was hesitant at first to appear on the show, Shaya describes it as “an empowering experience.
“It was great to represent my community and share our values with a wider audience. I hope that my participation in the show contributes to a greater understanding of Orthodox Judaism and promotes meaningful conversations about love, relationships, and faith.”
Whilst Shaya may no longer be available, fellow cast member Noah del Monte is still hoping to find love. And, there's every chance he'll be successful as the 26-year-old said he has been inundated with messages on social media.
“I’ve learnt so much from Aleeza and the show,” the 26-year-old, who lives in Tel Aviv, told me. “From being on time for a date to not giving up after a first meeting with a girl, I’ve taken on board everything she taught me.”
Speaking from his Herzliya office where he works in sales for a tech company, Noah shocksme when he tells me he has never watched a reality TV show before. In fact, the first time he did was the screening night for the show.
“I am very self-critical of some things I do but I forced myself to watch it and I think they did an excellent job,” he tells me. I’m not surprised to hear his mother Miriam is a big fan of the show as she is – typically as Jewish mothers are – one of the reasons he agreed to take part.
“I was contacted by a casting agency via my Instagram and after being impressed by the production team they asked to speak to my mother about suitable dates and then it just rolled from there.”
Having got fed up of using dating apps - claiming they are boring and repetitive - Noah joined the cast and three different dates later, he looks back at it fondly.
“Matchmaking is a very big part of the Jewish culture so I just thought I’d put my soul out there. I followed Aleeza’s advice of ‘date them till you hate them’ and it forced me to think differently about suitable partners and not just give up after one meeting.”
Although he remains very close to fellow cast member Cindy Seni – who also lives in Israel - he maintains he is still searching for his future wife.
“I need someone who is driven, likes to travel, and a dog lover is a bonus. Being kosher is not a deal breaker but I don’t want pork in the house.”
Also suffering from what she describes as “dating app fatigue”, 27-year-old Dani Bergman joined the cast of the show hoping to find the man of her dreams. The Miami-based entrepreneur failed to find love, however, although that’s not to say she is short of admirers. In fact, since the show aired her Instagram is full of DMs - something she says she “is not able to entertain right now.”
Comparing dating apps to “shopping for men”, the self-proclaimed eyebrow queen (her eyebrows are a storyline of their own in the show) is adamant she no longer wants time-wasters.
“I am very confident in my own skin, have a loud personality and am not interested in men who don’t want to date me seriously. I know what I want.”
So what exactly is she looking for? “Probably a Jewish guy from Florida who can match my energy. I’d like them to be Jewish but at the end of the day if they are madly in love with me, treat me like a queen and have absolute adoration for me then that could seal the deal.”