Life & Culture

We all need a matchmaker, not just the Orthodox

Netflix’s Jewish Matchmaking Cupid Aleeza Ben Shalom is fabulous, but is she the answer to all Jews' dating issues?


Jewish Matchmaking. Aleeza in episode 1 of Jewish Matchmaking. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

Is Netflix’s Jewish Matchmaking Cupid Aleeza Ben Shalom the answer to the non-Orthodox Jewish dating world’s dilemmas?

I’m certain I’m not the only one who has fallen in love with the most famous Jewish matchmaker in the world as she attempts to match a range of couples on her eight-part Netflix show.

Watching Aleeza — who has sent at least 200 couples to the chupah during her 15 years as a matchmaker — listen patiently to her clients’ long lists of needs and wants is almost enchanting. She is sympathetic and kind, yet also keeps them grounded as she carefully manages their expectations.

She is a natural. Not only does she have the charisma to hold the show together, she has a set of dating mantras, repeated regularly to her would-be matches.

From “date ’em ‘til you hate ’em” to “when in doubt, go out”, the things she tells people are, she says, rooted in Jewish wisdom.

She is everything I strive to be in my own matchmaking endeavours, and she also gives me lessons on how to navigate my own dating life. I feel seen from both sides of the fence.

And because it’s so beautifully produced, the show is a wonderful advertisement for the Jewish dating world.

Or rather part of our dating world. For me, one of the most interesting things to emerge from the programme was how secular Jews find the experience of having a matchmaker in their lives utterly foreign.

For Aleeza’s religious clients having a matchmaker feels as normal as brushing their teeth each morning.

You decide you’re ready to get married, and you hand yourself over, entrust your heart, to a shadchan.

They guide you and hopefully protect as you as you navigate the choppy waters of the Jewish dating scene.It’s genius, actually.

But there’s no dating sat-nav for secular Jews. Instead, there is the expectation that you’ll meet someone at a party, in the pub, on a dating app, or at the gym. Which absolutely can and does happen, but solely relying on them has taken many Jewish singles along a very scenic route.

Seeing Aleeza set up single, secular Jews was heartwarming. As the series unfolded I became invested in their love lives, but also in her matchmaking approach and what it revealed about the nuances and complexities of Jewish dating. It made me ask why traditional matchmaking has been restricted to our Orthodox community.

I hope she jumps on a flight for another series of the Netflix show soon. And continues setting up secular Jews on dates in the interim.

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