gendered dating etiquette

by tobybee

Someone I know was interviewed for this sbs podcast that played today, called “A look at ethnic dating in Australia”. The transcript shows that a variety of ethnic groups were involved in this, including the Jews. And as a result I discovered an Australian-based matchmaking site called J-Junction. Michelle Lewis, who runs the site, says in the podcast that “The reason that continuity is so important for the Jewish community is that if we look at the statistics – and we do when there’s a census, we look at those and we have people who do reports on them – and within a couple of generations at the current rate of intermarriage there will be hardly any people worldwide outside of Israel who actually identify as Jewish.”

I find comments like this super-interesting. I can’t imagine that it’s possibly empirically true (that within a couple of generations there might not be many people who identify as Jewish), and it’s a nice bit of a Zionist fantasy in there too, but it’s more interesting to think about how such statements come to have meaning. How is this link between intermarriage and Jewish identity developed and maintained? Where does it get its force from? How does such a link become thinkable?

Leaving that to one side, on the website (which I explored strictly for research purposes only), they explain that the system works by a matchmaker setting up two people. And then, “When two members mutually approve a match, phone numbers are sent to both members to arrange a conversation and then plan a date. Men are encouraged to contact women within three (3) days of receiving the phone number. If he cannot call the woman, then he should contact the matchmaker to let her know when he will be calling. If women would like to make the initial contact this must be mentioned to your matchmaker.”

Because of course, if a woman wants to call a man, alarms must be sounded. Remember that ladies.