December, 2002 Reprinted with permission from the Forward.
"They're witty, they tend to read more," she said of Jewish men. They can be a little bit prone to depression." It's a story that can be told by the thousands of Jews who are logging on to dating sites in hopes of meeting other Jews--for friendships, dates, relationships and even marriage.She read about Kabbalah and a genuine interest in the Jewish religion took hold. Mitchell said she is interested in converting to Judaism and raising her children within the faith.She has had her Hebrew name tattooed on her ankle, goes to synagogue on major Jewish holidays--she aligns herself most with the Reconstructionist camp--and would like to learn Hebrew.She said that while she's not traditionally religious, Judaism has attracted her in a spiritual way.But Jennifer's screen name "Shiksa" (non-Jewish woman) tells a different story.She counts herself among a special category of soul-mate seekers: gentiles who log on to Jewish singles sites in search of a Jewish mate.
JDate, the largest and best known of the online Jewish dating services, has more than 500,000 members worldwide.
Of those, more than 5,000 members registered as "from another religious stream"-- read: not Jewish.
Egon Mayer, a professor of sociology at Brooklyn College who has studied interfaith marriage, said that he is not surprised at the trend.
But while he's not "aware that there are any segments of the non-Jewish population that are specifically seeking a Jewish partner," Mayer said that "Jews have a fairly good reputation as marriage material." Often, non-Jews who log on say their interest lies beyond finding a Jewish mate.
Like other women, Misha Mitchell, who also goes by the screen name "Shiksa," likes the characteristic dark features of many Jewish men, but she said her connection to Jews and Judaism goes beyond physical or personality preferences.
Mitchell, who grew up in Idaho, began to stray from her strict Roman Catholic upbringing when she was 13.