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So let’s get out there this holiday and try, shockingly enough for Jewish Valentine’s Day, loving our fellow Jews. Not the JSwipe definition of “loving.”) Chag Sameach All.
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Five hours later we were at a bar surrendering to the far too many—and far too creepy—things we had in common.
We decided to turn it into a date right then and there. It was called JOCFlock (“JOC” as in “Jews of Color,” and “Flock” as in “a herd of single sheep looking to mingle”), and it was the Internet’s first dating site that catered to Jews of color.
And with that realization, I figured there were probably people in the same or worse position than I was, so there needed to be some kind of structure for all of us. Some JOCs don’t even put up their profile picture to avoid rude comments from site users and moderators alike.
And there are horror stories: The kinds where caramel-skinned Jews get told by matchmakers that they’re “too pretty” to marry Jews who are Black; and the kinds when African-American Jews in their twenties are set up with developmentally challenged 40-year olds. Because people didn’t think she’d mind due to her circumstances. I myself had an interesting multi-email, multi-hour exchange questioning my Jewish identity when I joined online-dating site Frumster (now JWed) out of curiosity.
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That cute dress you want to wear to the restaurant? Those snakeskin shoes you’ve nicknamed “The Deal-Sealers?” Have fun sloshing around in the gray-black slush that lines our fine streets in wintertime (not to mention the resultant salt ring). Which is why one of the Jewish accomplishments I’m most proud of—right up there with Rabbi Nechunya ben Ha Kana figuring out the universe was 15.3 billion years old in the 1st century—was that we realized two-and-a-half millenia ago that Valentine’s Day works a lot better in the summer.This year, Jewish Valentine’s Day, otherwise known as Tu B’Av, begins night and will probably be accompanied by the usual glut of singles events and all-white parties. Honest.) I met my wife because of Tu B’Av, actually. We’d met on an online dating site and were meeting up for professional, non-romantic networking purposes.I had little idea, less prospects, and even lesser interest in anyone from my community.Years and years of identity interrogations, “tolerance” being mistaken as being “acceptance” and just plain ol’ bona-fide racism tend to do that to a person.
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