Religion

Palestinian Authority Legalizes Online Dating

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It seems that the desire for online dating has reached even the most religiously conservative societies. According to The Jerusalem Post, the Palestinian Authority's Supreme Council has legalized online dating, but with a catch. Daters must abide by Shari'a rules, which means communication between members must be with the intent to marry.

Though Islamic scholars have dismissed online dating in the past, the council stated that the mingling of men and women online was now "a central characteristic of our time" and "unavoidable." This opens the door for many Muslims to date outside their social circles and provides more opportunity for meeting people than ever before.

Islamic dating websites have emerged in recent years, modeling themselves after other popular religious dating sites like JDate. But many Islamists, including Palestinians, already converse freely over social networks like Facebook and Twitter, according to The Times of Israel. It seems that allowing online dating was the obvious next step.

Almost immediately after online dating was authorized, people began signing up on dating sites such as LavaPlace.com. But it isn't a free-for-all. Because of the restrictions stated by the Council, members are only allowed to provide age, gender and location information. There are no pictures or headshots or introductory statements traditionally found on dating sites. Women cannot share pictures with men, and they cannot describe themselves in detail, nor can they meet a potential husband without a male family escort.

There is not much room for flirting or even mildly suggestive conversation common on most dating sites. Conversation must revolve around marriage, and must take place with the knowledge of both families.

"These permissions do not substitute for the formalized, traditional methods of encounter for the purpose of marriage," the council underscored in the Times article. "It is better for those wishing to marry to enter the house through the front door."

While the council's legalization of online dating isn't going to change the dating culture for Palestinians in a significant way any time soon, technology has certainly helped break down some barriers. Facebook and Twitter have become a way of communicating freely and easily, especially among young Palestinians, for political purposes as well as social. Hopefully online dating gains acceptance and popularity among Muslims in the area - thanks to technology, our social circles have expanded and we all are afforded more opportunities than ever before. It's only right that this extends to a person's love life.

JDate Leads in Jewish Marriages

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The Jewish New Year just happened and I noticed that JDate has more to celebrate than Rosh Hashanah. They just released the results from a survey by ResearchNow (an independent research company) which shows that JDate is responsible for 52 percent of all Jewish marriages that started online. From the survey of 948 married Jewish internet users they also concluded that 63 percent of the online dates originated at JDate, this is many times more than the leading competing dating services. The survey also showed that 76 percent of Jewish internet users who used an online dating site to find love, became a member of JDate.

For more information and statistics you can read this post from the JDate blog. To find out if this dating service is something you would be interested in you can also check out our review of JDate.

JDate Follows Blogger on Her Quest for a Mate

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According to Ilana Angel, a popular blogger for the Jewish Journal website, earlier this month she had gone out to lunch with a few people who work at the online dating site JDate. JDate had wanted to see how her search for a Jewish match was going. Her previous two relationships with men had been the result of using JDate but this time when she joined, she found she wasn't having the same success. One thought Angel had was, that the men were scared away because she blogs about her dating experiences (even though she doesn't use real names). JDate decided on this lunch to share their recommendations on how Angel can use their site better to find a man she likes and who is not worried about dating a professional blogger.

She hasn't posted yet on how the lunch went with JDate. When she does we will make sure to let you know.

You can read Ilana Angel blog post here and you can find out more about the dating site she talks about by reading our review of JDate.com.

Mormon Singles Success at Online Dating

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Lynne met her husband, Dave, online six years ago. They met on a dating site called LDS Mingle which is an online matchmaking service for Mormon singles. Back then online dating wasn't as popular but Lynn had exhausted all of the prearranged dates that her well meaning friends had found for her. She wasn't going to give up but she wanted to meet a man whose religious affiliation was with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Online dating was the only real choice for her. When she first connected with Dave online they found that they lived 700 miles apart. This didn't stop them from forming a relationship and they were soon calling each other every night on the phone. In a few months Dave came to visit Lynn and in just 8 hours after meeting her in person, he had proposed. They were married that summer.

For the full story on this dating success story, read the Mormon Times.

Online Dating for Atheists, Agnostics, Pagans, Buddhists, and Other Faiths

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Online dating can be tough to begin with, but what if your religion (or lack thereof) isn't very popular? Everyone deserves to find their special someone, no matter if you are atheist, agnostic, Buddhist, Pagan, Wiccan, or even a Jedi.

Set Up Custom Searches

You may find that the standard searches set up by your dating site of choice do not give you exactly the kind of people you'd like to meet. You'll want to make a custom search that includes your normal search criteria (age, distance from you, etc.) as well as their religious beliefs.

If It's Hard To Find Matches...

If you're looking for someone who shares your beliefs (or non-belief!), sometimes you get very, very few search results. Your first step is to expand your search radius a bit - add another 20-50 miles and see if you can snag a few more matches in your search net. You could also loosen up on some of your other criteria. Maybe tweak the age limit a bit or the body type. Play with your other criteria and see if more people show up for the party.

Online dating for Christians & Jews

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If your faith is important to you, then you want to date people who share in it. You want someone you can take with you to church or to temple, someone to celebrate the holy days with, someone who you can pray with daily. It can sometimes seem difficult on the mainstream dating sites to tell whether or not someone selects "Christian" or "Jewish" because they are practicing or just because they grew up in that faith.

On Mainstream Sites

On mainstream sites like Match.com, it's hard to tell sometimes how serious someone is about their religion. (At least with OkCupid.com, they can select "and serious about it" after their religion choice!) This leaves you in the position of having to tell from their profile text if they are as serious about their faith as you are. Some people make this very easy! I see profiles every day where people say, "God is the most important thing in my life" or "My match should share my faith."

But what if you don't see anything like that? Then, you'll have to send them an email. Don't word it like an interrogation about their religious practices - that will put anyone on the defensive! - but add the question on the end of your email: