Jspace.com—launched in November as a Facebook-style platform where individuals can sign up for profiles, in addition to hosting pages for Jewish organizations, event calendars for Jewish communities, Jewish-related news stories, and more—rolled out a free dating section on Dec. 24 at a launch party in New York.
In addition to components usually found on other Jewish dating websites—such as email messaging, instant messaging, highlighting “featured” matches, and allowing users to send a virtual “romance” to other users to express interest—the Jspace dating platform (http://www.jspace.com/dating/) allows users to both browse profiles as well as “make a shidduch” (match) for others on the site. By contrast, some other Jewish dating sites have single modalities—JDate and Frumster allow users to browse profiles, while SawYouAtSinai has no profile browsing, but instead employs online matchmakers who serve as intermediaries between users (Frumster and SawYouAtSinai are more popular for Orthodox Jewish daters).
About 4,000 users have signed up for Jspace since the site launched at November’s Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly in Denver, according to Meara Razon, the site’s vice president of community outreach. Razon spoke with JointMedia News Service about Jspace’s new dating platform.
What inspired Jspace to add the dating section?
“Jspace wanted to build an online community connecting Jews around the world. We realized there was no centralized site to find everything Jewish. You ended up going to a million different sites for news, organizations, dating, event etc. and that was just for one city.
“Jspace built on the idea that no matter where you are at any given time you can be connected to the Jewish community. A big part of any community life is dating. If we were building a portal, which we were, why not add dating as well? Jspace has everything for the users at each stage in their life. Right now a user might come to Jspace daily for news or the .ORG section of the site but could come back in six months for dating. Or they could come to the site to find out about an event and end up in the dating section and might meet the love of their life.”
What differentiates Jspace from other Jewish dating platforms?
“Jspace is a community, a site that offers something for everyone. Our dating section is just one part of site. What makes it different is that it is a part of a larger entity and totally free. We believe that love should not cost a thing.”
Some Jewish dating sites enable users to browse profiles, while others exclusively involve online matchmakers. Jspace has both features, allowing users to see other profiles but also “make a shidduch.” Why?
“We feel, why not add more. If you can make a shidduch and connect two people, or if you saw them somewhere, why not make more opportunities for people to connect with one another, and potentially find a mate [on the site]?
“When we built the site, we brought the best from a lot of other different sites, and it’s always changing, we’re always adding and doing things to the site. So, if we find that there’s another button that should be added, we’re happy to add that, and to take feedback from people.
“In a few weeks we will be launching the chat portion of Jspace. There are two different chats—there’s a dating chat and then there’s the friend chat, that both can be turned on and off as you want. So sometimes when you’re on Jspace, you want to be there to find out about news and organizations, and then you might want to chat with your friends, but you don’t always have to be dating all the time on the site. Which is nice, because you don’t always want to be out there for people.”
There are Jewish dating sites specifically for the Orthodox community, and others with a broader clientele. What was the thinking behind Jspace’s broad Jewish dating site?
“The whole idea of Jspace is to appeal to everybody. There’s something for everyone on the site. If you’re Orthodox or Secular Jspace has something for you, even in the dating section.
“We’re going to be launching our Judaism section soon. We plan to be a platform for all different streams of Judaism to come and have an open dialogue and discussion, whether it’s holidays, or different things that are going on in the news, and how the different streams [of Judaism] look at [those issues]. So, that’s the whole idea—dating is just another part of that, it reaches out to everyone. It’s dating for Orthodox, non-Orthodox, gay, straight—everything can be found here in the dating section. And because we’re new, we’re always changing things, until we find it and make it perfect. So we like the shidduch [button], we like that you can see [profiles], your favorites, or who’s new to you. It works, it’s nice.”
What other features, besides dating, are coming up for Jspace?
“Jspace is adding new great features on the site. We will be adding a ‘Spaces’ section where public figures, actors, musicians, artists, and Jewish themed businesses can have a page on the site.
“One of the best parts about Jspace is we are new and are always evolving. If people want to see more of a specific thing on the site we are happy to add it.
“One of the sections of the site that Jspace is most proud of is our .ORG section. We are going to be partnering with some major Jewish organizations this year on big projects. We’re going to have [something similar to] a classified section, for people who are selling and doing other things. If you’re looking for a Jewish job, it could be on here, if you’re looking to hire interns—anything Jewish. Jspace is a one stop shop for everything Jewish.”