A new dating site for gay and lesbian Orthodox Jews seeks to enable them to meet, have children, and raise them together in a "traditional" setting. Thus far, nearly 50 users have signed up, hoping to enter into a halachic Jewish marriage with a person of the opposite sex, despite their sexual orientation to the contrary.
At the time of this article's writing, 37 men and 7 women have joined. They are ultra-Orthodox, Orthodox, and Conservative (and even one man who wrote that he is "secular but believing"), most of them are in their twenties and thirties, and a portion of them are closeted. They are seeking a relationship based on friendship, mutual respect, the desire to start a family and even love—but not sexual contact.
One user, "Seeking Truth," wrote, "I'm looking for a woman who doesn’t want to follow her orientation, but rather wants to make a real and Jewish home. I'm not looking for a woman who's interested in extra-marital liaisons!" One religious man detailed, "Looking for a nice woman whom I like to be with and with whom I'd undertake a journey of raising children and loving God."
There are exceptions. "Micky" noted in his profile, "It's important to note that I've had relationships with woman and that I've never been with a man."
"Gali" wrote, "I don't automatically reject men who are in a 'closeted' relationship of one type or another."
The most surprising, without a doubt, was the user "Me," who wrote in her profile, "Okay, this is definitely going to be weird to most of the men here: I'm not a lesbian. (It's possible that I may be interested in both sexes, but I'm not really sure about that.) I'm looking for a man to start a family with and who will be my best friend, because, in the end, that's what lasts, and that's what's important."
Eran, who runs the site, made a touching Facebook post a year and a half ago saying that he was looking for a wife, and it was shared more than 3,000 times. Following that, he recounted, other gay men and lesbians came to him to help him find the same kind of relationship.
"At first, I tried to help. I made a list and even set some people up," Eran said. "But, as the requests multiplied, I decided that it was in everybody's interest to make a framework for it and give people a place where they could find the kind of relationship that they're looking for."
The system works like this: "If someone sees a profile that they think could be a match, they send me an email. I contact the requested person and ask them if they're interested. If they are, I give them each the other's email address. After that, the work and the responsibility are in the couple's hands. They're the ones who'll decide if and when to meet or talk."
"The site is completely discreet," Eran emphasized. "Opening a profile, a user doesn't give his real name, and his contact information remains hidden…There's no verification of information. I don't know who's behind the profile, or if the details that they submit are correct or not."