Yenta, a new Grindr-esque,GPS-based dating app available for the iPhone and Jewish singles everywhere, is many exciting and concerning things rolled into one.
For one, it’s like your overbearing mother who, every time she lays eyes on a potential Semite, forces you to go introduce yourself to whatever creature she’s locked on to.
It’s also not the most assuring service for women, who are understandably wary about disclosing their exact location and agreeing to blind meetups.
Yet at the same time, Yenta is a spontaneous and refreshing approach to dating for those fed up with trudging through exaggerated online dating profiles and months of impersonal email exchanges. The app’s profiles are streamlined and members (it’s free) are asked “How Jewish Are You?” and “What’s your shtick?”—translating to, more or less, ‘what’s your deal.’
Yenta founder Luba Tolkachyov tells The New York Post that Yenta allows users to “walk into a coffee shop and you can find out who’s Jewish and single around you.”
“[The dating site] JDate is kind of the traditional model. To be able to log on to [Yenta], you have to go out. There’s no need for the lengthy profile — now we can see who’s single and near us,” she adds.
Post reporter Tara Palmieri gave Yenta a spin in the Big Apple (it has about 1,000 users in its early stage), but she was only able to locate one Hebrew, who she had a less-than-felicitous interaction with.
Still, Tolkachyov and the folks at Yenta have high hopes for the app as a generator of Jewish community. Over at The Jewish Week, Rabbi Jason Miller is skeptical but pleased with Yenta’s aim.
“So long as the app is used by well-intentioned Jewish singles and not people with more sinister plans, I think it’s a worthwhile download. Perhaps in the future, it will be adapted to appeal to a broader audience as well – like Jewish dads who like to talk baseball and fatherhood with other likeminded Jewish dads or Jewish women in the insurance industry looking for networking opportunities,” he writes.