Jewish Matchmaking: Netflix’s Newest Reality Show

May 19, 2023
Maren Hettler

Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States

Class of 2025

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“Jewish Matchmaking,” a Netflix show and spinoff of “Indian Matchmaking” was released on May 3. In the show, Aleeza Ben Shalom, a self-described dating and relationship coach, sets up Jewish people from a variety of backgrounds by leading them through the Jewish tradition of shidduchim, a system of matchmaking. Ben Shalom interviews each candidate to find out what they’re looking for in a partner then looks for someone who meets their requirements. In the show, she describes it as “the hardest job in the world.”

In Orthodox matchmaking, the matchmaker usually is paid $1,000 when the couple gets engaged, though some may charge more. Ben Shalom’s services can cost up to $50,000, but Netflix pays the matchmaking fees for the cast of the show. Sima Taparia, the host of “Indian Matchmaking” charges anywhere from $1,300 to $8,000 for similar services.

The eight-episode show features nine singles looking for their match and shows the diversity of the Jewish community. Ben Shalom’s clients include Jews of Askenazi, Sephardic, and Mizrahi descent in addition to Jews of color. She’s able to embrace her clients requests, despite some of them being demanding. Ori, an Israeli Jew who lives with his parents, will only agree to date blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jewish women who can speak Hebrew, while Dani, a fun-loving girl from Miami, wants a man with great eyebrows, but not as great as hers.

Recent depictions of Orthodox Jews in Netflix shows have come under fire. The reality show “My Unorthodox Life” drew criticism from the Orthodox community for getting details about observance wrong and encouraging people to leave Orthodoxy. “Unorthodox” also depicts a formerly Orthodox woman leaving what they viewed as an oppressive arranged marriage. Ronit Polin-Tarshish, an Orthodox filmmaker and one of the producers of “Jewish Matchmaking,” had the role of ensuring that Judaism was portrayed correctly in the show.

Maren Hettler is a BBG from Nona Bloch Salomon in NTO and she loves olives!

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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