Jewish Matchmaking is now streaming on Netflix.
By Greg Wheeler
When it comes to dating shows, Netflix is trying to dabble into various cultures to appease viewers of all backgrounds and ages. After international shows like Love Is Blind, The Ultimatum and Love Island, Netflix moved to Asian countries with dating shows like Single’s Inferno from South Korea, Love Village from Japan as well as the more culturally modest, Indian Matchmaking from India.
Indian Matchmaking essentially shows the journey of a matchmaker that hooks couples up in order to reach one end goal – marriage. After the success and popularity of that series, Netflix has dropped a new season of its modest dating show titled Jewish Matchmaking. The first season of Jewish Matchmaking releases with a total of 8 episodes.
The show focuses on the life of a Jewish Matchmaker – Aleeza Ben Shalom. Just like its Indian predecessor, the show is set in the USA as well as Israel with contestants trying to find their soulmates with Aleeza’s help. After watching the first season of Jewish Matchmaking on Netflix one could call it a “flexidox” take on the original Indian Matchmaking reality show, highlighting the peculiarities of Judaism and Jewish culture.
The show is a quick weekend watch and introduces viewers to many terms from the Jewish culture that may or may not seem alien to the rest of the world. Aleeza has a really fun personality and she shines throughout the show. With Aleeza’s expert guidance, she sets her clients up with potential matches. After the set-up, these clients go on dates with their potential matches and try to establish a connection in order to ascertain if they see a future with them.
With 8 short episodes, the show becomes an interesting watch. However, since it has been released after its Indian predecessor, there is bound to be some comparison between the two shows. Unlike Indian Matchmaking, Jewish Matchmaking has a lot more focus on the needs of the contestants as opposed to the requirements of the contestant’s family members. With the focus solely being on the contestants, Aleeza gets a lot more out of the interviews and is able to really zero in on finding the perfect match for her clients.
There is a mention of sexual preferences too, which was hardly ever heard of in the Indian version of the show. Jewish Matchmaking is less marriage-oriented too, and shows Aleeza’s journey of trying to help her clients find what she calls their ‘soulmate.’ This dating show appears to be more inclusive with the oldest contestants being as old as 52 years old.
With that being said, the Indian version has a lot more comedic and fun moments with Sima Taparia’s outrageous but funny comments. The awkward silences and nabs from Sima Aunty directed towards the contestants are what made that show so quirky and interesting. By comparison, Aleeza’s neutral approach towards her client’s preferences is more politically correct but makes the show less enjoyable in comparison to its Indian predecessor.
Stuart Chaseman, Harmonie Krieger and Nakysha Osadchey are the stand-out contestants on the show and they feel like a breath of fresh air this season. It would be really interesting to see who they end up with considering the fact that their last dates were such a success.
The show introduces viewers to terms like ‘Shomer Negiah’ aka the prohibition on touching a person of the opposite gender, as well as ‘kosher food’ aka a fit or proper way of cooking. While these terms and concepts are really alien to people of other cultures, the show enables viewers to learn more about the Jewish culture which is something really great about such shows from different cultures.
Jewish Matchmaking is a great one-time watch from an entertainment standpoint and it seems like Netflix is slowly trying to start a cultural franchise of these matchmaking shows. It certainly wouldn’t be uncanny for Netflix to have a Pakistani, Iranian or Chinese version of this series and given what’s on offer here, we’d certainly be up for watching.
I give Jewish Matchmaking a B.