We’ve been so excited — and a little scared — for Netflix’s upcoming “Jewish Matchmaking” show. The show, which premieres on May 3, released its first trailer this week, and it’s definitely amping up our anticipation.
First things first, we now know the identity of the matchmaker in question: Aleeza Ben Shalom, an Orthodox dating coach from Philadelphia who is currently based in Israel, and who has, according to the trailer of the show, “helped over 200 couples get to the chuppah.” aka the Jewish marriage canopy.
In the trailer, a cheery Ben Shalom counsels her clients to “date them till you hate them,” and shares that she believes that finding your person is “the hardest thing to do in the entire world,” and that consequently, she has one of the toughest jobs there is. “If you don’t believe me, just try doing it,” she challenges.
Well, I know many of us Jewish parents have tried to play the matchmaker at one time or another (I may or may not be guilty of having tried to match a Jewish couple or two in my day, though not to much success), and I’m sure we’ll appreciate catching wind of some secrets of the trade from Ben Shalom.
The show’s cast of clients, which are from both the U.S. and Israel, does appear to be fairly diverse when it comes to the level of observance and background. “I’m like the only one in Kansas that is a Jew of my color,” laments one Black Jewish participant on the show.
The women in the show also acknowledge that dating while Jewish comes with lot of pressure for finding someone and settling down, especially when you’re an Orthodox Jew. The show’s name in Hebrew is “Modern Matchmaking,” which alludes to the fact that Ben Shalom is modernizing age-old Jewish matchmaking practices in this show.
The dates on the show look genuinely delightful — with couples meeting in skating rinks, on the beach, playing ping pong and riding jet skis and off-road vehicles together.
The trailer already has some of that cringe element we all look forward to in reality dating shows that get into the intimacies of people’s romantic lives. A client tells the camera that their best qualities are intelligence, charisma, but first and foremost, humility. One explains that she wants to to find someone who is obsessed with her (OK, fine maybe we all kind of want that). One man rejects a date because she is vegan and has two cats. Another man says he’s looking for someone who is “blonde or blue-eyed or a bigger *ahem*” (we will just believe he means heart). One woman asks another client about the size of her date’s “mezuzah” — which is honestly a delightful, if somewhat disrespectful, euphemism.
Despite some of these cringe moments in the trailer, Ben Shalom appears totally winsome — and we hope that the sweetness and candor of the show will win out.
All eight episodes are dropping on May 3, and we have a feeling a lot of us will be binging them right away.