Those involved in the Jewish dating scene now have a new web series which aims to tell their story – “From Date to Mate.” Produced by Shalom TV, the show tries to depict “the world of the desperately seeking 20-something New York Jew with vivid storylines, strong characters and impressive production values.” But according to the Forward, there is one line the show won’t cross – none of the characters will end up intermarried.
Mark Golub, president and CEO of Shalom TV, said that when the premise for the show was brought to him, he “only asked that no matter where the script went that it did not advocate intermarriage in the end.” He went on to say that he is “not about to suggest on Shalom TV that it doesn’t matter in the end whether a Jew marries a non-Jew or not.”
This doesn’t mean the show will completely ignore interfaith relationships. One character, Justin, has just broken up with a non-Jewish girlfriend and still longs for her. He only joined JMatch (the real-life Jewish dating website that sponsors the show) to make his mother happy.
“From Date to Mate” is supposed to be modeled on “The Office” or “The Hills,” faux-reality shows that are scripted but seem like a documentary. It’s ironic, then, that the show won’t explore more deeply interfaith relationships. We understand that JMatch is designed to help Jews meet other Jews, but creating a world where intermarriage doesn’t happen is quite the opposite of reality for most American Jewish families.
We think Golub is right when he says that it does matter whether or not a couple intermarries. It matters because it’s happening. But he is being somewhat disingenuous in assuming that portraying intermarriage equals advocating for intermarriage. Recognizing that people intermarry doesn’t mean the show has to take a position one way or the other. The subject is complex, and the show could easily use an objective lens to help explore and unpack the many challenges that come with interfaith relationships.