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Frum Love

As seen on Craigslist

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So here’s an educational activity:

1. Go to New York City Craigslist.
2. Go to the search bar on the left and toggle so that you’re searching personals.
3. Search “frum.”
4. Um, enjoy*.

* And then guiltily remember that this is what happens when you repress people’s natural sex drives.

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confused says:

What’s your point?
Just to be anti-frum and mean?
I can show you 1000’s of other sites as well.
Use your media power for good, this serves no purpose.
I am very disappointed, after seeing you in person at the Public this week, I expect more of a journalist.

Right, because the only people looking for such meaningless hookups are those who have had their natural sex drives repressed. Unrepressed, enlightened people would never do something like this. Oh wait…

David says:

Seriously? Think this through:

1) Plenty of people use Craigslist for sexual encounters.
2) Many of them will doubtless be religious individuals seeking to remain anonymous in their transgression against communal norms/personal ethical code.
3) Some of these listings naturally indicate a desire for liason with someone of similar background and identity. The results you link to simply reflect the obvious notion that “Orthodox/frum” is a critical part of these people’s identities, such that they feel more comfortable (or titillated) by breaking taboos with those of similar backgrounds who can relate to their situation. It doesn’t say anything otherwise unique about Orthodox Jews or their allegedly “repressed natural sex drives”.
4) Knowing human nature, there are surely plenty of Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and “Just” Jews using Craigslist for exactly the same thing. All your results show is that Jewish identity isn’t a factor in those. Is this good for the Jews? Bad? That’s a much more interesting question than your attempt to make this out as some sort of unique Orthodox phenomenon resulting from failings in that community.

Lame and really mean spirited. All I saw was religious Jews who are anything BUT ashamed of being bored, lonely and horny. So, maybe it is the writer who is those things.

Tablet, pretty poor taste here. Does not reflect well on you guys.

Ruth says:

Marc, I wasn’t going to post, but I wanted to make sure that at least one comment on your article wasn’t overtly critical of you and your work.

I did click on the link you provided, and I did a quick scan of the Craigslist postings. I find it fascinating that nearly every frum person who posted an ad was seeking a frum hook-up partner (except for one guy who also fantasized about sex with an Arab, and another who would willingly swap out an Italian for a frum person); I find it to be a particularly interesting criterion for those who were only interested in casual hook-ups.

If the main objective is sex – casual, no-strings-attached sex, no less – then what the heck is the difference if one’s partner is Jewish … much less “frum”?? Are they planning on davening and then grabbing a pastrami on rye afterward? Or is being intimate with a non-frum person, in a setting that is potentially “not kosher”, considered to be a more abhorrent, problematic deviation from halachic rules than the hook-up sex itself? Wouldn’t there actually be less of a chance of being “caught” if one were to limit engaging in banned activities to those outside of one’s own religious cohort – particularly in the “I know your mother and I went to yeshiva with your uncle”-world of the NYC frum?? Seems to me to be a disingenuous attitude at best, and a knee-jerk reflex to be insular in EVERY aspect of life … even the illicit … at its core.

I didn’t want to start surfing in this vein, but I suspect that it would be rare to see an ad stating “Roman Catholic “bear” seeking like-minded RC guy who likes to cuddle”. Or “Mormon couple seeks bi-Mormon woman for fun times.”

Yet frummies are so insulated from the outside world that they can only “get their freak on” – including their extra-marital/gay/polyamorous hook-ups – with others who are frum??

What’s NOT posted is also interesting; did anyone else notice that virtually every poster explicitly seeking sex (vs.”friendship”) was male?

Yisrael says:

Marc’s been doing these snarky hit and runs’s on people who hold more traditional religious views for awhile now –yesterday Catholics, today and many other days, Orthodox Jews. Marc demands perfection and the utmost consistency from traditional religious people, any deviation from it is grounds to denounce the entire group. Yet I would be willing to place a very large bet that this kind of devious behavior is far less frequent, and much happier lives are led, by those who live this lifestyle than that led by Marc and his snarky band of Jewish hipsters.

Everyone who’s critiquing Marc’s post, please answer this question: where can frum Jews go for a hook-up? what about same-sex hook-ups? Seeing as how most people regardless of religiosity are repressed at some level, this only makes sense.

David says:

Ruth, you ask “If the main objective is sex – casual, no-strings-attached sex, no less – then what the heck is the difference if one’s partner is Jewish … much less “frum”?”

I actually addressed this exact question above. What do you think of my answer? I find my suggestions there far more human and compelling than your reconstruction of demented Orthodoxy.

At the end of your post, you make a claim that seems to me to be easily refuted: “Yet frummies are so insulated from the outside world that they can only “get their freak on” – including their extra-marital/gay/polyamorous hook-ups – with others who are frum??”

Given that there are tens of thousands of “frummy” Jews in NY, and innumerable sexual personals on Craigslist NY, I would think it stands to reason that most of the “frummies” who seek trysts on Craigslist are NOT identifying as frum or asking for a similar partner. On the contrary, most probably say nothing identifying of the sort. Or maybe you’re right, and the 50 or so “frum” sex ads on Craigslist constitute the entirety of deviant Orthodoxy. That’s actually a pretty impressive showing of fidelity, come to think of it…

David says:

Eli, I agree. The problem is with Marc (a) singling out 50 or so Orthodox personals for self-righteous sport, and (b) claiming they signify some broader perversion within the religious group.

He writes: “this is what happens when you repress people’s natural sex drives.” You get 50 ads, mostly for hook-ups, from a community that is marriage-oriented? First off – this is not news, as you note, because every community has such people, particular more conservative religious ones. Second, doesn’t that incredibly small number actually make Orthodoxy look pretty successful at inculcating and practicing its values?

The evidence presented would seem to vindicate Orthodoxy, not impugn it (though, for the record, I actually think generalizing form Craigslist to anything sociological is incredibly foolish). But the implications of the evidence are only apparent to people who haven’t already indicted Orthodoxy for its evil sexual ethics, and will not subconsciously recast any facts into that framework.

Marc is typically very fair-minded on this blog to all groups of Jews, but he has made an unfortunate exception now and again when it comes to this particular area. No one’s perfect, I guess.

Um, you realize craigslist refreshes ads every so often, right?

And that there are most likely frum Jews on CL who do not list themselves as such? It’s just interesting, in this case, how some look for frum partners.

@David – I wrote a long reply to your post to me, which – of course – managed to somehow get lost in cyberspace (ugh).

I’ll try to get back on here at some point tomorrow to re-construct my reply, but I wanted to thank you for being so respectful in your original reply to me even though you didn’t agree with the points I made. Mensch-ness duly noted, and much appreciated!

Just out of curiosity, why does everyone seem to take it for granted that the ads are being placed by actual frum/Orthodox Jews? If they were seeking liaisons with members of some *other* supposedly chaste “forbidden fruit” category–say, nuns, or teenage virgins–how much credence would be given to the seekers’ claims to share a similar identity, as opposed to faking it for seduction purposes?

David says:

@Dan – excellent point.

@Ruth – thanks! I try.

@Eli – Again, I agree with you:

“And that there are most likely frum Jews on CL who do not list themselves as such?”

Yes! I wrote that in my first comment – to show that Marc making hay out of these exception Jews is silly; most frum folks likely advertise wholly anonymously. To clarify, my only reason for giving positive inferences to be drawn from the evidence was to show how Marc unreflectively spun highly incomplete data into a nasty theory about broader Orthodoxy. I specifically disavowed any realistic attempt to generalize from Craigslist, and offered my counterfactual merely as a better (but still fatally flawed) alternative to (in my view) Marc’s biased read.

“Um, you realize craigslist refreshes ads every so often, right?”

Absolutely. In my first comment, I simply noted that percentage-wise, one would expect on Craigslist NY – a city filled with tens of thousands of frum Jews – for there to be far more Orthodox personals of this and other natures. I then suggested, like you, that most Orthodox Jews advertise anonymously, something that seems to have escaped Marc, who cast these 50 as representative rather than exceptional. Which is exactly my problem with his post (as opposed to your more modest points in the comments).

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As seen on Craigslist

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