Its members are well versed in Jewish law, even if the Seventh Commandment — you shall not commit adultery — eludes them.
Founded less than two weeks ago, a new social networking site for Orthodox wannabe adulterers made headlines in the New York Post this week and has already enlisted over 1,000 members ($99 for two years), the overwhelming majority of them male.
With the tagline “A Jew Can Have Fun Too,” Shaindy.com purports to be a site “for married people who are looking for love and affairs outside of their marriage.”
Not surprisingly, religious leaders are none too pleased.
“The fact that people who consider themselves religious would interact about these things on cyberspace is astonishing to me,” said Dr.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is author of the 2002 book “Kosher Adultery,” which, despite its title, is about spicing up sex within marriage, not outside marriage, and “The Kosher Sutra: Eight Sacred Secrets for Reigniting Desire and Restoring Passion for Life.” While he believes Shaindy.com is little more than a “harmful gimmick,” he thinks its existence speaks to the need to “ensure that marriages both inside and outside the religious community are passionate.”
According to the Post, Shaindy’s creator is a Modern Orthodox Brooklyn resident. Identifying himself only as “Jerry” on the site, he declined to speak with The Jewish Week; members contacted by The Jewish Week via e-mail also declined to be interviewed.
Adultery, while taboo, is hardly unheard of in the Orthodox community. Three years ago, The Jewish Week reported about the widespread usage of halachically sanctioned concubines, focusing particularly on a site called Pilesgesh.org that promotes such behavior. Similarly, in the personals section of Craigslist, browsers can find many Orthodox men seeking out both heterosexual and same-sex extramarital affairs.
Like Pilesgesh and Craigslist, Shaindy.com enables users to seek out “like-minded” people, but the site operates in social network form akin to MySpace or Facebook: members can add each other as friends, leave comments and chat via instant messages.
According to its typo-laden “About” page, Shaindy.com was created because “there are hundreds and thousands of [Jewish] people who are miserable in their marriage or just need a little something extra … but don’t want to jeopardize their relationship.”
Nonetheless, a brief sampling of profiles indicates that many prefer to sin with other members of the Tribe, preferably frum ones. “Chassidishe men only please,” specifies 34-year-old “Chanie S.”
And not all are unhappy with Orthodox life, or marriage for that matter.
While some post that they are “formerly frum” and “married and miserable,” others describe themselves as “Frum and liking it” and “Married and happy.”
As with much on the Internet, where anonymity reigns, it is unclear just how truthful any of this is — how many users are simply lurking for thrills,versus those who intend to actually get together with people met on the site.
Regardless, for Chovevei Torah’s Friedman, Shaindy is “a symptom of a much bigger situation, that the Internet allows people to do what they would never do,” she said.