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Our wedding took place on Aug. Friends and family recited the seven blessings. We exchanged rings. We drank the wine.
My Jewish Dating Problem
Our wedding took place on Aug. Friends and family recited the seven blessings. We exchanged rings. We drank the wine. The rabbi pronounced us married. I stomped on the glass with great vigor. The intense pressure I felt to date and marry within the tribe damaged my perception of Jewish women and my ability to be myself around them. But as I fell in love with her, she fell in love with me—and with my Judaism as well.
Soon after my bar mitzvah, just as I was discovering my interest in the opposite sex, I began to be bombarded with information about intermarriage—about how one in every two Jewish people would marry a non-Jew and how more than half of the children of those unions would not be raised Jewish. This information was pounded in from all directions, from rabbis, from my parents, my grandparents, Hebrew High School, Camp Ramah. I felt the pressure: The future of my people was at stake!
I resolved that I would only go out with Jewish girls. In high school, this decision proved to be mostly moot. I had difficulty finding dates, period. Pretty much everyone I asked out rejected me. I attributed this to the fact that I was kind of nerdy: I hoped things would be better in college. I went to study at Oberlin in The school was arty, musical, nerdy, and had a substantial Jewish population.
But a funny thing happened. Even though I no longer felt outside the norm, I still had trouble getting dates … with Jewish women. Every Jewish woman I asked out on a date rejected me. I had numerous opportunities, on the other hand, to date non-Jewish women. I tried not to follow up on them at first, but I was frustrated and lonely and had finite willpower.
I left Oberlin as I came to it: I had made some good friends, though. While I was at school, I joined an online discussion forum where I began to chat with a non-Jewish girl named Alicia. She lived in New Hampshire, shared all of my nerdy hobbies, had a great sense of humor, and looked like a younger blonde version of geek icon Gillian Anderson from The X-Files. She had a great sense of humor, a wonderful smile, and an honesty that I found refreshing.
We would chat with each other online virtually every day while I was in college, and even after I graduated. But we had never met, much less gone on a date. After college I became desperate. I created an online dating profile on eHarmony, hoping that its mystical personality matching system would somehow do the job that I had proven unable to accomplish on my own.
Before long the site gave me a listing of potential Jewish candidates. Though I was excited by these possibilities at first, the resulting dates could best be compared to Seinfeld episodes. One of my dates somehow managed to steer every discussion, no matter how unrelated, to the topic of cheesecake. Meanwhile, more and more of my friends were getting engaged, more and more of them started families, and I had never dated anyone for more than a few weeks.
After a year of failures, I quit the site. This was my ulterior motive when I planned a trip up to New England. We hit it off in person as well as we had online. We went out for Thai food with my friend and his wife. It felt very much like a double date between two married couples, even though the meeting was hardly planned that way. By the end of the weekend, we were officially dating.
Judaism is and always has been at the core of my identity. My paternal grandparents survived the Holocaust and met at a displaced persons camp in Landsberg, Germany, before they moved to the United States. My father spent his entire professional life working for Jewish Federations across the country. As a child, I grew up in Conservative congregations in Georgia, New Jersey, and Minnesota, was educated in Jewish day schools from kindergarten through fifth grade, and spent most of my childhood summers at Jewish summer camps.
As an adult I have written for Jewish newspapers and teach in a synagogue. Even as our relationship became more serious, I did not want to push her to convert, yet I kept hoping she would become interested in the religion on her own. It was too important to me. So, even though I wanted it and believed it could work, marriage was off the table so long as Alicia was still a gentile.
My paternal grandparents were more concerned; I promised them that I would only marry a Jewish girl. Continue reading: Instead of visiting her once a month, I went down from Livingston to Camden once a week. One visit, I found a giant stack of books on the counter. This was hardly unusual. Alicia is and always has been a voracious reader.
What was unusual was the subject matter of the books: Before I could ask her why she was so interested, she asked me for recommendations on other books. By the next week she had read it and had a new pile of books on Judaism on her counter, then another pile the next week. On some level, I was confident that once she decided to study Judaism, she would become enthralled with it and want to convert. I think that Judaism was waiting for her to find it.
She knew how important Judaism was to me. I also have no doubt she started reading the pile of Jewish books because of me. In the end, however, the decision to convert was hers. She began the conversion process during her second year of law school, much to the joy of my parents and grandparents. The conversion was completed at the beginning of her third. The rabbi said that she knew as much about Judaism as a first-year rabbinical student.
I proposed to her in September , the same month her conversion was completed. Eleven months later, we had our perfect Jewish wedding. I often wonder why I went through years of wandering through the desert filled with Sarahs, Rebeccas, Rachels, and Leahs only to marry a Ruth. Why did my decision to only date Jews end up so disastrously? I think the decision itself was part of the problem. It split the women in my life into two categories: As a result, I was a much more natural and relaxed person among the non-Jews I felt no pressure to impress, whereas my relationship with Jewish women was always fraught with an intense sense of importance: Maybe this would be the one who would end my isolation.
There was nothing wrong with my normal self. At the same time, I consider myself rather lucky. And in Alicia I recognized someone who shared my values, if not my religion. Indeed, she shared the two Jewish values I find most important: They were part of what I came to love about her, and they were part of what she came to love about Judaism.
Her mother even got to choose her Hebrew name. Now the familial pressure has gone from marrying a nice Jewish girl to having nice Jewish kids. Like this article? Click here for access to comments. Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking.
But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective and worse. Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at letters tabletmag. We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support. Gollies, I find this so offensive I can hardly speak. It never occurred to the author that perhaps what was turning women off was his insistence that they conform to an external checklist.
Is it really so offensive to you that we Jews consider our heritage a worthwhile one worth preserving through transmission to our children? What a blessing for this blogger to have found for his mate a woman whose soul was present, along with other sincere converts, at the giving of the Torah at Sinai. You also seem to forget that our mighty David is descended from a Moabite woman. And anybody descended from sinner Solomon would not be considered Jewish by our stiff necked crowd.
He had known other girls and, as I was twenty-five before we married, I had had . I know that in many Christian-Jewish alliances it is thought wiser and more. Twice I've been in serious relationships with Jewish men who've said my my adolescence in a largely Christian community in the South, was not. . of a woman dating a motorcycle-driving, leather-jacket wearing “bad boy”.
I have a daughter who was dating a non-Jewish guy. In order to be with him and out of our disapproving sight she moved far away. Now she wants to come back home.
Interfaith marriage in Judaism also called mixed marriage or intermarriage was historically looked upon with very strong disfavour by Jewish leaders, and it remains a controversial issue among them today.
Gila Manolson explains what Christians can learn from the Jewish principle of 'cherishing touch'. Judaism is wisdom for living; anyone struggling to figure out life can benefit from it. Judaism has a radical approach to handling relationships that works brilliantly it certainly did for my husband and I!
What that much-hated Washington Post essay gets wrong about Jewish men
What do women need to know about men, Jewish men in particular? Hmm, tricky. But, as a divorced and remarried dad of three, I clearly have a unique perspective in the field of gender difference. So here are my own 13 crucial pointers. Food, it hardly needs saying, is a favourite of Jewish homo erectus.
The Jewish Chronicle
May 4 29 Nisan Torah Portion. If I was never going to intermarry, why was I seriously dating a non-Jewish, bona fide heartthrob? I was the one who adamantly declared that I would never marry out. I was so connected to my Jewish identity that my betrayal of it was not even statistically probable. Some of my friends began dating non-Jews. I stopped socializing with them in silent protest, after a more outspoken effort had failed. I self-righteously concluded that we had nothing in common, since they were prepared to give their Jewish identity the backseat. In the Talmud, Rabbi Hillel warns us that we should be careful not to judge another person until we have stood in their place.
Rabbi, it happened again. I fell in love with a non-Jewish girl.
Judaism maintains that the righteous of all nations have a place in the world to come. This has been the majority rule since the days of the Talmud. Judaism generally recognizes that Christians and Moslems worship the same G-d that we do and those who follow the tenets of their religions can be considered righteous in the eyes of G-d. Contrary to popular belief, Judaism does not maintain that Jews are better than other people.
Interfaith marriage in Judaism
May 4 29 Nisan Torah Portion. We raised our children in a home that observed all the major Jewish holidays. I made our children aware of their culture and heritage. Our son was bar mitzvahed and attended Hebrew school for five years. His friends were all Jewish as he grew up, and he attended March of the Living. He is the last Jewish male in our family, since my one and only cousin is a female and I am an only child. If he has no Jewish sons, then our family line will die. Now he has a non-Jewish girlfriend and they are getting serious. He has the support of all her friends who are not Jewish. I have made my feelings of opposition known. My wife says that if we are not careful we will lose him as a son, and that I should go easy on my remarks and actions.
My Non-Jewish Boyfriend
My year old college-graduate daughter has been dating a Catholic boy, also a college graduate since they met in high school. I am a regular Sabbath and holiday shul-goer, and we do at least try to observe in the house, although my wife does it mostly in deference to me. I want all the future generations of my line, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. Seuss about two creatures walking through the prairie of Prax and bumping into each other. They are going in opposite directions and neither of them is willing to make room to let the other pass.
The Jewish fear of intermarriage
My husband's father and mother are Jews. My parents are both what Mr. Hitler would be pleased to call 'Aryan' Germans. I am an American-born girl, and the first to defend my Americanism in an argument; yet so strong are family ties, and the memory of a happy thirteen-month sojourn in the Vaterland a few years ago, that I frequently find myself trying to see things from the Nazis' point of view and to find excuses for the things they do—to the dismay of our liberal-minded friends and the hurt confusion of my husband. Here we are then, Ben and I, a Jew and a German-American, married for four years, supremely happy, with a three-year-old son who has his father's quick brown eyes and my yellow hair.
Why Do I Keep Falling in Love with Non-Jewish Girls?
It was well-received by all, obviously. While every man is presumably looking for different qualities in his wife, we possess outstanding ones that any sane man should want. Our challah plaiting skills are exemplary. She learned it from her mom, who learned it from her Bubba, and so on, until you have a soothing concoction that not only resembles your childhood, but is warm, filling and able to cure almost any ailment, from the flu to a headache. Nothing says Ayshet Chayil like her ability to lovingly prepare a Seder plate.
As millennial Jewish women, we have lots of thoughts and feelings on dating. To chat about everything Jewish dating, we gathered some Alma writers for the first Alma Roundtable. A quick overview of dating histories, because it will inform the conversation:. Jessica has dated mostly non-Jews, which includes her current two-year relationship. Hannah has had two serious relationships; she dated her high school boyfriend from when she was 13 to when she was just about
JTA — Carey Purcell seems to be done dating Jewish men, as she explained in a Washington Post essay that earned her a deluge of attention — and none of it the good kind. The two — count them: Some online commenters have called it vaguely anti-Semitic. Many note that Purcell seemed to base her perception of all Jewish men on just the two she describes in the piece. As the landmark Pew study on American Jews reported, 44 percent of married Jews — and 58 percent of those who have married since — have non-Jewish spouses.Dating & Marriage Advice : Jewish Dating