The first time around – y’know, when Gerald Ford was in office… It was really important to me to find a Jewish partner. I knew that I wanted to have a Jewish home, and raise Jewish children. Been there, done that.
So now that I’m out there looking for someone else, how important is that?
I already have the Jewish kids, of course. And I’m not looking to make any more; that’s for sure. Obviously, having a partner who’s the same faith as I wasn’t any guarantee for the “happily ever after” marriage. And it’s not even like I practice Judaism that regularly. Besides going every Sunday to teach religious school, and working in a day school, I rarely go to synagogue. Cultural Judaism is really important to me – I know that I need to know that my partner knows what I mean when I say, for instance, ‘gefilte fish.’
“I bought gefilte fish the other day,”
“Really? I didn’t know you had a tank.”
nope; that won’t do
Let’s say, though, that Mr. Potential Partner is savvy enough to know about Judaism but isn’t. Let’s say that he’s that elusive “spiritual, but not religious” guy. Is that enough?
Does he have to be Jewish? And, if so, what kind of “Jewish?” Go to synagogue every week Jewish? Nope – that would seriously cut into my Friday night at the movies habit. Raised by a Jewish mother but can’t stand Jews Jewish? Raised in a Jewish home but couldn’t recite a prayer to save his life Jewish? Uber-Jewish? No – I’m certainly not “Jewish enough” for that.
Okay – here’s the next issue: does he have to be Jewish to date? When I was younger and had gotten serious about dating-in-order-to-find-a-mate I only dated Jewish. That made sense; you generally do not marry someone whom you didn’t date (at least not in my world). But now – am I dating to find a mate? Or to have someone to do things with, explore who I am now, etc? So does he have to be Jewish?