“but he’s not Jewish…”

Homemade gefilte fish
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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?

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Filed under Dating Jewish Blues

3 responses to ““but he’s not Jewish…”

  1. I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary for your new love interest to be Jewish. What counts are the qualities of mind and heart as well as an empathy for the Jewish ethos. Obviously, as you yourself has found out, setting up a relationship with someone of the same religious or ethnic group is no guarantee of lasting happiness. What counts is realizing that we are vulnerable human beings in desperate need for tenderness and understanding. This is the discovery that the two main characters of my recently published novel, “Getting Enough,” made after 26 years of a disastrous marriage. Once they stop stereotyping one another as creeps and sexual failures, they discover to their astonishment that they are falling in love with one another for the first time in 26 years! For more information, kindly access this website: http://www.strategicbookpublishing.com/GettingEnough.html.
    All the best

  2. Kaye

    Since you yourself are not sure how Jewish a potential mate has to be (or whether he needs to be Jewish at all), what if you just dated guys who seem compatible, to enlarge your circle of friends, without thought to whether they might be a future mate? Just find some folks you’d like to hang out with.

  3. Debbie Harris

    Kaye – as always, thanks for your response. I need to get out of the old mindset, and just work on widening the circle. Great advice.

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