Nov 17 9 Kislev 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.
And I was going places. One night I went to a party for friends who had just returned from a year in Israel. It was an inspiring night full of memories and promise for the future.
As we gathered round looking at photos, I pretended not to notice Dating a non jewish man attractive guy sitting next to me.
Attractive had inquired after me. He just wants to meet you. He really liked you. This was a delicate situation, to say the least. Here I was, being pursued by a bona fide heartthrob with absolutely no strings attached.
He was an advertising executive. He had a motorbike. Chicken Soup with Chopsticks. We set a date to meet. I convinced myself it would be a completely harmless evening that would chalk up a point for my flirting skills.
I decided to keep it a secret from my parents. We revved up the night with a ride on his motorbike. Then we talked, and laughed, and talked and laughed some more. This was tougher than I thought. So, unbelievably, on the first date we spoke about him converting. That was his ticket to a second date. And a third, and a fourth. Things were getting serious, but I was ignoring the ramifications, because, you remember, I was not going to marry out.
The confession took place at a restaurant. I simply let my parents know that I was dating a non-Jew, but not to worry. Not because we were in a public place, but because they were smart enough to think before they spoke.
Dinner ended awkwardly, amidst the forlorn clinking of cutlery toying with barely eaten food. The next day, I delivered my father his traditional Sunday breakfast in bed. He thanked me softly. I had not seen him shed a tear since his mother passed away, over a Dating a non jewish man before. The next day I found myself in the car with my father. We parked in the driveway. There we sat for a good few minutes, lost in our separate worlds. I, in my bubble of optimistic Dating a non jewish man, and my father — mourning the potential loss Dating a non jewish man future generations.
Finally, I broke the heavy silence. I pressed on, going for the jugular. This time, it was my father that spoke. For the first time ever, I had stumped my brilliant lawyer father. But he still had one last trick up his sleeve. Why would an intelligent girl do that to herself, or worse, to the person she says she cares about?!
My heart was heavy with respect for my parents and the desire to please them. I felt the weight of my Jewish identity on my fragile shoulders. What exactly was I trying to preserve and protect? After all, I was not religious. Why had it been so fundamentally clear to me that I would marry a Jew? And what had happened to that clarity?
I had been taking my for granted. Jewish day school, Jewish friends, a traditional Jewish home. There had been no challenge, no threat, no temptation. No chance to think or look outside the box. But now my exclusive Jewish education and traditional upbringing was on trial.
Was it enough to save me? I took the witness stand. For the first time in my life, I consciously thought about, and decided, who I was, what I Dating a non jewish man to be, and what was truly important. I was first and foremost a Jew. I wanted it to continue to be a part of my life.
And it was vitally important that my future husband feel the same. Get Me to the Church on Time. A short, tense phone call ended what would have been the mistake of a lifetime.
I never saw or spoke to him again, although I cried for days. I believe this is the factor that can make the difference. The factor that needs to be nurtured in our communities: Caring about the Jewish people. Caring about our heritage, our legacy. Caring about the past, caring about our future. Caring about the future generations.
Caring about our parents, caring about each other. If we want the Jewish People to survive, we need to care about all these things, more than we care about ourselves.
How do we practically go about nurturing a caring relationship with our Jewishness? It starts, continues and ends in our homes. All the private Jewish day schooling, extra-curricular activities, tutoring, youth groups, social events, community get-togethers, online newsletters, dating clubs and support groups have Dating a non jewish man gargantuan uphill battle and built-in disadvantage when faced with the masses of Jews that grow up in homes void of any practical Jewish expression.
Jewish educational institutions and community groups are the necessary lifelines that extend from our homes to our collective future. We need to nourish ourselves with more Jewishness in order to ensure their success. We want our children to care about the meaning of being Jewish. We need to nurture their Jewish identity to the point that it becomes innate.
Our homes are where we nurture, and where our children learn to care. Our homes are where we show our children what it is important to care about. A lot of people feel that they need to make a great sacrifice to live out their Jewishness.