October 21, 2011 | 12:06 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I had lunch with a friend this week who suggested that in order for me to meet a nice guy, I should start dating men who are not Jewish. I’ve received that advice before from many people, but I was surprised to hear it from this particular friend. He is not only Jewish, but married to a Rabbi.
If this friend, who lives a Jewish life, raises his kids Jewish, has a love for Judaism, and whom I respect very much, thinks I should date non-Jews, does that make it okay for me to venture to the other side? Is it a big deal to date outside your faith? Was I getting an opinion or permission?
I think faith is important and it matters to me. While I don’t concern myself with what religion people are, personally, my life is made a little easier and more fulfilling when I have faith. For me, faith and religion are two different things. I have tremendous faith, and am also Jewish.
I am raising my son with both religion and faith. He is a Jew, and has faith in himself, in me, and in God. Last night was Simchat Torah and my son read Torah at temple. He did an amazing job and I was so proud of him. He read beautifully and the experience was very special.
I only date Jewish men because it’s what I’m comfortable with, and I want to share my religion with my partner. I want my son to marry a wonderful Jewish woman one day, and raise his children as he was, with a love of faith and Judaism. If I am in a relationship with someone not Jewish, is that not permission for my son to do the same?
I mentioned to a girlfriend, that this friend of mine suggested I date men who are not Jewish, and she said just because I don’t want to marry a man who is not Jewish, does not mean I can’t sleep with one. Her suggestion was that I marry a Jew, but sleep with a non-Jew until I find the Jew.
My Jewish friends are not that into my whole marry a Jew thing. It cracks me up because my Jewish friends are happily married to Jews, by choice, yet they are putting it out there that it might not be the path for me. My choices are not really supported by my close friends.
The truth is that none of my friends get it. They have all, at some point, told me that I need to be with a man of faith, and that religion does not matter. The feeling is that if I am secure in my Judaism, it only matters that he believes in something, not necessarily the same thing as me.
My son is almost 16, so any man I date will meet him. When he was young he never met the men I dated, but now he is old enough to not only meet them, but also have a relationship with them. If I date a non-Jew, then so can my son and I won;t be able to object or say anything.
He certainly does not need my permission, and I will love whomever he loves, but I have to lead by example. I am not going to date men who are not Jewish, and I am not going to sleep with men who are not Jewish. If I’m sleeping with you, we are in a relationship, so that won’t work.
My mother always told me not to play with matches unless I was prepared to deal with a fire. I always thought it was a stupid thing to say, but I appreciate it now. Non-Jewish men are matches. If I date them, they might turn into fire, and I’ll be stuck with no water.
Considering I have not had a good date in weeks and I have two cats, I hardly think this is anything I need to worry about. I am closer to being a cat lady than I am to getting married, so whether or not I date outside my faith is not a big deal at the moment.
I have a date tomorrow with a Jewish man. He is an accountant, 56 years old, and quite charming. I have no plans to marry him, or sleep with him, but when I told him my son was reading Torah, he got it, was excited for my son, and for me to watch him. That matters.
I have a better shot at getting another cat than I do of meeting a nice Jewish man to spend the rest of my life with, but I’m still shooting for the man, and avoiding the animal shelter. Maybe I will meet the Jewish man of my dreams at the animal shelter? I’m keeping the faith.
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