December 8, 2009 | 11:51 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
A lot of people have a lot of opinions about my dating life. I get lots of feedback about my desire to be a better Jew and even more when I say that I only date Jewish men. I’ve blogged about it before but let’s spell it out a little more clearly.
I am Jewish and not just a “High Holiday” or a “Bagel and Lox” Jew. I am a practicing Jew. I go to services, celebrate the holidays, learn Torah and observe more than just Yom Kipper. I find joy and peace in my faith and in learning more.
I am finding my place as I go. I was raised in a secular but traditional home and became observant after I had my son and even more aware after he had his Bar Mitzvah. I am not particularly religious but increasingly aware and appreciative of what having religion in my life does.
I’ve heard the argument that it would be good enough to have someone who has faith if I can’t find someone who is Jewish and I don’t really understand that theory and it’s just not how I roll. I think religion goes hand in hand with faith.
I feel it is important to believe in something and that is based on religion not faith. If someone has tremendous faith and practices Catholicism then that is not going to be a match for me and I don’t mind saying so even though I can feel the hate mail coming.
I think a better comparison would be that perhaps I could be with someone who is spiritual rather than Jewish. Again, this one is hard for me but a little easier to handle. If a man is spiritual, believes in something bigger than himself and prays to a higher power then would that be enough?
If someone were very spiritual and was open to celebrating Jewish holidays and traditions could I have a relationship with that person and still be able to live a Jewish life? I suppose I could but it would be settling to me and I just don’t think there is anything wrong with holding out for a Jew.
Everyone is able to make these decisions for themselves and we all have different levels of faith and religious practice. All I’m saying is that for me, having the same religion is important. I am not judging others who marry outside their faith, just saying that it’s not an option for me.
If my son met a woman who was raised Christian but defined herself as more spiritual than religious I would be concerned because once I had a baby, I embraced my faith and if she were the same she would have a baby and want to share the faith of her upbringing.
I feel I am defending my faith, religion and desire to be with someone who shares it, which is a shame. I think it’s quite lovely to want that connection and believe all the highs and lows in a relationship are made easier to navigate if your partner has the same belief system.
At the end of the day I am a Jew and that is the source of my faith. I believe religion, spirituality and faith go hand in hand and it is my choice to hold hands with a Jew. I should not be attacked or judged for that belief and I do not judge or attack others.
My choices are my own as are my hopes for my child. There are about a billion things more important than my religious path for the haters to worry about so I will compile a list of these things so you can pick something interesting to you.
I am on a journey to find love and at the same time I am on a personal path to understand my faith, embrace my religion and live spiritually. I am blessed to live in a time when I can be free to talk about religion even though there are people who try to scar that freedom.
God Bless those who are unable practice their beliefs and faith. God Bless those who are unable to speak freely and openly about their lives, hopes, dreams and goals. I will hang on and defend my freedom a little stronger until you have the same opportunities. Keep the faith.
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