August 16, 2007
Some boo the Hindu that you do so well—others, not so much
Your response to interdating
(Page 2 - Previous Page)I am starting simple: Shabbat dinners with equal numbers of single men and women hosted by loving couples; holiday parties and gatherings with uplifting Jewish content - Ushpizin & Appetizers Under the Stars in a Sukkah, a Purim ball and Megillah reading.
The project is named for my Aunt Frieda - herself a beautiful, brilliant woman who remained single until she was 40. She broke off an engagement in her 20's to a famous but self-involved man, and waited for her bashert, a wonderful mentsch with two children. Frieda was my coolest relative. She lived in Greenwich Village (in the same building as W.H. Auden!), worked as a social worker, did untold acts of kindness for others, and loved and introduced me to the arts. She was a great cook, a lively conversationalist, and a gifted hostess with a knack for putting the right people together. No one I have ever met had her energy. In her 80's, Frieda developed Alzheimer's. She reached the stage where she didn't know the names or identities of her children and husband. Yet, in her last days, she always remembered to ask me: "What's the story with you and Craig? Are you two getting married?"
I married him. In tribute to that, and to Frieda, I am channeling her energy for bringing people together. If others would like to help, I invite them to contact me. Rabbi Debra Orenstein
I was shocked and appalled to read an article in a Jewish newspaper, yours, advocating intermarriage for Jewish women not married by a certain age. Shame, shame on you Rob! Haven't our enemies done enough to try to destroy us?
My wife and I have on many occasions hosted a group of young Jewish professional men for Shabbat, all of whom complained that they could not find the right girl. Guess what. We did the next logical thing and invited an equal contingent of Jewish women who had the same complaint to the same Shabbat dinner.
To our surprise, they all (the single men and single women) got together and agreed how impossible it was to find the right partner. Only one of these individuals got married, and it has been many years.
At the risk of sounding like the dating opinion equal of Tom Cruise, I have to say that if a man or woman is not married by age 40, in most cases it is because they don't want to be.
What Rob suggests is the proverbial treating the symptom and not the disease. If they have only one shot at childbearing, then let them do so with a Jewish man. If you feel so strongly about your point Rob, then save that advice for your daughter, the future Sarah Eshman-Kelly.
On the subject of beautiful, intelligent but unmarried Jewish women in their late 30s and 40s, Rob Eshman suggests interdating as a last resort. I have a better suggestion: aliyah!
If these women who deserve to be married to someone Jewish would make aliyah, they would find that the percentage of Jewish men is 80 percent, as opposed to the much smaller percentage here. These women would, I'm sure, if they are serious about a Jewish marriage, very quickly find a suitable mate.
Shame on Rob Eshman for promoting intermarriage for older single Jewish women.
Instead of blaming rabbis for not adding matchmaking to their long list of duties, perhaps he should ask these "beautiful, brilliant" 40-something women how many nice Jewish guys they rejected when they were in their 20s and 30s. They should be informed that the reason the dating pool is so shallow now is because these guys found other Jewish women who were not holding out for an Adonis with a heavy wallet.
There are still many nice Jewish guys out there in their 40s and beyond who are ready to settle down, some for the second time. Sadly, they still remain invisible to these aging princesses.
Name withheld by request
Sure, it's possible that interdating may produce on some level some individual happy marriages. It's far less clear what such a practice will do to the community, especially if the non-Jewish spouse prefers to stay that way and also especially when children begin to come along and their future Jewish education is less assured.
Mr. Eshman writes about the "too many beautiful, brilliant single Jewish women in their 30s and 40s." We need to work harder on bringing them together with their male Jewish counterparts who are, perhaps, harder to find but worth the effort. It may not solve the whole problem but neither will it betray our commitment to the community.
Marina del Rey
Rob Eshman's column "Our Hindu Widows" bemoans the lack of single Jewish men available for single Jewish women in their 30s and 40s. However, the real problem is that the men do exist, but today's women are looking for only the 10s in looks, personality and lifestyle.
When I was single in the 1950s, a Jewish woman met a Jewish man of the right age and they married. As my late mother used to say -- when she was 87 years old -- about my then-single daughters, "In the old days, the women didn't weigh and measure every man they met."
But, mom, I answered, my daughters tell me that all they meet are nerds.