Saturday, September 26, 2009

'Gotta Have Faith'

As a Jewish transplant of Alabama, the first response from others regarding my religion is usually some form of, ‘Wait, there are Jews in Alabama?’ followed by a, ‘No, really, you must be lying.’ My common reply is a polite laugh and a ‘yes, me and two others.’ Joking aside, the Jewish population in Alabama is minuscule (9,000 or .2 percent), and the number of practicing Jews in my hometown of Mobile, Alabama is smaller, and dwindling by the minute. In truth, the quick demise of a Jewish community in Mobile exists as an illustration of a bigger Jewish picture. Realistically, the number of men in yarmulkes and women crying ‘oy vey’ is quickly dissolving.
Sadly, my religion, one of the oldest, is dying. In number, we make up only less than one quarter of one percent of the world’s population. As the statistics decline, the growing number of worried Jews inclines. Older generations fear that the traditions they have fought to preserve, such as Shabbat dinner, reading from the Torah, or Bar/Bat Mitzvahs will not be a part of their descendents’ lives. At the moment, Judaism is not an absolute, its future is uncertain. The vitality of my faith is under siege by the act of marriage; more specifically, interfaith marriage which is on the rise at the rate of one in every two American Jews (
Growing up surrounded by gentiles (non-Jews), my Jewish dating options were few. There was one Jewish male in my grade and in my eyes his desire was null, thus before moving to D.C. two years ago I had never dated a Jewish boy or man. It was difficult, truly impossible, but essential to my parents who constantly reiterated the fact that interfaith marriages are ‘harder’ because ‘Jews just understand Jews,’ as stated by my mother. In person, my parents were cordial to the gentiles I always brought home, but behind closed doors I knew they cringed as the ‘I love you’s’ were heard through the telephone, or the talks of marriage between my Gentile and I flittered on my tongue. Inwardly, I wondered whether they would ever truly accept my Christian counterparts or a marriage between me and another. These questions reverberated through my mind like a pin ball, but I knew the answer; they would not. They are not the only parents and families who look down upon interfaith marriage, one such man was Chicago Dentist, Max Feinberg, whose will included a stipulation in which any grandchild who married outside of the Jewish faith would be disinherited (,0,6171244.story?track=rss-topicgallery). His death in 1986 caused an uproar among his family, but on September 22, 2009, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled his prerequisite as just. As a result of this decision, the four out of his five grandchildren who married non Jews will no longer inherit $250,000. Suddenly, money, marriage, and faith have become one. This case may appear as an exception, but proves that Jewish men and women fear an unpredictable Jewish future. Orthodox Jews, those who are members of the most traditional branch of Judaism, refer to interfaith marriage as a “second silent Holocaust” ( In the past parents did not just quietly disagree, they openly mourned the loss of their children by sitting shiv’ah, the Jewish ritual of mourning (
I am most certain that my father would not disinherit me if I were to marry outside the faith, or sit shiv’ah for seven days if a Rabbi and priest were to preside over my wedding, but it would cause tension and a break in our relationship. His grandfather, Reverend Simon Chassin, was one of the first Rabbis in Mobile, Alabama, and he himself has a strong conviction in his faith. He believes strongly in the power of forgiveness, but I do not imagine he would forgive me for this. He acknowledges and laments over the fact that his name, Chassin, will not be carried on after his passing, but does not accept that his faith too will die with his death. My own marriage is a way of preventing his fear from coming to fruition, hence his outward push for me to pursue only men of the Jewish faith. This past summer discussing with him my dating mishaps, he kindly offered to pay for a three month subscription to the website Jdate. He became a part of the twenty-two percent of parents who pay for their children’s memberships (,1,3227323.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed), and believes that his investment is a wise one. I never equated marriage with religion, or thought of myself as being particularly religious. I attend services only on the high holidays (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), but I do believe that my religion is a part of who I am. Would I feel incomplete without it? I do not know, but I want my religion to thrive, and my children to understand what it means to be Jewish. I do not want to be a growing statistic of Jewish women marrying gentiles, and if Jdate is the place to meet my man, then my time on it is worthwhile.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Bocher # 1, Tell us a Little about yourself"

Jdate is a simple idea, complicated by specific rules that must be followed. As a result of this being my third time on the site, I’ve become an ace at these (my) fabricated by-laws .Like many women, and true southern belles, they wait for the man to do the bidding, and in the world of Jdate this can be impeded by obstacles (laziness, timing, etc.) So, what follows is a list of my Jdate by-laws:
1: Finding the Perfect Bocher (bachelor):
Scan your way through the plethora of men in your adjusted age range (mine being 24-30). Start first with the ones under the tab, ‘Newest,’ these being the ‘fresh meat of the day,’ and the newest faces. Next click on the tab ‘Most Popular,’ which, as the tab implies, are the men deemed the worthiest of all. Finally, ‘Hotlist’ those who you find attractive, or interesting, and hook the bait. Once ‘Hot listed,’ said man will then receive an email with the subject of ‘Someone’s interested in you,' followed by my profile picture and Jdate pushing the man to ‘Be a little daring while you're still fresh in their mind and send an email to introduce yourself.’ Trust me, ‘hot listing’ the potential date lets him know you find him attractive. Men and women fear rejection, but knowing that someone finds you attractive stills that worry. Plus, all men enjoy having their ego stroked, trust this third time jdater, it works.
# 2- Deciding whether to respond to the email / Flirt:
The email or flirt, which is a set of already written, cheesy one liners (examples: I’d better call FedEx, you’re the total package; Judging your book by its cover, I’d love to curl up and read the rest) is the usual way in which most Bocher’s contact a Maidel (Bachelorette). As is evidence of the two listed, the writers at Jdate have no true dating experience, but they serve as good indications for many maidels, myself included. Men who send a flirt which reads, ‘ I’d like to share some uncomfortable silences with you’ might be a little creepy and not for you. After waiting for said Flirt or email, I then decide whether to write it off as a good chuckle or respond. This brings us to Rule # 3.
#3 Nailing the date/ the ‘3’ email limit:
The banter back and forth must be witty, light-hearted, and informative. By the third email, the man should have asked for your number, or asked you to join him for a drink/ or dinner. Anything beyond three emails implies that the man does not have the baitsim (balls) to ever contact you. Hence, you are moving on. Fast forward through the phone-call, and to my first Jdate on my third try.
Bocher #1.
As implied, three emails passed between us, before said Bocher asked to take me to dinner. I accepted, after concluding that he was not a nebbish (loser) I emailed him my number and promptly received a call. We set a date, Saturday, September 12th, 7:30 at Sequoia on the Washington Harbor. Sounds promising, I was fooled.
Saturday 11 AM- Text from Bocher #1 (reads something like this): ‘Feeling really ill and don’t want my first impression to be of me being sick. I really don’t want to cancel, but I don’t want to get you sick either…bla, bla, bla, BLA’
The date is a no-go, and I question whether to believe his excuse or believe him to be a putz (Dick). After reading the text, several times to my sister and brother-in-law, I decided to consider his cop-out and give him another chance.
Attempt # 2: Same place, same time, same Bocher. Meet him in the Harbor, am running late because, I’ m a girl and it’s what I do. Warning, Jdate women, or any women who date online, men with one profile picture, instead of the allotted 4, most likely do not look like, or resemble the ‘most fantastic picture they have every taken.’ Fortunately, he did not look like the picture, but he did resemble the man with brown hair, brown eyes, and a smirk. He’s fashioned his 5’9 frame in a striped button-down, the top two buttons he’s left undone, for my pleasure, and black slacks. Preppy, but cute. Unfortunately, after a few sentences; I conclude that he might be schnockered (drunk), already. He isn’t slurring his words, but his thoughts run rampant from topic to topic. I ask several times, ‘Excuse me, what are you talking about?’ Maybe he was nervous, maybe he was drunk, but after ordering a bottle of wine for us, I infer that he’s looking to get even more farshnoshket (loaded), and wants me to join in. Three glasses into the date and I’ve done just that. His party now includes two. And this, my friends, is where the date gets hazy, because I’m a little lady. One drink will do. But, we’re going on a second date this Friday, so I guess I somehow impressed him through slurred words, and, maybe a kiss or two.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

In Need of My NJB

I' m single, have been for over a year now, which is shocking to many, considering I'm a serial monogamist. I like relationships. To phrase this properly, I like relationships with the wrong men, goyem, or non-jewish men. Men of the Catholic faith have been my 'chosen ones,' and since they've led me wrong, I've decided to stick to the advice of my parents and meet a man of my own faith, an NJB, A.K.A. a Nice Jewish Boy.
Where shall southern belle like myself find such a man in a world of deceiving bachelors, 'why online of course,' more specifically, is the most popular Jewish website for girls and gals of all ages, sizes, and shapes to find that NJB or NJG. What began in 1997 as the brainchild of Spark Network, the now ‘leading provider of online personals in the United States and internationally’ has grown to over 650,000 people worldwide. That’s a lot of Jews looking for love.
And so, this summer I signed up for a third try. The first go around I paid, but this time, I've become smarter, convincing my father to fit the bill. He's willing if it makes his 'shana punim(pretty face) happy, and he gets a son -in-law. We shall see if his dreams of one day being able to awkwardly hug my NJB transpire. We are all waiting.