}

Dear Danielle

Dear Danielle,

I joined an organized sports team and met a great guy. We flirted the entire game, he bought me drinks and then he walked me home….50 blocks! Not only is he smart, cute, charming, genuine, and funny, he is also not Jewish (“NJ”). I grew up in a modern orthodox home and have always dated guys with the same background, although I am less observant then I used to be. As I get older, I find it hard to meet guys with the qualities described above. I’ve gone out with a “NJ” twice since we met and realize how sincere and sweet he is more each time -but deep down I know I can’t be with him. I definitely don’t know him well yet, but I find it hard to just stop seeing him because of religion. It may eventually sizzle since being Jewish is so important to me and I value my religion and want to be a part of a Jewish community when I’m married…but for now, I really like him. What to do????

Signed,

“Is he a catch or should I let go?”

Dear “Is he a catch or should I let go?”

Let go. It will only get harder the more you get attached to him. Unless he tells you he has an interest in a serious commitment AND an interest in learning about Judaism/ possibly converting, then don’t put yourself in a situation where you will fall hard for someone and later be disappointed. He might be cute, smart and funny but common background and family/community life are essential to a long term successful relationship. Go join a Jewish sports team.

Danielle will answer your questions about family, relationships, careers, religion, love and life – visit www.telldanielle.com

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31 Comments

  1. AlexK

    4/15/2010 at 4:23 pm

    Use him for sex. Duh.

  2. froylein

    4/15/2010 at 8:16 pm

    Actual chemistry is more important than incorrect interpretations of man-made rules.

    I do wonder though why all LWs confuse “then” and “than”. The words even pronounce differently.

    And what Alex said.

  3. Ephraim

    4/15/2010 at 10:56 pm

    Unless both partners are clear about what they are after in such a “relationship”, Jews using gentiles for sex is a terrible idea.

    If they’re good enough to fuck, they’re good enough to marry.

  4. AlexK

    4/16/2010 at 12:11 am

    Actually, I fully support all people’s of all faiths using each other for sex, if they feel comfortable marrying someone or not. 🙂

  5. Paul Golin

    4/16/2010 at 12:28 pm

    Danielle, I guess by your logic — “common background and family/community life are essential to a long term successful relationship” — you would also agree with the statement that black people shouldn’t marry white people, and that rich people shouldn’t marry poor people.

    Common background is essential to some people’s long term successful relationship, but for many other people, differing backgrounds are what makes their relationship a fascinating life-long journey together. More importantly, what is it in the top paragraph that leads you to conclude that these two people actually lack a common background? You have only one background difference to go on, the religion of birth, and you have no idea how the man feels about his religion of birth. Based on that, you conclude authoritatively “Let go”? And why offer that advise if you immediately follow it up with the recognition that he might actually have an interest in Judaism? The bottom line is, you just don’t have enough information to go on, yet you made a knee-jerk recommendation based on generalization rather than an actual knowledge of this individual’s situation.

    I question how much relationship help you can actually provide people based on a single paragraph lacking essential details about the individuals involved, and whether it’s responsible to even be doing so. Perhaps you can instead draw on the Jewish tradition of answering a question with more questions, to help people get at their own answers based on their own individual situations.

  6. intermarriageisgreat

    4/16/2010 at 2:27 pm

    We should all listen to Paul Golin. He’s the founder of the “Jewish Outreach Institute” which is a leading pro-intermarriage group. Mr. Golin himself is married to Japanese woman. I also believe, like JOI, that all Jews should marry Gentiles. Inmarriage is so passe and ethnocentric. Judaism needs to change with the times. It’s all about assimilation and mixing our dirty blood with the clean blood of the Gentiles.

    Gentiles, especially the women, can raise Jewish children better than any Jew. Anything a Jewish woman can do Gentile women can do better, like making Jewish babies, and they are a lot prettier too.

    Go ahead and marry your beautiful Goy boy. Your children one day will thank your for it. Half-Jew is better than being all-Jew. Look at the all the ugly diseased Ultra-Orthodox Jewish children. Do you want your children to turn out like that? Of course not!

    Intermarriage is the greatest hope for Judaism. No more ugly Jews, no more diseased Jews, and eventually no more Orthodox Judaism with it’s outdated stupid Halacha. Intermarriage is awesome!!

  7. AlexK

    4/16/2010 at 4:51 pm

    As someone in an intermarriage I found Intermarriageisgreat’s comments to be both incredibly anti-Semitic and dumb as shit.

    • themiddle

      4/16/2010 at 5:40 pm

      Alex, I think intermarriageisgreat is attempting to use sarcasm and irony to make his point.

  8. froylein

    4/16/2010 at 5:26 pm

    And Sashka can be quite potty-mouthed himself. 🙂

    IMIG’s comment merits some attention though; according to a top-rank expert on the matter of handicaps I spoke to a few years ago, the rate of handicapped children or children born with severe hereditary illnesses is much higher in Haredi circles. Blood compatibility tests my tush. First-cousin marriages are not only not unheard of but common among those that it’s tough to find a match for – namely youths with evident handicaps or illnesses.
    Still, I don’t like the tone IMIG used.

    I’m with Paul. You cannot possibly give such critical advice based on a few lines with next to no background information. Advice columnists like the writer of “Dear Abby” have got an entire staff and network of psychologists, counsellors etc. at hand. They tend to point out if they try to suggest their specific take on the matter.

  9. ck

    4/18/2010 at 6:59 pm

    Well from where I sit, I am in the midst of 2 cases, both of which involve mixed parents who agreed to raise their children Jewish and then the non-Jewish parent changed his mind after the divorce. Larry linked to yet another story just like that, where the Father flagrantly defied a court order, and had his daughter baptized in complete contempt of the court and in violation of a promise he made his wife. And what happened? He got his way and was rewarded for his intransigence. This happens all the time – especially with a 50% divorce rate. Paul Golin’s politically correct Kumbaya scenario simply doesn’t take that into account. Froylein’s broken record spiel about silly rules also doesn’t take that into account. The bottom line is that if you want to have children, and you want them to be raised unequivocally Jewish, intermarriage is a statistically awful way to do that. Like, totally terrible. It has nothing to do with tribalism or racism or any of that bullshit. It’s just basic statistics and probability. As such, Danielle’s advice is pretty good – if anything, it’s not strident enough.

    • froylein

      4/18/2010 at 8:52 pm

      It’s not a broken record spiel. It’s rock-solid Jewish history and sociology. Simply ignoring the for-the-most part cultural frugality of such matches (read, read, read) is denying a large part of Jewish history and sociology its existence. Just because you are supportive of approaches to custody matters that the one or the other person might find highly questionable from an educational point-of-view doesn’t mean I’ll have to stick to the party line.

      Danielle’s reply misses out on a few important notions / questions that should have been asked:
      a) the couple does share common interests apart from religion. If the letter writer were really religious, she wouldn’t be on a mixed sports team. (Who are we fooling?);
      b) depending on what religion / denomination the guy adheres to, he must not marry outside his religion / denomination. This should be clarified as well;
      c) the guy’s account stats as we’ve learnt in the past that any aversion can be overcome giving there’s a thick monetary cushion.

      Don’t let love get in the way of, uh, a fulfilled life.

      I’ve said it before and will say it again, we’ve got bloggers not only professionally qualified but also professionally experienced in giving advice on such matters (yet they refrain from playing counsellor on here). Being opinionated is not enough to give critical information of such nature.

  10. ck

    4/20/2010 at 7:45 pm

    Seriously Froylein, I have no idea what you said in your 1st paragraph – except that there is no party line that you have to toe to. Bust as for the rest of what you wrote…

    a) One doesn’t have to be “really” religious to want their kids raised Jewish – meaning no Church visits, no conflicting religious instruction or celebrations, no Christmas trees and a primary identity that is firmly Jewish etc. etc.

    b) Whatever religion “NJ” is, he has no issue dating a Jewish woman

    c) The dude’s bank account wasn’t posited as a relevant detail by the letter writer

    As for other bloggers giving advice, that’s what the comments section is for! Look at us slugging it out!

    So to reiterate, even if you’re not particularly religious – if you want your kids to at least identify as Jews, marrying non-Jews is a statistically poor way of getting that done. As for dating non-Jews, well, everyone can make up their own minds I suppose. Are you just looking to pass time till Mr. Right Jew comes along? Is it wise to tread in such waters? I wouldn’t recommend it – especially if you are looking to settle down. Like I said, Danielle’s advice is basically spot on though I’d add not to bother unless he had a pre-existing desire to convert.

  11. froylein

    4/21/2010 at 6:30 am

    What I said in the first paragraph is that you’d have to be ignorant about a lot of Jewish history from biblical times on to pretend that mixed couples could not raise kids well-rooted in Jewish culture, often-times better than plain Jewish couples that take their religion for granted BTW.

    We’ve seen in the past that the bank account matters more than emotions or actual attraction on this advice column. “Close your eyes and think of England.”

    If you want to raise your kids really Jewish, what about banning them candles for a start? Or trousers? Or tomatoes? Or monogamy? The wigs? Purim costumes? Cheesecake? Or any other element of post-biblical influence adopted from the non-Jewish environment by choice or by force? Just as you can raise kids bilingually, you can raise them with an understanding for various religions and they’ll choose what they are most comfortable with, so it depends on what side of the family does a better job. Oh, and lest I forget to mention it again: Jewish history is full of such constellations that worked for the better.

    I’d like to point out again that if the letter writer were religious, she wouldn’t be on a mixed sports team. You can try selling that bridge to somebody else.

    Also, the comments section doesn’t improve the quality of the column. Next time you undergo a surgery, would you want me to be in the OR to give my unqualified yet opinionated views?

    It seems it’s about time Muffti and I resort to plan B.

  12. dahlia

    4/21/2010 at 7:16 am

    what’s plan b? it sounds exciting

  13. ck

    4/21/2010 at 8:27 am

    Yes Froylein, there are many exceptions to the rule, but you fail to address the statistically proven fact that the best way to raise kids that will, as a bare minimum, identify as Jews, is to have two parents that are Jewish. Everything else you’ve written doesn’t address that very simple fact.

    Furthermore, you don’t have to be religious to not want your Jewish kids to celebrate Christmas, or Easter or attend Christian Church services. This whole hippy dippy teach them all religions and let them choose cannard just results in kids that do not value any religion. Now if that’s what you want, that’s ok! Far be it from me to tell anyone how they MUST raise their children! However, if you have a stated desire to raise children that at least identify as Jews, the most statistically effective way to do that is with 2 Jewish parents. Please focus on that fact in your response. As for slugging it out in the comments, dude – it’s just an advice column, not open heart surgery!

  14. froylein

    4/21/2010 at 8:55 am

    Whose statistics? I’ve only seen tainted ones provided by kiruv-rooted organisations. Their quality is as good as if I were to survey my cats and dog on whether they like chicken breast. Actual history speaks volumes in contrast to those claims.

    Why am I supposed to focus on something that history in and of itself has proved wrong? I’m not going to argue against statistics that are worth a torn shoebox full of sand.

    And BTW, if you incorporate ANY of the elements I listed above into your Judaism / life, you’re already adhereing to a mixed lifestyle.

  15. ck

    4/21/2010 at 9:14 am

    History has proved no such thing? Moses had a Kushite wife? Ruth became a Jewess? That’s your proof? While we lack the details of Moses’ wife, we do know that Moses’ sister Miriam was struck with leprosy by God for casting aspersions onto her. Obviously this was some special Kushite woman to be married to none other than Moses and to have God intervene in her affairs. I’d hazard a guess that she chose to adopt the ways of the Jews. As for Ruth? “Your people are my people, your God is my God.” A classic statement of commitment to Jewish values. That’s fine with me.

    As for the studies, go ahead froylein, poke holes in this study that tracked 235,000 Jewish freshmen, run by those infamous Haredi kiruvniks Hillel and UCLA. This isn’t some bullshit J Street survey. Go ahead here it is. I have time. And thanks to volcanic ash, so do you (sorry! but you should have come to Israel!!!).

    • ck

      4/21/2010 at 4:44 pm

      chirp. chirp. chirp.

  16. AlexK

    4/21/2010 at 1:02 pm

    I attend my wife’s church with her on Easter and Christmas and Mother’s Day almost every year. When I walk in there, it’s like there is a force-field around me that nothing penetrates. But it’s just set at a higher level than the one I wear to Synagogue on Yom Kippur.

  17. slks

    4/21/2010 at 1:15 pm

    I’m an observant Jew, planning to marry a born-Catholic man. It’s certainly not easy, even though my boyfriend is converting. When we started dating, he told me that he was a lapsed Catholic and I told him that I was a devout Jew and my children would be as well. If his answers had been different, I probably wouldn’t have allowed the relationship to get serious. It’s awkward to have that talk right away, but if you don’t, you end up in the situation I see a lot of my friends in, getting married and only now having that conversation. I agree that raising a kid in two faiths (especially ones that contradict each other) is a recipe for agnosticism and a lack of religious identification.

    However, even when your non-Jewish partner converts, there’s still lots of difficulties. For example, Reform Judaism often feels the most comfortable for converts. However, do you really want to raise your children Reform? (Nothing against the denomination, but I don’t). You have to ask the person you love not just to become Jewish, but also to become a similar type of observant Jew, which is so so much harder. Kashrut, Shabbos, Hebrew, long services in Hebrew, connection to Israel; the things that you do automatically are all new and foreign to him. The instinct that makes a cheeseburger look unappetizing to me or makes me read a blog like this one, are instincts that he doesn’t, and may never, have. It’s going to be a struggle and you have to know that that other person is worth it (my bf is) and is going to make an equal commitment to you. Some intermarriages do work. Some devout Jewish children are raised by fathers who weren’t born into the Tribe. But, you both have to be sure going in. If you’re not, then follow Danielle’s advice.

  18. themiddle

    4/21/2010 at 4:34 pm

    “The instinct that makes me read a blog like this one…”

    Hey! We have at least one Catholic reader!

  19. Sderot

    4/21/2010 at 5:22 pm

    What nonsense from froylein. You’re not even Jewish so your opinion on this issue is rooted in ignorace. How nice that a Jewish guy goes to church with his Christian wife. I don’t blame him though. The church is where his kids are/will be baptized and made into devout Christians. Ultimately that’s where his kids will be married. What a nice Christian family you have. Are there any real Jews here?

  20. themiddle

    4/21/2010 at 5:39 pm

    None of us are like you, Sderot. Pity, huh?

  21. froylein

    4/21/2010 at 8:43 pm

    Yeah, guess you have to be an ignorant fanatic to count for anything, hmmm, Sderot? And now that I’ve just checked who you are, I’d kindly suggest you unplug from the internet. It only leads to evil inclinations.

    And CK, I said “history” not “folklore” (aka “popular history”).
    Oh, and I don’t have time cause I, well, just had dinner with Lori and Kelsey, and now we’re all stuffed and ready to potato on the couch.

    Hillel? Eh… To honour the great American novelist, aka the American Sholom Aleichem, Mark Twain, on the 100th anniversary of his passing, “Don’t trust any statistics you haven’t forged yourself.”

  22. slks

    4/21/2010 at 9:15 pm

    Oops, sorry, I didn’t mean to exclude non-Jewish readers! Just for me, personally, I feel like my interest in Jewish topics is connected to my Jewish faith/identity. I know that isn’t the case for everyone though.

  23. AlexK

    4/22/2010 at 9:44 am

    Wow. We have a live tea leaf reader here in Sderot. I had no idea my kids were going to be Christians! Here, the whole time we were going to raise them Jewish. Thank Sderot for pointing me in the right direction!

  24. ck

    4/22/2010 at 2:10 pm

    Sderot? Go count the omer, ok? And perhaps contemplate the meaning behind it.

    froylein? “chirp, chirp, chirp…”

  25. Sderot

    4/22/2010 at 2:58 pm

    Non-Jewish mother = non-Jewish children. Yes your children are/will be Christian just like your wife. I won’t aplologize for writing the truth. Belated happy Easter to your lovely Christian family. Froylein; You shoud take your own advice. Ck; Lol! You’re funny. I understand you feel you have defend your gifriend but this has nothing to do with you.

    • ck

      4/23/2010 at 2:39 am

      Sderot: Any douche-like activity on the site concerns me. I’ve never even met froylein but if you’re going to claim to wear the mantle of religious Judaism, it might be a good idea to behave like a mentsch, something you’re clearly incapable of. Now seriously, go contemplate the meaning of the Omer.

  26. AlexK

    4/22/2010 at 3:03 pm

    Really Sderot? Please show me where in the Torah it says that.

  27. froylein

    4/22/2010 at 5:12 pm

    Sderot, I get it. You’re an Evangelical Christian. There’s no other way you could possibly know this little.

    CK, I’ll get a ticket one of these weekends, fly to you and …

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