If the statistics are accurate, American Jewish men are not that much more likely to be married to non-Jews than are American Jewish women. We must then ask why ‘shiksa’ is a household name, while ‘goy’ has no overtly sexual connotations, and is not used in reference to Jewish women specifically.

1) Stereotypes: The stereotypical Jew, in America, is smart and clever, rich if not all that attractive, coarse-featured and dark-haired. The stereotype works more to the advantage of Jewish men than Jewish women. Even if phrased in the most flattering way possible–‘intelligent, raven-haired, petite’–the Jewish stereotype is not tall, blonde, and naive. Which is not to say that plenty of Jewish women do not fit that description. But it makes for a less involved plot line for movies and such if the gender roles mesh with the ethnic ones.

2) Storytellers: If both men and Jews are overrepresented among writers, directors, and so forth, we are hearing a disproportionately large number of stories about what Jewish men find sexy. Since observant Jews who stay within their communities are probably underrepresented among writers, directors, etc., there will be more stories about intermarriage than you’d get from a random sample of American Jewish men. Since we are also hearing more about what non-Jewish men like than we are about what any women like, it might seem like there’d be more about non-Jewish men and Jewish women. However, non-Jews of both sexes are probably less concerned with adding Jewish themes to the entertainment they produce.

3) Continuity: This is more about the Jewish community than movies. According to religious law, a Jewish woman’s children are Jewish, no matter who the father. So unless the father is devout, the panic is minimal. A Jewish man ‘led astray’ is seen as repopulating the gentile world at the expensive of the Jewish one.

4) Last names: The mother may determine if the child is Jewish or not within the Jewish community, but to all who have not discussed matters of faith with the mother, a child with a last name like Cohen or Rabinowitz is assumed Jewish, and will be referred to as such even if by some technicality this is not the case, even if this name comes from a great-great-great-grandfather. So much for matrilineality. When in conversation people (Jews or non-Jews) attempt to determine who is a Jew, they go by name, as the stereotypes mentioned above do not, of course, say much about reality. So in day-to-day life, you are more likely to find out that an acquaintance whose religion you do not know is the product of an intermarriage between a Jew and a non-Jew if the father is the Jewish parent than if the mother is. Thus it seems like there are tons more products of Jewish man-gentile woman pairings than the other way around.

5) Lust: Men are assumed to be making the decisions when it comes to initiating romantic relationships. More to the point, they are also imagined to be led by something other than their minds when making these decisions, whereas women are assumed to be more rational, if not pragmatic, in these matters. The community thus comes in to tell men where they should or should not put their anatomy. It’s seen as less acceptable to blame women for failing to lure Jewish men; a non-Jewish partner is presumed to be the result of no Jewish man having done any pursuing. The thought that Jewish women are lusting after non-Jewish men in particular is as unthinkable as the thought that women are lusting after men, period.

6) The ‘Singles Crisis’: It is said that men– of all faiths and ethnicities– have more options as they age than do women. Thus there are going to be more women than men at 40-plus Jewish singles events, as would be the case at a non-denominational version of the same. Since the Jewish community is preoccupied with ‘singles’ and the inevitable accompanying events, it looks as though Jewish men don’t care, while the pious women remain. When it fact the men may simply be in relationships, quite possibly with younger Jewish women.

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  • All very scholarly Phoebe but my non-academic (yet slightly freudian) take on this issue is: most men do not want to marry a woman who vaguely reminds him of his mother, no matter how wonderful she is or may have been; whereas women don’t mind marrying a man with similar traits to their father’s if they adored him.

  • Chutz,

    That’s actually an anti-freudian perspective. Freud says that men are secretly in love with our mothers and are jealous of our fathers. According to Siggy, we’d all love to have someone just like our mothers.

  • Ok, sorry for misrepping Freud (and maybe he was wrong when it comes to Jewish boys) but the Jewish male attraction to shikas is still a psycho-sexual thing in my opinion and I’m sure there is some scholarly psycho-babble written somewhere to back me up on this.

  • Goy by definition is unisex. Shagetz would be the corresponding male term to shiksa.

  • Goy by definition is unisex. Shagetz would be the corresponding male term to shiksa.

  • Forbidden fruit is always more desirable, Chutzpah. You don’t need Freud or psychobabble to tell you that.

  • My personal stereotype is that there are many attractive Jewish men in America, but the Jewish ladies, well they tend on the frumpier side and if not in that boat, then they are the obnoxious JAP kind that makes my ears bleed. I know it is not that nice to say this but the prettiest and most stylish Jewesses I know are converts.

  • Aw geez guys, stop trying to analyze so much.

    Here:

    Jewish population in US: 6,000,000

    Non-Jewish population in US: 300,000,000

    Likelihood of meeting a Jewish partner vs likelihood of meeting a non-Jewish partner: 1 in 50.

    Adjust for community, family, religious and friendly ties: maybe odds drop to 1 in 25.

    This isn’t that complicated, although I think Phoebe’s analysis is intelligent and pretty much on the mark.

  • “My personal stereotype is that there are many attractive Jewish men in America, but the Jewish ladies, well they tend on the frumpier side and if not in that boat, then they are the obnoxious JAP kind that makes my ears bleed.”

    Your personal stereotype has nothing to do with my post. If as you claim Jewish men are fantastic and Jewish women lacking, then (to repeat) why are the rates almost the same? Perhaps non-Jewish men do not hold these views of Jewish women. The stereotype–which, of course, is not yours alone–only explains why movies and TV shows, not trying to challenge too much, present characters who fit these cliches.

  • The pseudo-psycho-analysis and stereotyping can’t explain the most interesting figure from the NJPS study: the change in the gender gap over age ranges. Why is it that there is no gap for the 35-55 age group (born 1945-65), but a whopping 10 point gap for those under 35 (born 1965-80).

    The only explanation I can think of (that deals with empirical fact rather than pseudo-psychoanalysis or stereotyping) is the very large gender gap in Conservative and Reform communal life, especially youth programs. NFTY, USY, Hillel and Israel programs all have a singnificant gender imbalance. Does anyone have any evidence that this gap is closing?

  • TM’s remark is entirely valid and correct.

    He seems to imply that the Jews of the future will be descended from those Jews of today who made a conscious, burdensome decision to make the effort to find a Jewish spouse, who was only one person in 25 among their potential acquaintance.

    Some people want a good time, and resent the fact that they meet people who … want a good time.

    I overheard a young man say “… I am new to J-Date and I hope it works out but if it doesn’t I am just going to enjoy the process”.

    I wondered, silently, if he approached his projects at work that way. My guess is that he insists on real results at work. Not, “I hope we increase market share, but if we don’t, I am just going to enjoy the process”.

    Do you find that as funny as I do?

  • Men age at the same rate as women, contrary to popular notion. Young women do not date men appreciably older than themselves. Except for money, and that is another matter altogether.

    A woman of child-bearing age is not going to hang out with you, later. Her era, her favorite movies, her politics, her thinking, are all going to be out of synch with yours. She will find you weird, and you will find her dull.

    Men: as your age-mates leave the child-bearing years, SO DO YOU. Do not imagine “well, I get a lifetime of fertility, and they don’t”. Not unless you are rich and famous. You are not Justice Douglas.

  • Wonder what the averages are for me?

    In the midst of converting sans boyfriend/fiance’, I try not to even think about it. Since I’m not converting “for the humor”, a big chunk of Jewish males are out because they really don’t want to observe anything, and that’s not for me. I don’t want to be some kind of exotic little bird who is “interesting” because my ethnicity is different but who is Jewish, either. And would someone observant want a convert? Who knows. I just figure that there is some sense to this, in that, maybe I need to be ready for “the one”, sort of “first things first”.

    And it only takes one, right? Maybe I’ll meet someone who would like to make Judaism a bigger part of his life, and we can do together. That would be awesome, and would make me very,very happy.

    Have been reading all the posts–it’s been a great education. Thanks everybody.

  • A woman of 26 has a fertility age of 31.

    She is not really 26! She is in fact 31!

    Why? Because of the Five Year Rule. 26 and 5 equals 31. If she meets Mr. Right tonight, she won’t have his baby in her arms for five years.

    Why? Because it takes

    Year One: a year of hanging out to see if they like each other.

    Year Two: another year of hanging out, so it doesn’t sound weird to her mother. “You’re dating him just one year, and you want to marry him?” So that’s two years.

    Year Three: “Honey”, say her parents, “great. Marry him. The nice places are always reserved a year in advance. It’s your big day, and we have lots of people who have to be invited.”

    Year Four: Her parents say, “give the marriage a year to see if it really works. Dating is not the same as marriage.”

    Year Five: “Fine, it’s working, they now say. Get pregnant.” THAT takes a year. Human gestation is almost a year.

    Snuggle that baby.

    Conclusion: five years must elapse between “Hello, my name is David” to “Are you coming to the bris? (or naming cermony for our daughter).”

    Five years. The Five Year Rule.

    So, if they meet tonight, when she is 26, her real childbearing age is 31.

    Men, take note. If you want children.

    It takes two years to make a baby elephant, but it takes five years to make a baby non-Orthodox Jew. Alas.

    Maybe we could trust faster, or punish deserters much, much harder (oy! so judgemental!) and have simple weddings, organized in two months.

  • “The pseudo-psycho-analysis and stereotyping can’t explain the most interesting figure from the NJPS study: the change in the gender gap over age ranges. Why is it that there is no gap for the 35-55 age group (born 1945-65), but a whopping 10 point gap for those under 35 (born 1965-80).”

    I’m well aware that my analysis is pseudo anything at best. To say anything meaningful about the rest of the survey would require looking closely at what age both genders marry, how many times, etc, which I have not (yet) done.

  • “Punish deserters much, much harder”

    WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT LADY????

    Cutting all ties with siblings and children who don’t follow the same path isn’t punishment enough? More hard judgmental punishment is needed???

    Rushing into having one baby after another with a virtual stranger…now there’s a plan…just brilliant.

    Modern science has actually turned back the “fertility age” and women can have healthy children past their mid-40’s.

    Now you upset Esther and she doesn’t even have a cat to comfort her…

    And as to those simple weddings that have 200 women upstairs and 200 men downstairs and undercooked greasy chicken legs that give everyone salmonella poisoning… um, may you blessed to attend many of them.

    “Jewish Dating…many will enter, few will win.”

  • There are many beautiful American Jewish women and lots of ugly Jewish American men. You might think that shiksas are more attractive, I don’t, because they outnumber American Jewesses by a hundred million and you obvioulsy see more of them.
    I don’t know where you live or if you’ve actually ever met any real Jews. What a dumbass.

  • An amusing thread. I just wanted to say that this has never happened to me:

    “The community thus comes in to tell men where they should or should not put their anatomy”. Not even a lusting Justice Douglas would agree with that.

    And this is more than hopeful: “Modern science has actually turned back the “fertility age” and women can have healthy children past their mid-40’s”. Yes & no there Chutzpah. It really depends on your luck. The record of success after your mid 40’s is quite miserable overall. But it does happen. Indeed it’s always happened. Just not as a ‘first birth’.

    I agree that ‘punishing deserters harder’ really is counter-productive. It also needs to be recalled that the rates of intermarriage for Jews are getting to be more similar with other mainline religions. There’s much gnashing of teeth there too, but somehow it’s a bit less dramatic. (Yes, we all can guess the reasons why).

    Still that ‘5 year rule’ is awfully depressing. It makes me wonder about things like this story from The Independent:
    [http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/article2807092.ece]

    This is where the adolescent male fantasy from ‘Knocked Up’ begins to look good for some.
    Cheers, ‘VJ’

  • phoebe,

    My comment about “pseudo-psycho-analysis” was not directed at your post, but at the inane comment which tried to blame intermarriage on Jewish men’s issues with their mothers. Given the fact that intermarriage is still a minority phenomena among affiliated Jews and that the gender gap is not constant among age groups, this “explanation” is nonsense. As you correctly notes, its popularity has a lot to with Phillip Roth and Hollywood screenwriters than with actual reality.

    Still, the numbers suggest something is happening among younger Jews to reopen the gap. The gender gap in the non-Orthodox Jewish world is not confined to “singles” event – it exists across the board. It is something that needs to be explored.

  • Chutzpah, I meant deserters of wives. Not of religion.

    I wasn’t talking about religious observance.

    I was talking about how long it takes for women (and their prudent families) to decide it is OK to marry, and have a baby with, a man.

    The fear. The fear of being stuck being a divorced woman with a child or children.

    Even with dutifully paid child-support, that is no joke.

    The men are scared, too.

    I meant, if we were horrible and mean to divorcing people, particularly the men, there would be many fewer of them. It might then be less scary to get married and have children.

    In more structured, punitive, strict – thinking communities, people marry, and have children in less than five years. Yes, he’s a stranger. But a scared stranger may be better than a non-scared “friend”.

    Yes, some people, and some marriages, are unliveable, and have to go away. But, perhaps there is some crankiness and bad manners that cause divorce in the non-orthodox communities that could have been headed off by, well, fear. Non orthodox people think twice, four, and six times before divorcing, but orthodox people – especially men – think one hundred and fifty times.

    Phoebe, you are a terrific analyst. The age band remark is fascinating. Older people date from the days when it was just in your blood that you DID NOT divorce. The very word made you throw up. Not so the younger group: they figure it’s a royal pain but not the end of the whole world.

    Result: the pre-divorce. They just don’t marry. They hang out. They girl-friend. The legal tie leads to dancing. No, midnight feedings. And whining. And big, big, big bills.

    Why should he?

    Therefore, why should she?

    This is not just a Jewish scenario.

    As for having babies in the forties, I don’t care if you have them in your nineties, just have them. Legitimate, please. If that means glaring at a few men, so glare.

    It’s all the fault of the still-married liberals in their fifties. They wanted their children to be free of the things that shackled them. Except that they had successful lives with those shackles.

    Misguided idealism is worse than pure meanness.

  • Esther, you are an infant. You have not even seen forty. You are a child. Ignore the five year rule, find a nice person who is doing his best in a reasonable way, who nobody is ashamed of, and see if he could use someone to break the silence of his kitchen.

    Extra points if he hates gyms, likes ice cream; dresses well but is not at all beautiful. If he is not tall, triple score. Receding hair and a belly are good signs. He should have integrity, and know how to open the door for you. See how he handles frustration. See how he treats servant-level personnel whom he will never see again. See how he tips. See how he drives.

    Do the whole thing very, very quietly. Only afterward, inform your intimates that you like somebody (reassure them quickly that he meets the obvious criteria – MOT, age reasonable, no police record) and are going under the chuppa with him three months from now. Locally.

    Wear a patient, kind smile, wait for the talk to stop. Look happy and soulful.

    Than get on with it. Afterward, life will be better but still essentially ordinary. You are not the first. It is not like getting the Nobel prize. It will make a brief ripple.

    You will lose some friends but you will have fun, too. Fun has to be earned.

  • Hmm, Jewish Mother…. I doubt this will be enough to cajole Esther away from that ledge six flights above West Side Drive.

  • Esther,

    Should you ever reach a point of desparation and self-loathing where the preceding “advice” appears to be emanating from the same solar system, the most useful approach would probably consist of the following: Explore several alternative ways of killing yourself, just in case the first one fails to do the job.

  • Chutzpah, as far as we are all aware, you have not even attained forty-five, when life begins. You are a youngster too.

  • David Smith, marrying a guy with a belly and a receding hairline is much nicer than killing yourself, particularly if he looks distinguished, has read books, and has depth in his eyes. And if he insists you read out loud to him, for forty minutes or more, because it relaxes him, because you have a great voice, no matter how tired you are, it is even better. Being listened to is worth being tired. If he knows enough to say, “Thank you, my dear, what a truly wonderful dinner,” that is nice too, as is “let me carry that” and “your parents are very nice.”

    Killing yourself is over-rated.

  • I hereby want to nominate that Jewish Mother for the Nobel Prize of Practical Advice. Borne of experience, time tested & tough enough for every new age, it’s something always worth listening to. Really. Thanks for saying it so well. Cheers & Good Luck, ‘VJ’

  • JM, I apologize…I thought you meant deserters of religion. HOWEVER, orthodox men are not afraid of divorce, they have the upper hand in the situation given the halakas.

    Trust me, the community is horrible and mean to divorced women. As for the men, they are still getting aliyahs and are members of the Board at the schools and shuls. No married woman, no matter how secure she is in her marriage wants an available women who doesn’t know when the next time she might have sex will be at their shabbat table.

    Orthodox men don’t think 150 times about divorce. They think they are running to do a rare mitzvah, like chasing away the mother bird (which they literally do to the mothers of their children) or pideon ha’ben. They also know “the community” will not let them stay single for long and fix them up with some poor woman who needs taking care of.

    One suggestion for preventing the rash of divorces befalling the Orthodox community ( yes, the line of agunot goes around the block several times in Brooklyn pre-pesach when Motti Klein gives out food and clothes to them and their children) is to destigmatize homosexuality. So many men get married because they think it is a mitzvah to suppress their natural inclination towards other men and that they can cover it up my having children and a wife. (oops, there goes another halaka). Or maybe to encourage the use of birth control so babies don’t come every 10 months when couples can’t afford to feed the first 3 (another law bites the dust).

    Killing oneself is never an option. Fulfilling ones life without the potbellied baldy to pick up after is much more satisfying, add a cat, a vibrator and few cute nieces and nephews and that’s all you need.

  • All well & good Chutzpah. But not fulfilling your dreams & desires just because your love interest/bf/husband happens to be a ‘potbellied baldy’ is just a crying shame. I mean let’s tell the truth here. What proportion of the population is now or is likely to be in this condition past a certain age? And why is it that we treat the vagaries of age as if it were a plague that you hope to never experience or even witness?

    As ever, no one really listens to the Jewish momma!

    Really if it’s only stud service that’s wanted or required, why not just contract that out, and live happily apart?

    How many Jews of any gender meet the physical ideal of the day in the societies they live in? When is this Most likely to happen or approach such a condition? Why is that? Why is it then at such younger ages (when we might actually look somewhat more attractive & in shape), that so many seem incapable of or uninterested in meeting & forming lasting relationships with the kinds of people we’d only later discover we’d enjoy being married to? (Or are they still in the process of becoming those swell attractive people well into their 30’s?). Why does it take so long now, and why is it that we’re all going to pot before the ceremony gets underway?

    And please folks, half of all the people you know over the age of 50 are likely to be in such shape, so don’t continually denigrate them, OK? Cheers, ‘VJ’

  • Thanks, VJ.
    Chutzpah, you prove my point.
    There should be a “year of mourning” after a divorce, because it is well known that the altar sheds tears at the divorce of a first wife. No aliyahs, no vote at meetings, possibly no attendance at all at meetings. A couple has died. Mourn.

    Among the non-orthodox, nobody is whipping the long term married PARENTS.

    Gevalt, the obstacles they raise, if somebody wants to marry.

    They should encourage and help. But they don’t. They worry.

    What they have done is somehow un-doable. What a denigration of their own riches: companionship, money, children….. those things are the fruit of their way of life. Early, disciplined, self-denying occasionally, dutiful, marriage. Cute. Very cute. And the children are so good, so dear, such good, dear children, they never protest.

    They are too good. They are too suburban. They are too conventional. Where are the rebels?

  • The daughter should say, MOMMMM, don’t you think I want a daughter TOO, to give me the pleasure you are always saying I give to you??? Why should YOU be the only one to have this joy? Do you think my job is enough? (How happy are you, to have me, anyway? It’s enough to make me wonder. The unspoken message is, you wish you had never had me. You are saying I shouldn’t do it…. so how great can it be? Would you really have traded WONDERFUL ME for a stupid JOB?)

  • The mother answers, sure, sweetheart, have a child or two. When the other stuff is in place. No too early. In the ten minutes between age 31 and 33 and a half. Right then. Set your watch. Before is too early and later may not be quite early enough. You get a ten minute window.

    I just had to be a nice lady with a reasonably clean house and a reasonably full fridge. YOU have to do it ALL. But you have so many opportunities I never had. And I hear there are some beautiful cats up for adoption, too.

    (Curtain falls as daughter leaps murderously on mother and you can’t show that.)

  • JM,, again WTF?

    You are several generations behind in your stereotypes…women who were 25 in 1950 had to just be nice and keep a clean house, women who were 25 in 1970 had to give up having children for a career, women who were 25 in 1980 had to do it all…today’s (it’s the 00’s) 25 year old women are free to choose what works best for them WHEN it works best for them ( if they are not Orthodox.)

    As for living apart and contracting out…yes, it is a very viable option for some of today’s women.

  • That’s the party line. It’s not true. If you could simply choose, everybody would choose.

    Everybody does choose. But they can’t get on the same page to choose in the same direction at the same time.

    The more rights you have, the fewer rights you have. If you have the right to say no to marriage, or not now, then you lose the right to marry .. why? Because your husband is choosing too. He is choosing to preserve his peaceful evenings. And his larger salary. And if he is lonesome, he is excercising his right to “date” a stunner who is taller, thinner and above all better paid then you.

    Choose? Who is doing that? It is a cruel myth.

  • “The more rights you have, the fewer rights you have”

    WTF????

    Yeah, I think I’ll have my daugther’s give back their right to vote, their right to use contraception and their right to abortion while they are giving up their right to stay single for longer rather than marry the first schelpper that comes along. They we can pray that their great grandmother and grandmothers who worked so hard to gain these rights for women in American aren’t rolling over in their graves too much.

    While they are at it, I think they should give up their right to wear pants, go mixed swimming, or go to a decent University.

    Next they should give up their right to buy store-bought Challah instead of homemade and their right to say no to sex when they are not in the mood.

    Then they should give up their right to think or question. Next they can give up their right to learn to read in the first place…maybe they should only be taught to pray from memorization and kept illiterate…oh wait…how would they support their non-working husbands then?

  • Umm I think the allusion from JM was to the confusion of too many choices. Which can and does lead to a ‘paralysis of inaction’ at times. See Choice theory & Game theory.

    This is actually being currently studied by economists too. So it’s not quite the ‘problem of too many choices’, it’s the problem of indecision and waiting until it’s very late to engage in more or even some of the choices you do desire. It happens in all sorts of complex decision making environments and situations. Most choices are time definite or time sensitive. They can not remain ‘open’ forever, or even attractive for long, depending on circumstances, and most likely the degrading of your position or the battle environment (for the military), or your health & welfare for the prospect of bearing your own children will tend to ‘force your hand’.

    So if you ‘do nothing’ the opportunity to adequately exercise your choice will pass, and hence in your confusion you have forgone the opportunity you once had with the blizzard of choices you had when you first entered into the game. So sometimes more choices do not help in making difficult decisions. They can be useful only in as much as you can adequately and quickly assess them in context of your needs & desires and then take advantage of them.

    So women’s rights Good. Jewish women’s rights Good & Better. Confusing dating situation going on 10-15-20 some odd years, not especially productive for anyone. Anywhere. Cheers, ‘VJ’

  • VJ…you give JM way too much credit…she meant what she said…if you have too many rights and choices you may be tempted to pick the “wrong” one, and in her opinion the “wrong” choice is anything other than the “ideal” path which she thinks is correct for her children and all Jews.

  • That is not what I meant. I was not talking about having too many rights leading to confusion and indecision. I was noting that getting one right can mean losing another right!

    Under fair-housing law, you have the right to rent an apartment even though you are a purple- haired aspiring drummer. Then, you inherit a building. Guess what. You are now a landlord, and you are on the other side of the desk. You can’t refuse to rent to a purple haired aspiring drummer, because of fair housing law.

    So you acquired a right as a tenant, and you lost a right as a landlord. Which are you? You might be both. But the more rights you have, the fewer rights you have.

    The right not to be confined to early marriage and a life of domesticity has cost the right to ever marry and ever have a baby.

    That wasn’t planned, but that is what is going on.

    Unless you are a tiger and know how to make a plan, insist on your rights, and tell everybody and everything to go to gehenna. And set priorities. And focus on goals not transient irritations.

    Stuff like that.

    I know it’s hard.

    Sometimes you have to back your parents against the kitchen wall and inform them respectful but extremely firm terms that you need their help doing the family thing. They are in favor of that, aren’t they? Aren’t they?

    This “Jewish professional” thing is odd. A hard-working decent dude is the idea. Drop these notions.

    Few of us are farm workers and knowledge workers sit a lot and are not dripping muscle.

    As for hair, it leaves. So?

  • Of course women should have all the hard-earned rights Chutzpah mentions. But these rights should not cost what they have turned out to cost. We have to be even smarter and even stronger. We have to not let ourselves be slicked. We have to be humble and realistic. Did we imagine all the work was already done? The work is never over.

    Marriage has turned out to be fragile, not naturally-occuring; a whole culture. Not just a private arrangement in the evenings that doesn’t make you any different from unmarried people during the day.

    Its sweets have to be earned with sweat and self-control.

    It helps to have a religious framework. Otherwise it is sort of your own private mania, and you might change your mind. Or he might. Then what?

    So, enlist G-d as the third member, the sargeant at arms.

    Few of us would be virtuous in the complete absence of police and law. That applies in marriage, too.

  • Giyoret: I know a guy who was raised completely secular. He was one of the least Jewish Jewish people I knew. Then he met an orthodox woman – a convert – and “converted” himself, from secular to orthodox. I don’t know if it was his intention to make Judaism a bigger part of his life before he met her, but that’s what happened. Her conversion happened long before they met.

    They’re out there.

  • Somebody please explain to this woman that owning the property is BETTER THAN renting it…I give up. Really…I’m not even going to start bashing Ortho. landlords within the Eruv now…I think I’ve vented about that enough on this site.

    Bottom line: it’s better to be able to have the right to change your mind than not have the right to use it.

  • I wanted to suggest that the experience that JM speaks to can be considered in the context of game theory, but is not strictly of the type of question I outlined. But perhaps I’m also misunderstanding her here too.

    For me part of the issue she speaks to here is a common description of how decisions are made. Each decision made often forecloses another one that either remains unmade, or now is unlikely or highly improbable to be able to be engaged. This also is heavily time dependent typically, and has a vector of probabilities associated with it as time decays from the event. As we get more remote from certain events & decisions, alternative ways of engaging the problem or the issue at hand become ever more problematic and more difficult to accomplish or engage at the level or the quality that may have once been possible.

    Again, one of the common exercises here have to do with battle assessments and management & decision trees in coming to a better understanding of how to more effectively engage the enemy (or problem) in battle (or business).

    So in this context, the ‘right’ to remain unmarried, and the wherewithal to do this comfortably well into your 30’s has and possibly will forestall many future couples from bearing children that may be related to them. This may have not a tremendous effect on the overall ‘production’ of Jewish babies, but just the advancing age at first marriage alone is going to affect those numbers negatively. American family & household size has been declining for over a generation now. Adoption is a perfectly viable option, and will be availed to for many couples facing these issues in the future. Just some thoughts here. Cheers, ‘VJ’

  • Andrea: Thanks for the ray of hope 😉
    What a great way that would be to grow as a couple and as individuals–and how sweet would that be to look across the table and realize that you helped each other to get there? I get all mushy just thinking about it, and I haven’t even met him yet!

    JM-love your posts. A lot of what you say about relationships is true; I think it boils down to making a decision and committing to it wholeheartedly. Most people seem to commit with an escape plan in the back of their minds, and nothing stable can ever be built on that. (I say that as a recovering, divorced committment-phobe!) What a relief it would be to know that there was enough compassion between you and your spouse that you would always be aware of the innate goodness in the other, and that your relationship was a refuge–in a good way–from the hard things we all have to deal with eventually.

    Have a great week everybody….

  • There actually is an answer to the question, and it’s historical. It was historically true until about 20 years ago that the number of men who married out FAR exceeded the number of women who married out. It is also the case that until quite recently, non-Jewish women served as a trophy to Jewish men, showing that the had “made it” by having a woman who conformed to non-Jewish social standards of beauty (which were rather narrower then. Remember, Jews weren’t even considered white until the 1970’s in most places in the US. Those who are Caucasian-y, anyhow). Moreover, it is further the case, that women who married out paid in much bigger coin whenthey did – the punishments were greater – however they had little power to prevent men from doing so, leaving a dearth among successful Jewish men to marry. What poer did they have? Just namecalling. sad but true. THis is not significantly different from what we find inthe African-Americna community, by th way, where African-American women are highly irate and African American men marrying out to show that they have made it and gotten a non-AA woman. Even the pattern is the same, as currently what we’re seeing is AA women beginning to say to themselves, well, what the hell are we waiting around for, let’s just marry out ourselves if the walls are down. We don’t need ’em. And so they are.
    The term shiksa is a leftover fromthis earlier period – it’s unfortunate that that’s all that people thought of todo, rather than to educate their children well and participate inthe Jewish community to prevent it from happeneing rather than being insulting to people who really, have no obligation to not marry Jews. It’s those who marry out, presumably, who deserve the oppobrium, nt the ones they marry.

  • Hi There, Excellent work. Really loved it. always keep the good work coming. Thanks.

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