Oh Jdate – you’ve failed me in so many ways…

As you may know, I am often frustrated by stereotypes… but I can’t help but note that I’ve met my first stereotypical American Self-Hating Jew.  Often, the term Self-Hating Jew is used to describe someone who disagrees with Israel, or alternately, an anti-Semitic Jew. In this case, it describes someone who speaks of other Jews/Judaism in a negative way. In particular, a young American Jew who bought me a drink but refused the opportunity to travel to Israel on a birthright trip, who hates Jews who love Israel more than America, who is proud of his designer accessories but shames American Jews who “all dress the same”…and the list of transgressions continues… (Who talks about this stuff on a first date!?)

When talking about the date experience with family and friends, we decided that he has some deep-seeded issues with Israel & Judaism. The only “positive” things he said included: I love the high holidays, but people who talk about other people instead of praying piss me off (please note- he doesn’t attend services any other time of the year) and I refuse to buy a BMW or a Ford because of their connection to the Holocaust.

The rest of the time, he spent complaining sometimes about particular stereotypical behaviors of different groups of Jews, sometimes about anything at all. For example, all young Jewish women watch a lot of TV, including Grey’s Anatomy, or comparing a “Jewish” tattoo (ie a Hamsah or your Hebrew name…) to getting numbers tattooed on one’s arm, about how Dirty a specific group of Sephardic Jews are, or about his fear of getting blown up in Israel.  All the while, he seemed to feel safe in his confessions.  And all the while, I argued, defending Israel, defending the diversity of “Jewish Ethnicity”, defending the right to Jewish self-expression, and ultimately defending my Jewish pride and identity.

In Judaism we ask questions – it’s in our faith, in our nature. But he never stopped to ask questions or to learn. He took only the time to make snap judgments, to take things at someone else’s perception of face value and never to delve deeper into his fears about visiting Israel, or his hatred of Jews who love Israel; even his tendencies to pigeon-hole his own people as Dirty, Materialistic & Shallow. I can only hope that my reaction to his comments push him to take a serious look at himself. I know his words have driven me. And I’ll screen more carefully next time.

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