In high school, this decision proved to be mostly moot. I tried not to follow up on them at first, but I was frustrated and lonely and had finite willpower.After one date, though, I would beat myself up mentally for breaking my rule, and I’d avoid making second dates.One of my dates somehow managed to steer every discussion, no matter how unrelated, to the topic of cheesecake.Another had no discernible personality or strong feelings about anything, leading to a date in which I she responded to everything I had to say with an affectless “yeah” or “uh huh.” But it wasn’t all their fault: I can’t say that I created the most enticing profile.My paternal grandparents survived the Holocaust and met at a displaced persons camp in Landsberg, Germany, before they moved to the United States.
I was planning to stay with a friend from college for a few days, but I also arranged to meet Alicia, whom I’d known online for five years by that point but had never met in person.
It was the day I’d long hoped for, marrying a nice Jewish girl. In fact, by the time we’d started dating, I’d given up on Jewish women, and my dream of a perfect Jewish wedding, altogether. The intense pressure I felt to date and marry within the tribe damaged my perception of Jewish women and my ability to be myself around them.
This information was pounded in from all directions, from rabbis, from my parents, my grandparents, Hebrew High School, Camp Ramah.
It felt wrong for me to pressure her, yet at the same time I knew that if she didn’t convert, the relationship would almost certainly have to end at some point.
I was eager to find a wife, but I couldn’t have children that wouldn’t be Jewish. So, even though I wanted it and believed it could work, marriage was off the table so long as Alicia was still a gentile.
23, 2009, on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. *** Soon after my bar mitzvah, just as I was discovering my interest in the opposite sex, I began to be bombarded with information about intermarriage—about how one in every two Jewish people would marry a non-Jew and how more than half of the children of those unions would not be raised Jewish.