November 12, 2018

Dating 101: What is a relationship?

I woke up this morning feeling like a loser. Not a loser in life, because I’m a rock star at life, but a loser in dating. I can’t seem to get it together when it comes to sharing my life with a man. I historically date good men who are simply not the right men for me. There has been an occasional asshole of course, but that is how love works sometimes. I’m good at counting my blessings and finding silver linings, which is why I look at past relationships without regret. There is some anger, and certainly some bitterness, but not regret.

I don’t think things happen for a reason, but I can pinpoint the reasons some things happen. Does that make sense to anyone other than me? I woke up this morning thinking about my life and wondered why I am alone. I’m not alone alone of course, but I am not sharing my life with a partner, and that is sad to me. I don’t need a man, but I would like to have one. More importantly, I want a man to want to be with me, not need to be with me. I also don’t want anyone to settle for me or talk themselves into me.

I have been “dating” a man for a few months and yesterday I asked him if we were friends or dating, and he said he wasn’t sure. We talked about our relationship for a quick minute, but when I got home I cried. Not sure why exactly, but it made me sad that after so many months he was unsure what we were. It would have been easy to say we were dating, if we were, but he viewed us differently I guess. His answer was fine because it was his truth, but in the end it just wasn’t enough. I told him I didn’t want to see him anymore.

It is sad because he is great. I don’t think he thinks he is great, but I am a genius and I know for a fact that he is great. Here’s the thing though, if I spend four months dating a man and he is unable to say whether we are dating or not, he is confused because that is dating. Furthermore, if this conversation had happened between a girlfriend of mine and a man she was dating, I would tell her to walk away. If we don’t see our worth, then the men we are dating certainly won’t. It is not about how he sees me as much as how I see myself, and I am quite fantastic.

I will miss this man. We have settled into a comfortable relationship, even though it appears he is not sure we even had a relationship. He makes me laugh every time we speak on the phone or are together. He is educated and witty, clever and sensitive. He is also completely unaware of how lucky he would be, were I to love him, and that is the goal when dating isn’t it? I don’t think it is hard to get laid, or have a man buy me a drink or dinner. It is hard however to find love, but that is why I date. I am shamelessly looking for love.

I spoke to my “friend” last night before I went to bed, and again this morning. Ugh. That will be hard to stop. He is the person I go to for things, my date for events, my sounding board, and in the end a really good friend. He is not however looking for a relationship where he can give and receive love. I think he is worthy, but I am not a therapist or a mind reader, and I don’t know what he wants. I do know me though, and I want more. Want it, need it, deserve it, and certain I will find it. The search continues so I am keeping the faith.

Rabbi Quits After Reported Sex Sting

An official with an educational program for Jewish high school students has resigned after allegedly searching the Internet for liaisons with underage boys and sending naked pictures of himself.

Rabbi David Kaye resigned from Panim on Oct. 31, several days before being featured on “Dateline NBC” seeking a sexual encounter with an underage boy in a chat room.

“He told me he was going to be on a program on national television that would identify him engaging in inappropriate behavior,” said Rabbi Sid Schwarz, founder and president of the Washington-based Panim: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values.

Panim has never received a complaint against Kaye and he is not accused of doing anything wrong in relation to his work there. But the incident is likely to revive concerns about the possibility of sexual misconduct between rabbis and other Jewish officials who come into contact with minors.

NBC News conducted a sting in August, working with a group called Perverted Justice. Posing as underage boys and girls, members of the group entered Internet chat rooms and waited for adults to engage them in conversation.

Kaye and others allegedly spoke to the presumed children about sex, and suggested meeting them. Kaye allegedly sent one individual naked pictures of himself and arranged a meeting at a Northern Virginia home where the “boy” said he lived, which NBC had equipped with hidden cameras.

When he arrived he was confronted by Chris Hansen, an NBC reporter, who asked what he was doing at the home.

“Not something good,” Kaye said. “This isn’t good.”

Kaye admitted to being a rabbi, and became agitated when Hansen revealed himself as a journalist and the cameras emerged.

When reached by JTA on Nov. 2, Kaye refused to comment on his resignation or any of the accusations against him. Hansen said Kaye had agreed at one point to speak with NBC News, but only if the network did not air his name or face. The network refused.

Perverted Justice sent the chat transcripts and information about Kaye and others to Fairfax County, Va., police, Hansen said. A police spokesman said the department does not confirm the names of anyone under investigation until they’re charged with a crime.

Kaye joined Panim after serving as a rabbi and confirmation instructor at Congregation Har Shalom in Potomac, Md., for 15 years, until 2001.

“I was incredibly disturbed and troubled and shocked by what I saw,” Rabbi David Rose of Har Shalom told JTA. “The membership has been responding with lots of questions and concerns.”

Rose said there is nothing to indicate wrongdoing during Kaye’s tenure at Har Shalom, but that many people nevertheless are worried.

“I think everybody will be a little less trusting and a little more wary of people in positions of authority,” Rose said. “It’s going to take some time for all of us in the rabbinate to earn people’s trust.”

Kaye also served as a rabbi at Congregation Agudas Achim in San Antonio in 2001.

“We are very confident there was no issue while he was here,” the congregation’s executive director, Jo Halfant, said.

Kaye was ordained by the Reconstructionist movement but now is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly, the rabbinical arm of the Conservative movement. Rabbi Joel Meyers, the R.A.’s executive vice president, was out of the country and unavailable for comment.

Panim is largely known for a high school program, Panim el Panim, which brings thousands of Jewish students from around the country to Washington each year for religious and political education. As vice president for programming, Kaye mostly oversaw faculty, Schwarz said.

“We do a fairly rigorous set of reference checks for people we hire,” Schwarz said. “But there are always opportunities for abuse of authority.”

Since the story surfaced, Schwarz said he and others have been reflecting on incidents that were seen as inconsequential at the time, wondering if they should have seen a pattern.

“I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been thinking about it and wondering about it,” he said. “But they were so insignificant as not to suggest a pattern of behavior.”

Yosef Abramowitz, CEO of Jewish Family & Life, served as the assistant director of Panim in the 1990s. He said he could not imagine much opportunity for one-on-one encounters among staff and students.

“There’s never been a hint of anything in the past, and the program is so intense that there is no one-on-one, unchaperoned down time,” Abramowitz said.

Schwarz originally said he did not expect an investigation into Kaye’s work at Panim, but Panim has taken Kaye’s computer hard drive for inspection.

Abbe Lowell, a prominent Washington attorney retained by Panim, said in a statement that the organization is “taking every step to ensure that there has been no breach of this policy by Rabbi Kaye or anyone else at any time.”

The group also is reaching out to congregations and others that work with the student program.

“I would assure parents that we’ve never had an incident in our program, and there is no accusation of incidents in our program,” he said. “There is no way that any reasonable person can make assurances that no incident will ever happen, but we have safety systems in place.”

Sexual abuse by clergy has been a national issue in recent years, stemming largely from accusations in the Catholic Church. But the issue has roiled the Jewish community as well.

Rabbi Baruch Lanner, an Orthodox Union official, is serving seven years in prison for sexually abusing a student when he was principal of a yeshiva high school in New Jersey. Lanner was accused of molesting more than 20 teenaged girls over a period of 30 years, and physically and verbally abusing boys. He was convicted on just one account.

Schwarz said he hoped Panim’s reputation would help it weather the storm.

“I think there is so much good will with people that work with us that will serve us well,” he said.

 

Giving Adult Students Credit They Deserve

A group of local Jewish educators are seeking funding to start a novel adult-education academy that would grant a certificate of recognition to students who complete its requirements over three years.

The Orange County Academy of Jewish Growth and Learning is envisioned as a way to impose a quasi-academic structure on an array of existing courses offered by local synagogues, the Bureau of Jewish Education and the Community Scholar Program.

Around the country, administrators of similar nonacademic Judaic studies programs are also trying to elevate their curriculum with professionalism. For instance, the continuing legal-education requirements of three state bars now accept for credit an ethics class offered by the Jewish Learning Institute, a fast-expanding program established by the Orthodox Chabad Lubavitch movement. Chabad is seeking similar approvals in six other states, including California.

Behind the shift toward formality is the perception that to boost participation in Judaic studies, adults require a greater inducement than spiritual satisfaction.

"It may motivate people to take more classes by being part of a larger experience," said Arie Katz, chairman of the Community Scholar Program and who is involved in the academy’s organization.

"We want to validate the study in the community and honor the people who do," said Joan Kaye, director of the Bureau of Jewish Education, who also supports the academy’s formation.

Even without formal accreditation, an academy certificate would accrue some economic value. A national teacher licensing board for Jewish schools already accepts such informal studies as partially meeting licensing requirements.

"The motivation is to create opportunity for serious Jewish learning," said Michael Mayersohn, who resigned as rabbi of Westminster’s Temple Beth David in August. Mayersohn would serve as the academy’s part-time dean and sole employee. He hoped to start his duties this month.

However, the academy’s request for $20,000 in start-up funding from the Jewish Federation of Orange County was postponed in September and put off for a month, along with other allocation requests.

The academy’s five required areas of study would accept courses regardless of denomination and will rely on an honor system. A proposed $50 annual academy fee does not include individual class fees. Mayersohn would offer assistance in helping students plan a program that suits their interests.

"For the average person, it’s possibly daunting," said Reuven Mintz, rabbi of Chabad Center of Newport Beach. "But for people looking for something deeper, this will please them," he said, still maintaining that too few learning opportunities exist for adults.

"I feel there is a thirst in this community," Mintz said, pointing out that four local Jewish Learning Institute sites drew 200 students weekly last year. Kaye, he said, had been skeptical about JLI’s chances for success. "Commitment-based education had failed in Orange County," he remembers being told.

A decade ago, little attention was paid to adult Jewish education by the national movements. A shift is underway as new and established national programs, such as JLI, Meah at Hebrew College of Boston, Chicago’s Melton Adult Mini School and the JCC association’s Derech Torah, are rapidly expanding.

Paul Flexner, chair of the Alliance for Adult Jewish Learning, an educators’ group, said, "People are seeking meaning in their lives and looking to find ways to spend leisure time in a meaningful way. "