November 17, 2018

Why being Jewish and single in Israel is nothing like in the US

Being a young, single woman, especially the kind that watches Sex and the City reruns and romantic comedies, makes one wonder about the cruelty and loneliness of single life and craving for love. “All You Need Is Love” is not just a song; it is the essence of life. We spend our entire life looking for 'the one' and we get burned several times on the way.

When we find him/her, things like financial status or religion don't really matter. However it is only natural for us, as Jews, to look for a Jewish soul mate. Websites like JDate are common and gaining popularity with time, but even though it is much easier to search for the exact person you are looking for, most people choose to log off the internet and search outside. There is something magical, almost epic, when eyes meet across the room, when drinks are being ordered, when shyness and excitement are present, and there is no one else in that crowded public place but the two of you.

Several years ago, I almost signed up for a matchmaking website. I decided I have had enough with bad dates with men, and that when the more I got to know them, the more disappointed I got. Why not choose online, and know almost exactly what I am getting into? After all, nowadays those websites are safer than they used to be several years ago. I was in the army, and my base was pretty much my only surrounding. I went out on weekends, but it was pretty difficult to commit to someone on weekends, when I was usually extremely tired and all I wanted to do was sleep before another exhausting week. I tried to date someone who served with me, but it didn't turn out well, and once again- I was left alone. While entering my details on the website, I suddenly stopped. Such things are not for me, and that's that. I'll wait, and eventually he will come. I mean, I have so many options out there: Jewish men, wherever I go.

About four years ago, on my first day of University, I gave up. I ran for years, and not being able to see the finish line of that endless race brought me down. To my surprise, that was the moment I met my first love, two rows in front of me, typing every word the Professor said. Ofir and I have been together for more than years now. Things are not always perfect, but I am happier than ever. I didn't even search – it just appeared.

The search for a soul mate is never easy, but it just recently hit me that it is much harder for you, diaspora Jews. You have one extra thing to take into consideration when someone asks you out. When someone smiles at my friends and, me the only thing we think of is if he is nice and good looking – you need to check if he is Jewish first, as if this search isn't hard enough… This extra bump on the way to the finish line is one of the causes of the always growing assimilation. I can't begin to imagine what it's like to meet someone you like, and then to find out he is not Jewish.

Some believe that assimilation puts the continuation of Judaism at risk, because technically (and by “technically”, I mean by the rules of the Halacha), a person who's mother isn't Jewish, is also a non-Jew. To others, it doesn't really matter whether the person you choose to spend your life with is Jewish or not. I understand both sided of the story, and still can't have an opinion of my own on that matter because I simply never dealt with that matter. I personally believe that being a Jew is what you feel, and not your family tree. However, for me, the chances of meeting a non-Jew are way lower than meeting a Jew, meaning that the issue of his Judaism is something I never encountered.  Every time I met a guy, the only bump on the way to the finish line is the his personality.

I guess this seems like a downside, having a more narrow range of possibilities, but hey, at least you have a great excuse to say to someone who approaches you and you don't like…

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