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.
As a child, I grew up in Conservative congregations in Georgia, New Jersey, and Minnesota, was educated in Jewish day schools from kindergarten through fifth grade, and spent most of my childhood summers at Jewish summer camps.
As an adult I have written for Jewish newspapers and teach in a synagogue. She would usually say that she was “not an atheist” or that she was a non-practicing Methodist.
My paternal grandparents survived the Holocaust and met at a displaced persons camp in Landsberg, Germany, before they moved to the United States.
My father spent his entire professional life working for Jewish Federations across the country.
By the time I graduated, I’d still never been in anything approaching a serious relationship. She lived in New Hampshire, shared all of my nerdy hobbies, had a great sense of humor, and looked like a younger blonde version of geek icon Gillian Anderson from .
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.
When she arrived at my friend’s house, her hair was dyed red and she was dressed in a black suit: very Agent Scully. We went out for Thai food with my friend and his wife.
It felt very much like a double date between two married couples, even though the meeting was hardly planned that way.
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.
But as I fell in love with her, she fell in love with me—and with my Judaism as well.