College dating jewish
I made a conscious decision to go where my Judaism would have to be my choice and my responsibility. That last question turned out to be the hardest one to figure out. Or they went to Brandeis with a cohort of fifty of their closest friends from summer camp.
After a couple of dates, it was clear that his personal religion involved serious worship of cash.
Then an old friend suggested I go out with her boyfriend’s brother.
It was my sophomore year and a group of us were gathered in a dorm room, teenage bodies splayed across beds and chairs and floor. Since hiding in that tiny, crowded room wasn’t really an option, I just sat still, hoping no one would notice me. Day school, Jewish camps, Israel, shul every shabbat. If left to my own devices, would I still choose to keep Shabbat? I was spending my time studying languages and African history, living in an International Studies dorm where diverse backgrounds and cultural experiences were the norm.
I don’t recall exactly what prompted the conversation, but someone asked a dorm mate, an Indian national, to talk about the possibility of arranged marriage. “To assume that the person you are meant to be with happens to be from your ethnic group. And it might have worked, if not for my close friend who announced to my horror, “Leah will only date and marry Jews.” Despite all of my attempts to be seen as a left-leaning, color blind, student of the world, I had just been called out as a bigot. When I got to public high school, it was in a town that was more than fifty percent Jewish. I was, and remain, an unabashed liberal who prides herself on valuing difference and tolerance.
During our senior year, an Episcopalian friend described what it was like having her first non-Jewish boyfriend: “I feel a little guilty,” she said. How could I shut myself off in the most intimate of ways just because of religious difference? During my senior year, I got a strange request from my Hillel rabbi. They had no connection to the Jewish community, but had suddenly decided they needed a private Jewish tutor to ensure that their children wouldn’t intermarry. Because when I got to their big, sprawling, suburban home—which bore no evidence of their Jewishness—I was less sure.
I went on one of the first ever teen trips to Poland and Israel, where we were constantly reminded that we were personally responsible for keeping the Jewish people alive. I often babysat his sweet, plump-cheeked little girls, and he knew I could hang with kids. Freshly returned from a year in Jerusalem, I was filled with the confidence of someone who had navigated third-year Russian classes conducted in Hebrew, long days in the Interior Ministry, and ongoing battles with an Iraqi plumber. And when their little boy blurted out that he wanted to be Christian because they had presents, and Jews (in his experience) had nothing—I quietly told them I would not be their tutor, and that they needed to find a community.
I found a home at Hillel and in other Jewish organizations, but in my dorm, I was one of only a few members of the tribe.And I started to think seriously about the kind of parent I wanted to be someday.Why did this family even care if their children intermarried?Would they have had an answer for those dorm mates of mine, staring me down like I was waving a confederate flag?After college I dated a number of different Jewish guys and started to hone in on what was truly important to me.A nice looking Israeli asked me out in line at the kosher bakery.