Each of us has a Divinely intended spouse to marry. For a Jew, his/her intended one is a Jew. Finding a suitable companion to marry is difficult enough, without exacerbating the situation by marrying out of one's faith. One litmus test is: if you are a Jew who is convinced you are in love with and intend to marry out of your faith, know that you are not marrying your best choice for a spouse. - X. O. -1/2-/2001
* * * * *
I read the answers and realize that what I experienced many years ago might be of interest. I converted to Judaism with my 2 children and my x felt that Orthodoxy was a "cult". The custody suit was a nightmare and thank G-D I had a good lawyer. I wound up with joint custody of the children. To make a long story short, both children are married and raising Torah Observant children (one in Brooklyn, one in Jerusalem) and my x mother-in-law thanked me at my daughter's wedding for raising the children the way I did with love and derech eretz. -1/2-/2001
* * * * *
To Karen and the readers,
I am just coming out of a relationship where my girlfriend of almost 2 years was not Jewish. We had reached a point in the relationship where the next step was to live together and see if we were compatible under the same roof. She was significantly younger than me, and although that was not a concern in the relationship, it was a larger topic of conversation than religion ever was. She had moved out of state and was about to move in with me until I asked her for a little more time so I could tell my father face to face that his son, first generation American, the family is Israely, wanted to live with a non-Jewish woman, and that the posibility existed that we might get married.
Well, to make a very long story short, she ended up walking away from the relationship because I was taking too long. A couple of days later my father and I had a heart to heart. The point being, was there must have been a reason that I was taking too long to make a decision that could affect my family here in the states and in Israel. The reason....she was not Jewish. I forgot how important that is in my life. My family's heritage depends on me marrying a Jewish woman, or the blood line stops with me. I have a clearer understanding of that now, and after reading Karen's article, it rings true that I'm not the only one coming to this realization. It's difficult in today's times to find your true mate, dav'ka, I'll keep at it. -1/2-/2001
* * * * *
I am one another side, but wanted to comment. My mother was Jewish, but she converted to Catholicism when she married. I was raised Catholic, which is fine, but lately I feel something is missing. My husband humors me (he doesn't practice any faith), asking how far I intend to take "this Jewish thing." Honestly, I don't know. It is confusing. I do believe that people need to stay inside thier own faith. Others seem to suffer.
* * * * *
I am a divorced mom with one child still at home (16) I am in the conversion process to orthodox Judaism. I find it difficult to date because I only want to date observant Jewish men. -1/2-/2001
* * * * *
I have been reading through the article and many of your comments and I just felt that I had to add one of my own. Many of your stories are very similar to my own life. I am the son of a mixed marriage, my mother being Jewish and father Lutheran. Neither of my parents are very religious and my interest in Judaism and leading an observant life-style has made me something of the oddball in the family. My studies in Jewish theology, philosophy and texts have gone extremely well for me and I've never felt more at peace but when it comes to the dating scene, it's extremely difficult to meet Jewish girls here in college especially since I go to a secular state run university and there are perhaps 100-150 Jews in a campus population of over 10,000. However, being the from a mixed marriage I have made a conscious decision not to date and/or marry outside my own people despite the difficulties because I want to live in a Jewish home and raise a Jewish family. - E. . -1/2-/2001
* * * * *
I have a very different story. My ex-husband is Jewish, and I converted. Not because he wanted me to, he didn't, and certainly not so i could marry him. He really didn't care. He made conversion very difficult for me, because he was very secular, and once we had children, he was completely disinterested in having them do anything Jewish. It all came from me, and it still does. Once I converted we stopped all Christian observance, but now that he doesn't live with me, he has Christmas, Easter, and Halloween celebrations, among others. His lawyer put in that we should share the children on Christmas, and I said absolutely not, they don't celebrate Christmas, they are Jewish. We go to my family for holidays but not on Christmas, on some other day. His family is very secular, too, so i don't get any help from them. but we are all happy, my children know who they are and what they need to do, to be heimischer mensches in every sense. It is not much consolation that he is not happy, because he is lost somewhere in his cynicism and lack of faith, because i can't be pleased that the father of my children is miserable. And it is difficult to tell teenagers anything, especially that they should learn from the mistakes of others. But my eldest son has managed, despite the difficulty where we live and where he goes to school, to only date Jewish girls. He says it's not intentional, but I know it has to be. If I have learned anything, it is that you can't force something on someone who doesn't want it, and trying to do so makes it all worse. I don't think that my children are observant and identify as Jews as any of my doing, but as all things, comes from Hashem. - B. H. -1/2-/2001
* * * * *
My brother and I both have fathers that aren't Jewish. Growing up, I was sent to Catholic school during the day and hebrew school at night. The menorah always had to play 2nd fiddle to the x-mas tree. My mother thought she was raising us "with the best of both worlds." However, by the time I was 11 I was so confused I wanted nothing to do with religion of any kind. It was simply too confusing and I never knew where I belonged.
Now I am 20 years old and Baal Teshuva. I consider myself an Orthodox Jew. I find my Torah way of life very fufilling and have no regrets about becoming an observant Jew. However, I wonder if I shut half of my background out, half of my heritage, by being an observant Jew. My father is Irish Catholic and I feel that I sometimes deny half of who I am by being an observant Jew. Yet, I feel a connection with Judaism and know this is where I belong in this world.
I guess what I am saying is that before you marry a gentile, think about all the problems that could arise. I might point out that in an intermarriage, the painful decision of religion usually falls upon the child. They may even feel like they have to choose one parent over the other. Do you really want to do this to your children?
If you can't marry Jewish for your own sake or for Judaism's sake, then marry Jewish for your children. It's not fair what they will have to go through down the rode.
Please marry Jewish, it's not fair to the children to not marry Jewish. -1/2-/2001
* * * * *
To Karen and others:
I feel for what the author went through and can relate very well. You see, I just left my Christian wife whom I loved very much. Like Karen, I didn't hold my Judaism high on my list of priorities as evidenced by the fact that I chose to marry a non-Jew. In my soon-to-be ex wife's defense, she did attend shul with me but insisted that we go only on a limited basis. I was able to tolerate this for years. However, like many people, I grew discontent with a life that wasn't infused with the meaning and spirituality that Judaism has to offer. I consider it now fortunate that we were not able to have children (due to infertility) so that our mutual suffering over the separation and divorce was confined to us and not to children.
It is a very hard thing to leave a commited relationship that took years to build. I admire the courage it took for Karen to be so commited to her Judaism; it will be a true friend and rock for you as it is for me and so many others. -1/2-/2001
* * * * *
Submit Your Comments Note: Comments are for display on this page, they are not sent to the author.