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.
It felt wrong for me to pressure her, yet at the same time I knew that if she didn’t convert, the relationship would almost certainly have to end at some point.
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.
Most of the women the site matched me with wouldn’t risk even a simple online chat with me.
Meanwhile, more and more of my friends were getting engaged, more and more of them started families, and I had never dated anyone for more than a few weeks. If Jewish women weren’t attracted to me, I’d go find women who were.
She was also unbendingly ethical, deeply scholarly, and emotionally supportive—virtues I’d always believed essential in a prospective girlfriend or wife.
Since she wasn’t Jewish, though, a relationship with her didn’t seem possible; I thought of her as simply a good friend. I created an online dating profile on e Harmony, hoping that its mystical personality matching system would somehow do the job that I had proven unable to accomplish on my own. 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.My parents liked Alicia, but not the fact that she wasn’t Jewish.My paternal grandparents were more concerned; I promised them that I would only marry a Jewish girl.This was my ulterior motive when I planned a trip up to New England.