Dating Advice

Dear Rosie & Sherry,

I am 22 years old and keep getting into the same argument with
my parents (since I started dating), because despite the fact that I
have a serious boyfriend, they encourage me to find a Jewish guy.
They act as though I don’t have a “real” boyfriend. They are not
religious so I don’t understand why they are so adamant about this.
I have never dated a Jewish guy, because the guys I am attracted
to simply are never Jewish. (I guess there are more non-Jews out
there.) Are they wrong for treating me this way, or am I? Is there a
reason to seek out a Jewish man?

Hillary in Atlanta

Dear Hillary,

Our answer begins with a question you must answer. How strongly
do you identify yourself as a Jew? This has nothing to do with how
religiously observant you are; it has to do with how you define
yourself in terms of your history, your culture, your spiritual beliefs
and your relationship to God. We see that you feel a connection to
Judaism from the fact that you clicked onto this website! So spend
some time thinking about how important your Jewish identity is to
you. Do you envision a life in which you are conscious of your
Judaism, maintain some Jewish tradition, and/or raise your
children as Jews?

If you do, then you should date only Jews, so that you will marry a
Jew. Lets face it: It’s much more common for mixed-faith families
to gravitate toward the predominant culture (i.e. Christianity), than
to incorporate Jewish traditions and values into their home. Sadly,
the majority of people who marry out of the Jewish faith maintain
only minimal connections with Jewish life. Their children and/or
grandchildren frequently do not consider themselves Jews. The
beauty of our 3,000-year faith, rich history and culture often ends
within a generation of intermarriage.

You don’t have to be religious to treasure your Jewish identity and
to want your children and grandchildren to be Jewish. This feeling
is undoubtedly at the root of your parents’ strong sentiments. It is to
their credit that they have always expressed their hope that you
date Jewish men. They understood that even people who insist
they will stop dating non-Jews once they are ready for marriage
may find themselves pushing this aside when they fall in love with
the nice gentile they’ve been dating but never thought of marrying
until now.

About your statement that you’ve always been attracted to
non-Jewish men: Is it possible that you may have started dating
non-Jews during your rebellious teenage years, to take a “stand”
against your parents, and now that you’re an adult you simply are
accustomed to being with men who are not Jewish? Could it be
that if you learned a little more about our rich heritage, you’d be
more inclined to date Jewish? The man you are now dating may
be a great guy, but we’d like to see you maintain your link to our
faith by learning more about Judaism, and strengthening your
emotional ties to your heritage.

Have you ever visited Israel? This can be a great jump-start to a
Jewish connection. Check out the programs at

You may also try the Discovery seminar, which helps answer the
question, “Why be Jewish?” The seminar is given in hundreds of
cities throughout the world. For a current schedule, go to:

Rosie & Sherry

Dear Rosie & Sherry:

I am 19 and grew up not knowing of my Jewish blood. I started
practicing Judaism about a year ago and much of this is still so
new to me, but I have never felt so fulfilled in my life. I only dated
non-Jewish women, mainly because there are few Jews in the
middle of Kansas, and because I never knew of my heritage until
recently. I do not think it is fair to put restraints on love and say that
it has to stay exclusively in the same religion or race, but
sometimes I think Gentiles do not understand where I come from
as a Jew.

Because of this, I think that maybe only a Jewish woman would be
able to understand me. Should I stop dating non-Jews? Am I too
far out in left field? I would appreciate any help you could give.


Kenny in Kansas

Dear Kenny,

Mazal Tov on discovering your Jewish roots! You’ve begun a
spiritual journey that we hope will continue to fulfill you for a lifetime.

As for your question: We advocate that Jews date only Jews. The
reasons are as much practical as they are spiritual. Judaism is a
lifestyle as well as a religion. Its much easier to date someone who
shares your overall outlook on history and life in general, your
observance of Jewish traditions and holidays, your desire to
increase your Jewish knowledge. That’s the practical side.

On a spiritual level, consider that our traditions go back thousands
of years. Intermarried families tend to break off from these
traditions within one generation. When you date non-Jews, even as
a young adult who isn’t ready to think about dating for marriage,
you significantly increase the chances that you will marry a
non-Jew. American Jews have much in common socially and
culturally with their non-Jewish countrymen, and it’s easy for them
to form an emotional bond. You can say that you’ll date people
from another religion until you’re ready date for marriage, but what
will happen if you fall in love with someone before your
self-appointed cut-off date?

Since you live in a geographic area where there are few Jews, it
will help to find a rabbi and/or mentor to help you out socially.
Consider hooking up with a mentor in Kansas City or St. Louis—
each of those cities has vibrant Jewish communities. Or check out
a Jewish student organization at the nearby university.

Your knowledge of Judaism is new, and will continue to bloom over
the years. Your journey will be much more meaningful if you can
share it with the people you date.

Rosie & Sherry

Have a question for Rosie & Sherry?
Email them at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Rosie Einhorn, a psychotherapist, and Sherry Zimmerman, a
family lawyer, are the authors of “Talking Tachlis—A Singles’
Strategy for Marriage,” and the founders of Sasson V’Simcha, a
non-profit organization which provides programs and services to
help Jewish singles. They live in Israel, and present seminars on
effective dating throughout Israel and the U.S.

MAIN PAGE: Intermarriage…Why Not?

Posted in: Jewish Beliefs & Philosophy;  Relationships & Family