Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Converting to Judaism and the Dating Game

In a previous post I received a series of comments that made me angry. Not at the commenters, but at the way they are treated. I speak of the Ger and the Giyores. Instead of appreciating who they are, where they came from, and the heights they have reached - both in belief and level of observance - they are treated miserably in comparison to those of us who were born Jewish and are raised in religious homes.

Getting dates with normal and decent religious people is apparently twice as hard for them as it is for the average Frum Jew. The man identifies himself as wdf - the woman as Michal. Here is what they wrote:

It's amazing, I actually wanted to learn in kollel for a tekufa, and while I was dating, I was mostly set up with girls who davka wanted someone working and not learning more than a year max. I am always shocked and amazed when I read that it is hard to find girls who want a working boy.

I dated plenty, plenty of them. I had many, many people offering me shidduchim of this type of girl. And they were fine, bais yaakov girls, yirei shamayim etc.

The truth is, though, that I am a ger and that most of these girls had either one parent that was a bt, divored parents, or something else along those lines. So that probably explains a lot.

Yes, they would set you up with those girls on purpose because they don't want you in kollel. THEY make these things happen. THEY don't like gerim, BTs and children of divorced parents. They put them together. In fact, it is better for a man to BE divorced than his parents be divorced.

I have seen that men are favored over women, no matter what. When I have gone to people's houses, they are full of nebach single men. I rarely have met divorced women at meals. Also, men are the ones who marry women, not the other way around. By that I mean, women have to wait for the man. Men just dig in their heels determined for what they want. It seems like they harass women to get married when it's not in our control.

I've been on less than 10 dates since I converted and I had a rabbi absolutely SCREAMMMMMING at me. Meanwhile, I had a divorced Jewish professor fall semester and he was always going on a date with someone. He told me he gets lots of suggestions from See You at Sinai -all date worthy.

I couldn't get anyone to sign me on. I have blonde hair, blue eyes, and can pass for half my age. Non-Jewish guys are always trying to pick me up. I've had gorgeous 20 somethings all over me, but they aren't religious or not Jewish. The guys want a large age gap so they can brag about it.

My point is everyone falls over the men trying to get them what they want.

My comments are addressed to Michal since - unfortunately - women in Orthodoxy are generally in a weaker position with respect to Shiduchim than men are. I also sense in Michal much greater emotional pain. But much of what I say applies to both men and women.

Michal, I hear you and I am in complete sympathy with your predicament. I have said this about the Ger and Giyores before - many times - and I'll say it again: I honor you! You have what many of even the most religious Jews do not have - a sincere thought out reason for being Jewish.

You are like our patriarch Abraham. He was able on his own to come to the realization of Emes. You have done the same. You, like Avraham Avinu found God on your own. I envy you in that way.

We who are born Jewish and brought up to be religious are in a sense ‘forced’ into something we did not choose. We are taught as children to perform the Mitzvos in an almost rote fashion. In our adult lives that often translates into not even thinking about the Mitzvos when we do them. Many if not most of us just do them out of habit.

For you the Mitzvos are a 1000 times more meaningful. You embraced Judaism and perform the Mitzvos with far more meaning and dedication the most religious Jews. Judaism means more to you than the average religious Jew.

If I were a single male who was serious about my Judaism I would be looking for someone like you to be a life partner and mother of my children. What better role model could a child have than a mother who chose Judaism and observes the Mitzvos for a reason - rather than by rote behavior?

It is so sad that there is such prejudice out there. And there is. No question about it. No matter how many people try and hide it or disguise it. It’s there. That makes your commitment to Judaism even more remarkable. I envy your Olam Habah.

That a rabbi could scream at you for any reason is outrageous and disgusting. I have no clue what the issue was - but it doesn’t matter. I am completely convinced that you did not deserve it. In my view his behavior with you invalidates him as a spiritual leader.

Do not be discouraged by all the negativity you've encountered. Not every religious Jew is as shallow as those you've met. There are many serious Jews that see a Ger or Giyores in the same way that I do. They will make excellent husbands and good fathers. May God answer all your prayers. And may you find your intended and live a life of peace and happiness soon.