Archive for the ‘Judaism’ Category

Why Are You Still Single?

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Judaism,Single Life

How many times were you asked “Why are you still single?” by your friends and relatives during your Passover Seder? Was your head about to explode? And it’s not like anyone is going to answer anything other than: “Because I haven’t met the right person yet.” How awesome would it be to reply with the truth?

  • Because the last 3 guys I went out with were assholes
  • Because my date yesterday clearly posted a picture from 10 years ago
  • Because I have unrealistic expectations of what a partner is… and no one will ever be able to meet them
  • Because I think I’m a 10 (when really I’m a 7), and I won’t settle for anyone who is less than a 9

Or you can refer to this snarky — yet slightly true — article about why you’re still single using the Myers-Briggs Personality Test. Are you an extrovert or introvert? A thinker or a feeler? Figure out if you’re an ESTJ or an INTP to see why you may still be single. Then think about if it applies to you and, since you probably don’t like what it has to say, think about what you can do to make some adjustments so that at next year’s Seder you either have a date with you… or at the very least have an equally obnoxious comeback prepared!


Brotherly Love

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,JDate,Judaism,Online Dating,Single Life

This Passover my Facebook newsfeed was inundated with beautiful family photos… and many times I was confused. Many of these “friends” I hadn’t seen in awhile, and many of their siblings I hadn’t seen in even longer. In fact, I didn’t know if the person they were lovingly posing with was their sibling at all, or if it was their significant other. And sometimes there wasn’t a tag or it wasn’t clear who the tag belonged to.

Obviously there is nothing wrong with showing affection with your siblings, but if you’re single, then you should not only tag photos but caption them as well: “love hanging out with my brother/sister!” The same goes for any of those photos that you use on JDate as well — make sure you add the description of who is in photos with you. You don’t want any prospects to be confused and think you’re dating someone seriously enough to post a photo on social media, or to think you’re using photos with an ex on JDate — because without a doubt your matches will then compare themselves to your ex!


The Four Daters

by Caryn Alper under JDate,Judaism,Online Dating,Single Life

Happy Passover!  I’m willing to bet that many of you attended a seder or two this past weekend. And if yours were anything like mine, the food was delicious and plentiful, there was only one major wine spill, and only one person forgot her reading glasses, which might be a record.  Despite the unspoken battle of wills between those who were engaged in lively discussion and those who looked at their watches every 5 minutes, hoping to eat and run, my family and I had lovely seders, and I hope you did too!

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If “The Four Children” were “The Four Daters,” which would you be?

You’ve probably noticed that the number four has significance in the seder: four sons, four cups of wine, four questions (incidentally, our “kids table” was the end of the table with all unmarrieds under 40. I’m in my early thirties and sang the four questions!)  While reading about the four sons, my likes-to-categorize brain wondered: are there four kinds of daters? I’m sure there are more, but in the Passover sprit, here are some of my insights on the top four as they relate to the four sons:

 

 

 

 

 

1. The Wise One

What does he say? In the story of Passover, the wise child wants to know all about the laws and mitzvot that Hashem has commanded you. In dating, the Wise Child wants to know all about you! In other words, a Wise Dater is attentive, selfless, and aware of G-d (meaning that when it comes to dating, what is meant to be will be). I read some commentary on the Wise Son indicating that his wisdom makes him pure (read: good intentions) and allows him to foresee the consequences of his actions, which, in my opinion are really good qualities in a dater.

2. The Wicked One

He asks, “What is this service of yours? Why do you go to the trouble?” According to some commentary, the Wicked Child is basically kind of selfish. He excludes himself from the rest of the group and thinks the rules don’t apply to him, denying his Jewish engagement. A Wicked Dater acts selfishly and rudely.  Obvious signs of this type: texting at the table, making demands of the waiter, or saying things like “MUST BE THIN. SEEKING 21-24 ONLY. NO GAMES OR DRAMA” in his/her profile. The Haggadah says you should blunt the teeth of the Wicked Son, which sounds violent like an old-school punishment, but one interpretation of this phrase is that we should teach the Wicked Son to control his desire for self-indulgence. Luckily, this means the Wicked Son, or Dater, in this case, is correctable, offering hope for even the most selfish daters among us.

3. The Simple One

What does he say? “What is this all about?” The Simple Child doesn’t know what’s going on but expresses an interest in learning. Similarly, there are some daters who are out of practice or maybe new to the playing field, often identified by their empty or generic profiles. But they are here, ready to look for love! Just as we are to help the Simple Son by explaining the story to him, so too can we help new daters by proofreading profiles or coaching them before dates.

4. The One Who Doesn’t Know Enough to Ask

We have to start him off. This is akin to the person who wants a relationship but doesn’t know how to go about finding one. So start him off – tell him to leave the house and get out there! Introduce him to friends and help him set up a JDate profile.

Do you recognize yourself as one of these four daters? In the tradition of Passover, I offer no concrete answers here – just fodder for discussion and debate that may keep you up past midnight. Don’t forget to end with the afikoman!


Those Little Gestures

by Tamar Caspi under Judaism,Relationships

You can buy a bouquet of roses from the market, or you can purchase the seeds of your girlfriend’s favorite flower along with soil and a pot so that she has an ongoing reminder of your thoughtfulness.

You can suggest a local brewery for date night, or you can get your boyfriend that online deal to learn how to make craft beer at home.

Oftentimes we overlook those subtle hints which could really help make your significant other feel special, loved, and appreciated. Listen for the things that your partner won’t ask for, but you know they like — whether that be a specific food or drink, an outfit (A man in a suit? Always hot!), a location (The peak of a mountain at sunset? So romantic!), and of course there’s also gift-giving.

This holiday season, make the effort to give the special someone in your life a gift that’s just as special. It doesn’t have to be expensive, or even store-bought, just something to let the person know that you are listening.


Missing the Mitzvah of Marriage

by Rabbi Josh Yuter under Judaism,Relationships,Single Life,Weddings

Every now again I reserve the right to play the “Rabbi” card and interject some religion in my dating posts. Today, I’d like to talk about the religious pressures one faces in dating, particularly pertaining to marriage and family life, which has been on my mind since this past week in Daf Yomi, we actually covered some of the Rabbinic sources stressing the importance of the Jewish family, getting married and having children (B. Yevamot 61bB. Yevamot 64a). For two examples, “R. Tanhum stated in the name of R. Hanilai: Any man who has no wife lives without joy, without blessing, and without goodness. ‘Without joy,’ for it is written. And thou shalt rejoice, thou and thy house” (B. Yevamot 62b) and, “R. Eleazar said: Any man who has no wife is no proper man; for it is said, Male and female created He them, and called their name Adam” (B. Yevamot 63a). Later on in the same trachtate we find, “More than the man desires to marry does the woman desire to be taken in marriage” (B. Yevamot 113a) and “It is preferable to live in grief [in a bad marriage] than to dwell in widowhood” (B. Yevamot 118b).

On top of these sorts of homiletic statements, there’s a debate as to whether or not there is a mitzvah to get married (Rambam), or if marriage is only a prerequisite for properly performing the obligation of having procreation (Ramban) (See this class by R. Aharon Lichtenstein).

It’s bad enough when we have to deal with pressure from family and annoying friends, but how do we deal with letting down our Creator?

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You… me… marriage?

One approach could be to simply get married to the first willing person, regardless of your feelings, but this is not always particularly healthy, and other Rabbinic teachings admonish those who marry people unsuitable for them. As an alternative, I’d like to suggest my own approach, with full awareness of my own bias as someone who has never been married.

By tradition, Jewish law has 613 commandments, 248 of which are “positive” commandments which we must perform, and innumerable Rabbinic laws and enactments on top of those. The reality is that not everyone will be able to perform all of those commandments, sometimes not by their own choice. For example, not every Jew lives in Israel or makes aliyah, which I should note may affect dating prospects. I know few people who have the skill to write a Torah scroll, and fewer who have actually done so (Deut. 31:19).

Not everyone has the same opportunity to perform the same commandments, and the Talmud also teaches that one is religiously exempt when forced into a situation (B. Avoda Zara 54a). Unless someone’s parents pre-arranged their marriage, we’re born into this world single… and single we stay until we find a willing partner with whom we can change our status. This is not always a matter of our choice, but even if it were, I do not believe that one ought to get married to someone inappropriate just for the sake of checking off a religious achievement. After all, the Torah also commands that when a man wishes to divorce his wife, he must give her a get; and we do not encourage men to find fault with their spouses just so that they can fulfill this religious obligation.

I would frequently tell my congregation that I’m just a Rabbi, I’m not the Judge. I’m only qualified to teach what I think Jewish law dictates and what civil penalties there may be for violations. What I cannot do is tell you with any certainty what “spiritual consequences” your actions may have or how God will judge your actions against any mitigating factors (I would also suggest ignoring anyone who claims to do so).

As Jews we have obligations which we must fulfill. Though we can try our best, we’re never going to be perfect (Ecc. 7:20). Maybe God is a vengeful deity who will smite you for your indolence,l or maybe God is a forgiving one who understands your collective experience. There’s enough uncertainty in dating and marriage, we don’t need to add theological questions to our anxieties.


Who’s Off Limits?

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,JDate,Judaism,Relationships,Single Life

Jewish Geography can become an issue when you’re single and seemingly connected to nearly every other single Jew that you know in some way — either you hooked up with their friend, or your friend dated them seriously, or your cousin broke their friend’s heart — and suddenly you feel like there’s no one left to date! But really, very few single Jews are truly “off-limits,” and even then, someone can usually become fair game with a simple conversation.

Ex-spouses of your friends are off-limits… unless it’s been years and they’re now friendly and your friend, in fact, set you two up. If it’s an acquaintance’s ex-spouse then it’s perhaps a good idea to run the idea past your acquaintance before pursuing a relationship. For example: my fiance and I were set-up by a mutual friend who is also good friends with his ex-wife. Our shadchan asked the ex-wife’s permission before making the shidduch.

If one of your friends has never recovered from getting dumped by someone, then that person is probably off-limits. If one of your friends contracted an STD from someone, then that person is, well, need I say more? But if your friend simply casually dated the person, then a simple phone call asking for your friend’s blessing should suffice. And if there was no drama and yet your friend won’t give you permission, then perhaps you need to take a deeper look at both the prospect as well as the friendship.


Sending the Right Signals

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,JDate,Judaism,Single Life

This month (it’s December already!!!???) you will likely attend lots of holiday parties in addition to your local shindig on Christmas Eve where all the Jews go to celebrate nothing else being open (the Place2Be, the MatzoBall, the Mitzvah Ball, the Vodka Latke, etc). If you are single heading into the New Year then attending one of these events is a MUST.

But you also MUST send the right signals while you’re there.

  • Dress classy, not costume-y. You want to be taken seriously as a dating prospect, not just a fun one-nighter. So, dress sexy, but not trashy.
  • Make eye contact and smile. The best way to let someone know you’re interested is to catch their eye and hold it for a few seconds while you smile.
  • Stand tall and relaxed. Slumped posture with arms crossed over your chest gives off a closed vibe.
  • Laugh. Have fun and enjoy yourself. People want to be around other positive people.
  • Be forward, but polite. If you are talking to someone that you are not interested in, then warmly inform them that you want to find your friends and that you hope they have a nice evening. You don’t need to waste your time with people you don’t like, but having good manners is important. Your prospect could be close enough to overhear you excusing yourself.
  • Do a stink check. Nothing will turn someone off faster than body odor or bad breath.

Date Night No-No

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Judaism,Relationships,Single Life

Last night I attended an event for young adults in my local Jewish community. There was a guy there that I referenced as a serial dater in my book, How to Woo a Jew: The Modern Jewish Guide to Dating and Mating. And guess what? He was there with a new girl he is dating. Shocker. He came over to say hi and I asked if she was his girlfriend and he told me they had only recently begun dating and had met at a Halloween party.

I spotted another guy across the room and pointed him out to a single girlfriend of mine. She rolled her eyes. I raised my eyebrows. Apparently they had already gone out and she had brought him to one of these functions only to have it be a major fail. She knew a lot of people and had helped organize the event, and he didn’t like having to share her attention.

So here’s my date night no-no: don’t bring a date to an event early on in your relationship. Too many people you know will be there inquiring, pulling your attention away from your date who is the one who should matter the most at that time. Early dating is not the time to try to impress, or prove to your date how popular you are. You are still in the getting to know you stage, so go somewhere you can get to know each other without any distractions!


Mixing Up Your Mileage

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Judaism,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

One of the preferences JDate asks you about is “Located Within” a certain number of miles from your city. If you live in a large city then you can likely select “50 miles” and have many prospects to choose from. If you live in a smaller city or town, then you possibly need to expand your mileage to 100 miles. I strongly suggest you do this, even if you live in a rather large city. A friend of mine in Southern California is engaged to a man in Northern California — which seems far, but is just a short flight away. They make it work, most people wouldn’t have even bothered looking so far away.

On the other hand, if you live in a large city and can’t find anyone worthwhile, perhaps your other preferences are too strict? Are your standards too high? Is there something about you that you could work on to better attract the prospects in your mileage range? You can’t always point the finger at what you consider to be poor prospects, sometimes you have to look at yourself first. Then again, after playing Jewish Geography and finding out that you pretty much know everyone in your immediate area, then you shouldn’t hesitate to extend your parameters and perimeters.


Forgive Yourself

by Tamar Caspi under Judaism

This Yom Kippur, forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for not meeting the goals you intended to meet when you set them this time last year. You know what I’m talking about: you said you would be in a serious relationship, or in the job of your dreams, or moved out of your parent’s house, or lost that weight, or cleaned out your closet and garage and attic.

If you succeeded in accomplishing one of those things, then bravo to you! If you succeeded in accomplishing more than one of your goals, then you’re a rock star. But, if life got in the way of you completing even one, well, that happens. Cut yourself some slack. As long as you wholeheartedly put forth the effort and are at least on your way towards accomplishing your goals… then be happy with your year and don’t be too hard on yourself for not getting further. Life happens and we need to forgive ourselves when it doesn’t go the way we planned.

One of the most important people to ask forgiveness from on Yom Kippur is yourself, and one of the most difficult people to forgive is yourself. Try it.