Archive for the ‘Judaism’ Category

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?

JBlog-Resize-Yuter

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.


Start New, Start Now

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

I believe in any excuse to commit to bettering yourself — whether it be January 1st or the Jewish New Year, the start of the school year or your birthday — find any excuse to start being a better you now.

The High Holy Days are a great time to do so since you get the opportunity to repent and redeem yourself. When you’re reading the alphabet of sins, and are able to unfortunately connect with a few of them (admit it, it’s way more than just a few!), then make a promise to yourself to be better starting now.

Stop judging prospects based on their bad photos or typos, stop speaking badly about others and gossiping about your dates or others in the community, stop lying and deceiving others whether in your profile or in person. And of course there are so many more ways to become a better person, don’t wait for December 31st… start now!


Shana Tova!

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

Here are some great lists, articles, and videos for singles to read/watch while hiding out in the bathroom during a break from High Holy Day services:

23 Reasons People Actually Ended a Relationship

71 Reasons We We’re All Still F*cking Single

If Women Were Honest on First Dates

10 Things Happy Couples Do Differently

Weird Things All Couples Fight About

Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year, and I hope this year leads each of you to a better you… and possibly even to your beshert!


The End

by Aaron under JDate,Judaism,Online Dating,Rabbi,Relationships,Single Life

I’ve posted about a lot of things in the last year — mostly personal stories and experiences. Maybe you’ve read my blogs as a JDater, hoping to cure your singledom; maybe as a potential user seeing what this site is about; maybe as a friend who saw me post a link on Facebook; or even a friend-of-a-friend who saw me post about what being a girl is like online. Whatever led you here, to these words of mine, thank you for reading.

I’m leaving this blog, though not because I don’t like it. I just think my time here is done. I’m out of frustrations and things to write about dating that I or others haven’t already said. It’s time for someone else to share their insights. I’ve had a really great time writing about my experiences and hope the person who takes my place has a great time, too.

I want to leave you by actually giving you advice for once, though. I have a girlfriend now, which I guess was the point of getting on JDate in the first place. I don’t know what will happen to us in the future, but every day I’ve been with her has made me glad I signed up for a JDate account. We didn’t meet on here (I went through the rabbit hole of Jewish dating and we’ll just call JDate my gateway site), but through my ventures into online/long-distance dating, I found an incredible person who complements my lifestyle perfectly.

Dating this last year since starting to blog has been all over the place for me. It all started with a girl in LA bound for Arkansas, and then me traveling to Long Island for a girl, among a number of dates in between — both in Dallas and elsewhere. But I never tried the same thing twice, I was always looking for what wasn’t working and how I could fix it.

So, in a nutshell, this is my advice — your Bisheret isn’t just waiting for you like a lot of us like to believe. No one is just going to accept you for “who you are,” and that’s a good thing. We should always be looking to improve ourselves, whether it’s our bodies, our communication skills (in a profile or an email), or even our spiritual observance in a way that makes us fulfilled. I’ve taken on a number of journeys in the last year: from getting my MBA to growing Jewishly to finally dating the greatest girl I’ve ever been with in the greatest city I’ve ever lived in. Each journey is special in its own way, and none of them happened because I waited for someone to accept who I was.

That’s not to say  you should change everything about yourself. At the end of the day, I’m still just a Kosher cowboy who likes to smile and make friends. But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t change my behaviors in tiny ways that were in my best interest. So I’ll close things where I began; it’s not easy out there, and no piece of advice from me will make it so. But every day, try to better yourself in some way. Let today be the day you sign up for JDate. If you’re on the site already, let today be the day you look up a new piece of advice on social skills (really better than any romantic advice in terms of attracting people), or let it be the day you try looking in a new area of the world for your Bisheret, or even the day you try to enhance your prospects by reaching out to a rabbi or friends. Someone is undoubtedly waiting out there for you, but you will not find each other until you take those steps, each and every day.

I wish each and every one of you the best of luck. Thank you for reading, and I hope your Bisheret and you find each other soon.