Archive for the ‘Rabbi’ Category

Schedules & Options

by Haley Plotnik under Judaism,Rabbi

I was talking to a Catholic friend of mine the other day, and she brought up that she had to head out to church. I asked if she goes to the same service every week, and she said something that really resonated with me. “Some people schedule their week around church. They go to the same service every week, and they almost never skip that service. They know when they go they’ll have the experience they’re looking for. Other people just fit in a service when they can. Sometimes it’s every week, sometimes once a month. They’re the types who fit religion around their existing schedule.”

Sometimes I struggle with a balance. Do I go Friday at 8:00 PM? Saturday at 10:00 AM? Do I go every week? What denomination?

Jews aren’t the only people that have this problem, but it’s nice to be in an area where there are choices. Most of my life, my Christian friends have had so many options, they can do a taste test (so to speak) of churches or styles of service they want to attend. This summer, I am grateful that I have options, despite some being less proximal. I’m just lucky that I liked the closest one, which happens to be the first one I tried. I didn’t go this week, but I know that if I want to hear another inspirational message from the rabbi, I’m only a 10-minute drive away.


What’s TMI?

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Online Dating,Rabbi,Relationships

Dear Tamar,

I have been on JDate for a few months. More than 100 men have viewed my profile. I am communicative and don’t hesitate to reach out. I don’t usually have self confidence issues, am optimistic and funny but no one responds to me. Many of those men seemed like serious, interesting people who I’d love to meet just for coffee. I do not mind being on my own, but I desire companionship and connections with other people. My father suggested it’s because I am healing from a spinal problem. I have so much to offer the right person, but I won’t be dishonest. Could people possibly be rejecting me because I can’t do cartwheels right now? The lack of response is disheartening, but also baffling. I tell myself I am only looking for one, but it doesn’t change the fact that no one responds to me. Any advice?

Dear What’s TMI?

I give you credit for making such an effort while recovering from a spinal injury. That said, I don’t think mentioning that injury is necessary in an introductory email and especially not in your profile — this includes not having photos showing your injury. You’re not lying; this information is simply none of their business at this point. To put it blunt — these guys are basically strangers right now. A disability, a divorce, or depression, or anything that could be seen as negative or as “baggage,” is TMI — too much information. My advice would be to not mention your injury and recovery until you are making plans to meet. The first date will probably take place at the typical bar, restaurant or coffee shop, so simply mention you’ll be arriving in a brace or using a walker or what-have-you and briefly explain why and offer to tell the whole story on the date. Do not mention your injury before then. Any emails you send to men on JDate should be casual, upbeat, and short and sweet. Mentioning this and explaining your recovery from a spinal injury is anything but those three things and it unfortunately doesn’t surprise me that you haven’t received a response. I bet with your new approach, you will! Good luck on your recovery and on finding love!


Dazed & Confused

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Judaism,Online Dating,Rabbi,Relationships

Dear Tamar,

I’ve been seeing a man who’s not Jewish that I met on a dating site 7 months ago.  We’ve said we love each other, however when we first met, it was Hanukkah and he bought me a huge number of gifts and it felt uncomfortable and overwhelming.  He also bought a menorah and a book about Judaism. It felt like too much for me and he felt rejected by the way I felt. Since then, I thought we had moved on and have spent almost every day together. Recently, he was reading my e-mail and saw a letter I had written to my Rabbi back in January where I had doubts about the relationship because of the fact he wasn’t Jewish. He broke my trust and has apologized but feels hurt I felt that way when we had already been dating for a few months and wants to take a break for a month. I want to respect his wishes but I miss him and know he misses me as he did write me yesterday. I’m just trying to understand whether we have broken up or not and if I should move on or if we are truly taking time to figure out what we want with the intention of possibly getting back together. I don’t understand how you can work something out without talking about it. Can you provide some input and help me to understand? Thank you!

Dear Dazed & Confused,

My initial impulse is to ask: why are you on JDate asking for advice about a relationship with a non-Jew? But the answer doesn’t matter, I’m happy to help as long as you answer a question for yourself first: how important is it to you to marry a Jew? This answer does matter. When you first had doubts, you went to your Rabbi. Now you have doubts again and you’re coming to JDate, so my inclination is to believe that religion is important to you and while you’re on this break you should really think deeply about it. It sounds like this guy might be willing to convert, have you discussed it? If you want to be with this guy – Jewish or not – you need to get him on the phone and then in person to talk. A few days apart to think things through is understandable, each of you needs to put things in perspective and decide what you want from each other, if anything. But now it’s time to get talking because you’re right – you can’t work on a relationship without both parties being present. Good luck!


Mazel Tov Soon-to-be Rabbi Alysa Stanton!

by JewishFactFinder under JFacts,Judaism,Rabbi

On June 6, 2009, when Alysa Stanton, 45, is officially ordained, she’ll create history as the first African American woman to become a rabbi and the first African American rabbi to lead a majority white congregation. In August, Stanton is to begin her new job at Congregation Bayt Shalom in Greenville, NC, a synagogue associated with both the Conservative and Reform movements. Stanton’s ordainment comes at a time when, according to the Institute for Jewish and Community Research, approximately 20% of American Jews are “racially and ethnically diverse by birth…by conversion or adoption.” And, “Approximately 20,000 – 30,000 marriages between Jews and African Americans grew out of the civil rights movement.”

Stanton was born in Cleveland, Ohio and was raised as a Pentecostal Christian, but believes that even at an early age she was, “a seeker.” She converted to Judaism during college in 1987, and after attending Lancaster University in England and receiving a Master of Education degree from Colorado State University in 1992, she then studied Torah at the HUC-JIR campuses in Jerusalem and in Cincinnati, Ohio. When asked if she was born Jewish, Stanton usually replies, “Yes. But not to a Jewish womb.”