I’m going to get personal for this post, not because I think anyone really cares about my personal life, but because I don’t think my story is all that unique and maybe someone out there can find something useful.
Archive for the ‘Rabbi’ Category
Hello JDate Blog readers! My name is Josh Yuter and I’m thrilled be your guest blogger for the next few months. You might know me from such websites as YUTOPIA or JewishGuitarChords.com, or from such synagogues as The Stanton St. Shul.
You might be wondering why I have any business writing about dating or relationships, especially considering that I’ve never been married. On the other hand, I never claimed to be an expert on dating either. (Not that being married itself makes someone an expert in dating. If anything, people who got married to the first person they dated actually know very little about dating, let alone the struggles that other people may have).
What I do have is years of first-hand experience dating and the uncensored stories and perspectives shared with me by friends. I also have a unique way of looking at the dating world, in part due to a general tendency to overthink, and in part due to my own exasperation being subjected to other people’s pontifications.
The first thing to remember is that dating is not, nor has it ever been, one size fits all. I’ve personally referred to dating as chasing a “moving target,” for the very simple reason that what one person finds attractive another finds repellant. To assume that all men or all women are the same, such that generalizations are meaningful, is to deny that yes, we are all individuals.(Spoiler: I’m going to break this rule in my next post).
I’m also well aware that I’m limited by my own perceptions, so I’d alove to hear if you’ve got your own ideas or questions you’d like to share. Just drop me a line using this form and, while I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to answer everyone personally, I might address some issues in this space while maintaining everyone’s confidentiality.
I don’t know who will be reading this column so it would be irresponsible for me to dispense any specific advice. The best I can do is share some of my experience and thoughts; you might find some of what I say helpful, or you might disagree based on your own experiences. At the end of the day it’s up to you to figure out what’s best for your own life. Whether or not you agree with anything I have to say, if I can get someone to think about the world just a little differently – even for a moment – I’m going to call that a “win.”
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.”