150 Seder Tables Ago

by Haley Plotnik under Judaism,Single Life

On Sunday, I went to my first event for Jewish young professionals. It was through a program in the Chicago area, and we went to the Oriental Institute at UChicago. I highly recommend seeing it if you like art history or archaeology. During the tour, something that came up struck a chord with me.

The tour guide referred back to an event that happened about 3,000 years ago.  “That was 120-150 Seder tables ago,” she said. It made me realize that all of the rich Jewish history that has been passed down for generations hangs gently in the balance. My grandparents and parents wouldn’t have dreamed of marrying outside the faith. But nowadays, a lot of people I know don’t really care whether they preserve the Jewish culture or religion.

Do we owe it to our father’s mother’s father’s father’s father’s mother to keep the tradition alive? I feel like I do. Family is about more than the individual, and Judaism is too. During my formative years, I was heavily immersed in Judaism. I started my education at a Jewish pre-school. Before I could read, I could recite the five books of Moses.

I recently went on a few dates with a guy who was very Jew-friendly, but not Jewish. He said he wanted to raise children without any religion. The museum and discontinuing dating this guy made me realize that I feel compelled to pass on the tradition. I can’t see raising kids without a Seder table. Being Jewish not only enriched me, but it gave me strength as a child and continues to do so in my adulthood. I think I owe it to my ancestors, and my children, to pass it on.


by JeremySpoke under Relationships,Success Stories

When I die, which will be sometime, all that’s left of me will be the memory of how much of a jerk I was. My eulogy will consist of stories about that time I stole that chocolate milk, and that time I hit my friend in the head and then locked him in the closet. It will be a beautiful service.

I think that people start families so that not only will they be seen as good people with family values, but also if they’re horrible, they can produce people with their spouse that are only genetically half the jerks they are. If you’re a jerk, you will probably stay alone forever and die. However, if you’re lucky enough to find someone, not only will you extend your legacy to another generation, but you won’t die alone.

I didn’t think about any of this when I met my permanent lady friend. I say ‘permanent lady friend’ because if I use the actual word for ‘woman I am going to marry’, I have to use that accent over the ‘e’, and that takes forever. Meeting her, and our relationship up to this point, has been much more organic than deliberate. I am the oldest of three, and I am glad that finally by age 29, I found someone to spend the rest of my life with, and perhaps extend my genes.

However, I have to take things step by step. I must go shower.

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Dating a Daddy with a Daughter

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

My girlfriend Joanna is dating a guy I know who is a divorcee who has full custody of his daughter. His daughter is his life — as it should be — he was born to be a father and wants to continue having children even if it means continuing to be a single Dad. The only problem with this guy is that he brings nearly every woman he dates around his daughter even before the relationship has become serious. As a woman, how do you act around a young girl who has seen many women come and go? Luckily the girl is sweet as can be and obviously resilient. She is slightly uninterested at first, as expected and after meeting the same woman a few times she will remember her name and will even play, but she definitely has her guard up. This little girl is wise beyond her years.

Many women will think that meeting a man’s daughter means things are serious, but if he wants you to meet her after just one date, I would suggest you tell him that you’d rather wait because it almost seems as if he’s using her as a pawn. I understand he has full custody, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Try to wait until you’ve had The Talk if you can and then once you do meet her, bring a small gift, ask her questions and try to find something to do as a group. Don’t engage in affection with her father in front of her. Try to imagine if you were the single parent and how protective you would be about bringing a new love interest around your child. Take it slow. There’s really no need to meet someone’s child until after you’ve become serious, so don’t.

The Baby Test

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

Bringing a date around babies is a great test to see what kind of instinct they have. Bringing a date around pets is another good way. If your date doesn’t want to hold the baby or pet the animal, then you’ll need to question why. That is, if you want to have babies or pets in your future (if you don’t then it’s a perfect match!). But most people are looking for a family of some kind in their future, and finding someone with a natural instinct and comfort around babies and animals is important. So once you get to the point of having to decide whether you want to get serious with someone, take them around your friends who are already settled down and see what their vibe is in a house with 2 kids and a dog.

My First Day of Kindergarten

by JeremySpoke under Relationships

If you ever feel that you are the odd one out at your place of work, consider this: You might feel awkward, but before you pre-diagnose yourself the black sheep, remember that no matter how awkward you feel the first day of work, it is nowhere near what I felt as a teaching assistant on the first day of kindergarten in an inner-city school.

Work technically started last week, but I didn’t really get a good taste of awkward until Monday (yesterday), when the children arrived. As I am not accustomed to areas not conditioned by air, it only got worse as the children flooded in. I found myself standing in a sea of very tiny children, dripping in sweat, simultaneously trying to tell the kids where to go and also trying to not die of dehydration. The next part of the day took place in the actual classroom, and it was air conditioned, thank my Jewish deity. However, I was still so overcome by the heat that my sweat continuously dripped onto the poor children until the next hour, when I had enough time to change clothes.

Then came lunch. Of course, I didn’t get to eat until after the children did. While manning the lunchroom, I quickly discovered the reason why America is obese. The answer lies somewhere in the giant hot dog, bowl of melted cheese sprinkled with broccoli, chocolate milk, and ice cream sundae for dessert. Though I would usually not be tempted by public school lunches, I had yet to eat my own lunch. Those under-cooked hot dogs lying in a stale bun, overcome with ketchup, was maybe the most delicious looking thing I had seen since I saw the school’s breakfast, which I will not disgust you by describing. I will only say that it involved sausage, cheese, and scrambled eggs mixed together in a way nothing should ever be mixed.

Though it’s only been one day, I have a new respect for teachers and really anyone who works in schools. I’d say about 67% of the women on this site that I date are teachers and I now think of them in a whole new way. It is not a cushy job and it requires all of your attention all of the time. The least I can do is show a little attention myself.

So now I’m back home from my first day of kindergarten. I will never again take clean sheets for granted again.

Dating Without a Baby Daddy

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

Dear Tamar,

I am divorced and with a child of my own that I adopted as an infant.  When I meet men they always start asking so many questions about his father (they don’t know he is adopted) and about his upbringing.  What is their motive?  Why do they keep trying to get into my son’s life?  How do I answer them and get them thinking about us and not my son.

Dear Dating Without a Baby Daddy,

Your JDate profile says that you are divorced and that you have a child, so it bears some explanation that the two are not connected. I think you should make mention that you adopted your son as a single mother in the About Me portion of your profile, but also state that you’re looking for someone who is a mate to you first and foremost. Once you meet your dates and they start asking questions, politely say that you want to get to know each other first before bringing your son into the equation. You may get a response such as “well, isn’t your son a part of you?” and that’s a good point. You can answer yes, but don’t get defensive, and then give a quick rundown as to your history and change the subject. Your son, and the decision and process of adoption, are a huge part of your life. Can a guy really get to know you without that information?

39 & Out of Time?

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

Dear Tamar,

I am turning 39 next week and am feeling increasingly depressed about it.  It seems men only want to date women up to around age 32, judging by the profiles I have read.  One went so far as to confirm why: He wants kids.  Ugh.  I recently dated a guy who was several years younger than I, and he had serious concerns about my ability to have children, and I felt pressured about having a timeline.  These concerns were discussed at only 7 weeks into our relationship, which he admitted was off to a pretty great start with this little exception.  What am I supposed to do?  I’m a great person! I wasn’t expecting to be single at 39, but it happened.

Dear 39 & Out of Time,

I don’t think most women your age expect to still be single, but this generation is seeing people marrying older and older and starting their families in their 40s. Are you as open minded as you’re asking men to be? Meaning — are you open to dating and marrying an older man? If you’re dating men several years younger then make sure you’re also dating men several years olde; be an equal opportunity dater.

I don’t think 7 weeks in is so early to be discussing children. By 2 months in you should know if the relationship is moving forward or not. If the guy really liked you it wouldn’t have mattered about your ability to bear children. It’s well documented that it’s more difficult to get pregnant after 35 so any educated man is going to be curious as to your desire to have children — not that you have any control over your ability to do so. That said, if a man in his early 30’s is so concerned than why is he even bothering you to begin with?

Concentrate on meeting who you can online and then try going to some JDate events so you can meet people in person where you won’t get systematically eliminated based on your age before you even meet.

The Children Choice

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

Dear Tamar,

I met a man in February and we clicked immediately. He actively pursued me, but we were not officially exclusive, although neither of us were dating anyone else. I noticed that on his profile he stated that he wanted children (he’s 50 years old). I already have kids and don’t want any more so I told him I’m the wrong person to be with if he still wants kids. His response? He doesn’t want to give up on the chance. So I told him that if he wants to meet a woman who would bear him children that is fine, but that we can’t see each other anymore. It was a month before we saw each other again and we’re now both confused. He says he’s been dumb because he really likes me but still feels he might want kids. By the way, this man is very successful, he’s never been married and his longest relationship was a year. I think I should walk away, but I also think we have something special. He agrees, but he still might want kids! What should I do?

Dear Children Choice,

Wow, this is a toughie at first glance, but I think I can simplify it for you. You have children, you don’t want to have any more children, you need to find someone who also doesn’t want any more children. He doesn’t have children, he may want children, so he needs to find someone who may also want children. It’s actually a black and white situation. If he’s not comfortable and willing to give up on the idea of children, then you need to give up on the idea of him and move on. In his JDate profile, you admit he checked “Yes” regarding “Do You Plan On Having Children?”  so you can’t say you weren’t forewarned.  You may have chemistry and great conversation, but this is a huge life decision he needs to make on his own. You wouldn’t want to marry this man just to have him approach you in five years and tell you that he has this empty space in his heart that only a biological child can fill. Better to find out now. Also, his relationship history concerns me. I’m sure he has worked really hard to become successful, but to be 50 years old and to not have had a relationship last longer than a year is suspect. You saw the signals, I’m hanging the red flags from them and telling you what you already knew but needed to hear from someone else — forget about this guy and find someone who’s a better fit for you. Just make sure they check “No” in the children column. Good Luck!

Autistic Child

by GemsFromJen under JBloggers,Online Dating,Relationships

Dear Gems from Jen,

My 10-year-old is autistic.  He requires someone who has patience and understanding. Even if someone likes my profile, they’re likely to bolt after learning about my special needs child. Also, tending to my son’s needs leaves me with very little free time for dating.

Any suggestions?

Dear Special Needs Parent,

It takes a very special person to raise an autistic child. Your job is challenging yet incredibly rewarding. It also takes a very special person to know when to take some personal time, which is just as important.  Content parents tend to have happy, fulfilled children. My suggestion is to be honest in your profile. Be sure to include your child as part of what you have to offer as a potential partner. Let the reader know how important your child is and what kind of attention he requires.  Your child and you are a package deal.  Anyone who cannot understand that is definitely not worth getting to know.  There are JDaters® out there who are patient, understanding and willing to stick around.

Gems from Jen

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At a Cross Roads

by GemsFromJen under JBloggers,Relationships

Dear Gems from Jen,

I have been with my male partner for 16 years now. We have children together and we love each other deeply. I’ve always been attracted to women, though, but have suppressed those feelings for years. Recently, these feelings bubbled up to the surface when I fell for my female friend. I never told her about my crush and I am not in complete shock about my feelings. What should I do? My partner knows about my feelings and is allowing me to explore them further. But I just do not know where to begin!

Dear At A Cross Roads,

You are very lucky to have such an understanding partner. My first suggestion is to consider whatever decision you make very carefully.  Your male partner is accepting of these feelings now; however, once you allow these feelings to completely come to the surface your partner may not be so understanding. Are you willing to walk away from him? Bringing a third party into the relationship will most certainly change the dynamic between the two of you. What happens if you fall in love with your female friend? What happens if your partner is no longer so accepting? What happens if your female friend does not reciprocate these feelings? What happens if your female friend does reciprocate your feelings? What will happen with your children? These are just some of the questions you might consider asking yourself before you go and explore what it is you are feeling. This is where you begin. I do believe we need to be true to ourselves, but there are serious considerations before you go and discover your truth. Somehow, someway, suppressed feelings will inevitably re-surface. You are now learning this lesson.


Gems from Jen

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