Friday Night Lights

by Kelly under Relationships

A Reform girl and an Orthodox guy walk into a bar…

Don’t tell me you’ve heard this one before. Because I assure you, you have not. Last year, I went out with a guy who was 25, divorced, and Modern Orthodox. And then I went out with a guy who was 25, divorced, and Modern Orthodox. Yes, you are reading that right. Oh, and I should mention they went to the same college. Yes, you are reading this right.

25 – Perfect.
Divorced – At 25?
Modern Orthodox? Didn’t they see that I’m Reform on my profile? And how did I notice this on their JDate profile? I’m Reform. As Orthodox Guy #1 later told me, “You might as well be Christian.” Hello, I was Bat Mitzvahed! He might as well said, “you are never going to meet my parents.”
Two of them – Really, universe? Really?

Like most of the Reform Jewish kids I grew up with, I went to Hebrew school and JCC summer camp, was Bat Mitzvahed, went on Birthright, spent much of my adolescence wearing Juicy sweatpants and listening to Dave Matthews Band. That’s the only way I know how to be Jewish.

It wasn’t until one Saturday at sundown that it hit me just how different our versions of Judaism really are. I was doing that girl thing and getting annoyed that Orthodox Guy #2 wasn’t responding to my texts. It had been about a day. Then around 6 pm that night he started texting me back. Earth to Kelly – his phone was off. Off because he was busy observing shabbat. Shabbat because he’s Modern Orthodox. What was I doing when I got his texts? Blow drying my hair, listening to music, and texting my friends.

It never dawned on me that I would have to consider religious differences on JDate. First of all, neither of these guys gave away their denomination on their profiles. And not to mention, all three times I’ve fallen in love was with Catholic guys. I didn’t think this would be an issue on JDate. The universe or God or maybe just my luck clearly wanted to make a point. And trust me, it did. I now try to avoid dating anyone much more religious than myself. Because as I learned – twice – some Jews prefer a total Shabbat shutdown, and some of us like our Friday night lights.

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!

Star Trek: The Search for Judaism Part 1

by JewishFactFinder under Entertainment,JFacts,Judaism
Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock

Photo Date: 1966 Photo by Ken Whitmore - All Rights Reserved, 1978 Ken Whitmore - Image courtesy

In light of the current J.J. Abrams cinematic reboot of the Star Trek franchise, the JFacts team decided to dig a little deeper and see what impact Jewish people have had on this ever-evolving cultural phenomenon. First and foremost, you should know that three members of Star Trek: The Original Series (or TOS in geekier circles) are, in fact, Jewish.

William Shatner as Captain James Tiberius Kirk

Before negotiating the terms of air travel and hotel stays for, Shatner negotiated through space and time as Captain of the USS Enterprise. Born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Shatner’s grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Poland and Hungry. Shatner’s grandfather was born Wolf Schattner and later anglicized the family name to Shatner. After the initial 1966-69 run of Star Trek, Shatner reprised the role of James Kirk in seven subsequent Star Trek films,starred as the title role in T.J. Hooker and won an Emmy for his performance as attorney Denny Crane in Boston Legal.

Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock

Leonard Nimoy was born in 1931 in Boston, Massachusetts to Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrants from Izyaslav, Ukraine. After starring in over 50 television and film roles, Nimoy was cast as Mr. Spock in Star Trek and received three Emmy nominations for playing the complicated half-human, half-Vulcan character. Nimoy would go on to star in seven subsequent Star Trek film adaptations, including 2009’s Star Trek, and directtwo of the films, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and the most successful of the original film adaptations, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Nimoy also directed the 1986 hit comedy Three Men and Baby starring Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg.

Walter Koenig as Pavel Checkov

Koenig was born in 1936 in Chicago, Illinois to Jewish immigrants from Russia who upon coming to the United States shortened their last name from Konigsberg to Koenig. Koenig was added to the cast of Star Trek because of his resemblance to The Monkees star Davy Jones, in an attempt to woo a younger audience. The character was also added because of an article in Pravda (the central publication of the Soviet Union), which complained about the lack of Russians in Star Trek. After the run of the initial television series, Koenig rejoined the cast of Star Trek for six subsequent films and was a frequent cast member n the TV series Babylon 5. Koening stood as best men for Trek cast mate George Takei (Sulu) in his highly-publicized 2008 wedding to Brad Altman.

The Vulcan Salute

One of the most famous lines in Star Trek is the Vulcan salutation, “Live long and prosper,” which is usually accompanied by a hand salute with an extended thumb and a v-shape made by spreading the index and ring fingers. This salute was created by Leonard Nimoy on the fly during the filming of the first episode of the second season of Star Trek: The Original Series. Nimoy felt there should be a distinct greeting amongst Vulcans, something akin to a handshake, so he adopted a gesture similar to what was used in the synagogue he attended as a youth. The Jewish gesture he co-opted for Star Trek is half of the original blessing used by the kohanim, whom are genealogical descendents of Jewish priests from the Jerusalem Temple. The true blessing used for Jewish worship uses both hands. As the Vulcan salute seeped into pop culture, many incorrectly assumed it was a tip of the hat to the hippie culture that arose around the same time. It was not until much later when Nimoy revealed the secret of the salute, that its Jewish origins were made public.