Dear Rabbi Singer,
Both my parents are very liberal and don’t have much, if any, religious affiliation. However, I decided that Judaism is the right way of life and have considered myself a Jew for the longest time. I intend to perpetuate it by raising Jewish kids and having a Jewish home. Unfortunately, many Jews I know view me as incomplete when they compare me to themselves, which was not an issue and nothing my over-confident character couldn’t handle.
However, I recently got into a relationship that lasted four months with a lovely Jewish girl I met on JDate. We had a lot of compatibility in many different aspects. She was a member of Chabbad back in college, and I thought she would be the perfect woman who would help me to raise a Jewish home.
On the contrary, my liberal mindedness (and being the son of a non-Jewish father) put her and her family in a lot of distress. Even though I made many sacrifices, and went as far as signing up for Talmud lessons, that still didn’t cut it. It left me upset and shattered for a while and made me realize how complicated my dilemma is; being attracted to conservative Jewish women from families way more religiously involved than mine, who therefore might not be interested in me.
-Looking For Religious Love
Dear Looking For Religious Love,
As an orthodox rabbi, I can tell you (and anyone else who needs to know) that according to Jewish law you are 100% Jewish based on the fact that your mother is Jewish. Period. Unfortunately, you have no control over how other people view you. All you can do is find a woman who appreciates and loves you for who you are, not who she wishes you would be. She’s out there, I have no doubt.
In your letter you assume that your break up with the woman you really connected with was because your “liberal mindedness (and being the son of a non-Jewish father) put her and her family in a lot of distress.”
So, was it you or your father that was the problem here? If they couldn’t deal with your parental situation, then there’s nothing you can do. But if it was your “liberal mindedness,” then that’s something that you need to think about and decide who you really are and what kind of woman you need to “be yourself” with in a relationship.
The fact that you made the “sacrifice” to sign up for a Talmud class (or some other Jewish practice) didn’t work, and shouldn’t have worked, because it wasn’t who you really wanted to be. You were being a FAKE. Someone who really wants to be more Jewishly connected or observant won’t view taking a Talmud class as a sacrifice! Your girlfriend saw right through you and into your soul, and she just wasn’t interested in what she saw. That doesn’t mean you are lacking or deficient. It just means you weren’t the right guy for her.
So, like I said, stop focusing so much on Dad and start figuring out who YOU are and how YOU want to lead your life. Then find the woman who will accept you for who you are right now, as is.
Best of luck,