And like me, Lianne believed modern orthodox Jewish men would be more likely to want to marry and have children, which is what she and I both yearned for.And like me, as Lianne reached her late thirties, still single and childless, she began to reconsider her more observant lifestyle when she found fewer men who were not put off by her career as a successful internist and/or men she found at her level of sophistication and worldliness.This information was pounded in from all directions, from rabbis, from my parents, my grandparents, Hebrew High School, Camp Ramah.I felt the pressure: The future of my people was at stake! The school was arty, musical, nerdy, and had a substantial Jewish population. Even though I no longer felt outside the norm, I still had trouble getting dates … Every Jewish woman I asked out on a date rejected me.As a result, many of our Jewish leaders and even major philanthropists are finding that their grandchildren are not necessarily being raised Jewishly.
Historically, since the Rabbinic period (post 70 CE), Jewish status was passed down by the mother. A child of a Jewish mother is Jewish, even if the father is not.When any of them visit, our Shabbat talk inevitably turns to the people they are dating and how difficult it is to find a nice Jewish guy with whom to start a Jewish family and raise Jewish children.One unpartnered friend, a rabbi, actually flew to Israel for in vitro fertilization and is now pregnant. "But since I'm getting older and haven't found a soul-mate yet, I'm going to start my own family." These Jewishly involved single women could have other options, but those aren't sanctioned by the Jewish community. It is time to remove the stigma from dating and marrying non-Jewish men.I resolved that I would only go out with Jewish girls. I attributed this to the fact that I was kind of nerdy: My extra-curricular activities included musical theater, video games, and Dungeons & Dragons, not exactly the types of things that made a guy popular with the ladies. I had numerous opportunities, on the other hand, to date non-Jewish women.In high school, this decision proved to be mostly moot. I tried not to follow up on them at first, but I was frustrated and lonely and had finite willpower.