Saturday, September 17, 2011

Kidas Moshe ViYisroel

I have written on this topic in the past, but it bears reconsideration. 
Between 1996 and 2001, 47% of Jewish marriages were intermarriages.  These numbers are especially true amongst individuals with weaker ties to Judaism. Source 1.
 As my readers know, I see the observance of Judaism as a practice dictating every aspect of life.  This is especially true when it comes to marriage.   In the first years after I came out, I dated men who were not Jewish.  I ceased doing so when, one cold December 25th, a man I briefly dated greeted me with a “Merry Christmas.”   I realized then that, no matter how emotionally tied I might become to a non-Jew, bringing a non-Jewish husband home with me would be impractical.  Consider, by example, the fact that, under a strict interpretation of Halacha, I would be unable to share most wines with him.  Would I ask him to observe Shabbat for me? Kosher? Would I ask my friends and family to trust me that I kept my home to a strict standard or kashrut if he ate non-kosher out of the house or did not keep Shabbat? Why should I be the party in the relationship that asked the other to make such life altering concessions? Since then, I have extended this same logic to dating only Jews who are, at a minimum, orthodox-leaning.  I dated men who are less observant that I am, some for extended periods of time.  Each of these dalliances ended because, while I’m willing to compromise on many issues, I don’t feel right considering my religious observance something to be negotiated.  Should I be more progressive in my dating?  I don’t think so.  This question has been contentious between me and some of my closest friends who, over the past few months, have increasingly pressured me to lower my standards and date people who are non-Frum. 
It bothers me that some of my friends see homosexuality as an excuse to date outside of the faith or outside communities of observance.  It would be a rare circumstance indeed that the same advice or pressure would be bestowed upon a Frum straight man or woman.  Why should sexuality change that? For the larger half of a decade I have vigorously defended the truth that being gay changes little in the daily practicalities of observance.   Wouldn’t it be hypocritical of me to suddenly concede this point? 
I want to know what all of you think about this.  Whether you agree or disagree with me, why do you do so? If you are the family or friend of a gay Jew, how would you feel if she or she brought someone who isn’t religious home? What if that individual wasn’t Jewish? 

Source 1:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Benjy,
    I wanted to thank you for your post. As a close friend of a gay Orthodox Jew, I found this post particularly helpful in gaining insight into the dilemmas and conflicts my friend faces as he navigates through the dating world. And I'm sorry to say that I had to read your post to be able to truly realize challenge he faces and the frustration he must feel from time to time.

    I agree with the argument you put forth and I think it's a very important point that often goes unnoticed. As you said, why should sexuality change an individual's dating preferences in terms of religious observance or affiliation? I think your choice to date within the religious community and, more significantly, maintain the daily practicalities of observance speaks volumes to your strength and character. And I'm sure this kind of commitment to Judaism and personal integrity will not go unnoticed. Best of luck to you!