This was my ulterior motive when I planned a trip up to New England.
I was planning to stay with a friend from college for a few days, but I also arranged to meet Alicia, whom I’d known online for five years by that point but had never met in person.
She was also unbendingly ethical, deeply scholarly, and emotionally supportive—virtues I’d always believed essential in a prospective girlfriend or wife.
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We would chat with each other online virtually every day while I was in college, and even after I graduated. Before long the site gave me a listing of potential Jewish candidates.
Though I was excited by these possibilities at first, the resulting dates could best be compared to episodes.
It was the day I’d long hoped for, marrying a nice Jewish girl. In fact, by the time we’d started dating, I’d given up on Jewish women, and my dream of a perfect Jewish wedding, altogether. The intense pressure I felt to date and marry within the tribe damaged my perception of Jewish women and my ability to be myself around them.
This information was pounded in from all directions, from rabbis, from my parents, my grandparents, Hebrew High School, Camp Ramah.
23, 2009, on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. *** Soon after my bar mitzvah, just as I was discovering my interest in the opposite sex, I began to be bombarded with information about intermarriage—about how one in every two Jewish people would marry a non-Jew and how more than half of the children of those unions would not be raised Jewish.