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January 16, 1987 - Image 87

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-01-16

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

with Jews in his line of work, and reli-
gion has never been a key criterion for
him in dating. While he was involved
in two relationships with non-Jewish
women, "when push came to shove I
wouldn't let myself get closely in-
volved," he said. "I'm not exceptionally
practicing, but I know myself and my
heritage."
He said the prohibition against
dating non-Jews is "just ingrained.
There is a definite difference about
you. It is somewhere in your upbring-
ing. But that's not to say I won't fall
madly in love with a non-Jew tomor-
row."
Larry M. has never dated outside
his religion and said he never would.
"It's something that's been imbedded
in me by my family," he said. He said
he feels there is too much of a dif-
ference in upbringing between Jews
and non-Jews and that the two groups
have opposite priorities.
But Larry said he feels that
Jewish men are looking for non-
Jewish women because "they aren't
interested in furs, Cadillacs, jewelry
and gold. Not all Jewish guys are pro-
fessionals — doctors, lawyers,
engineers," he said. "These guys feel a
lot of financial pressure from the
Jewish girls who are looking for some-
thing (materialistic) right away."
He added that many Jewish
women these days are more indepen-
dent and career oriented than prev-
iously, and that some of them have
higher positions than many Jewish
men. He also blames parental pressure
to achieve more than they (parents)
have.
A.C., a Jewish male who grew up
in a Midwestern non-Jewish
neighborhood, finds that "West
Bloomfield area" Jewish women have
been handed everything on a silver
platter and that they expect a husband
to provide them with the same com-
forts they have been accustomed to.
"It's a materialistic society," he said.
"Now and then, in a couple of rare in-
stances, there are people who aren't
that materialistic. What's a guy to do?
I think that as people mature, though,
their values change and they become
more realistic," he said.
A.C. said he feels that Jews date
non-Jews because they don't find what
they are looking for in the Jewish
population via singles parties, etc.,
and want to enlarge the possibilities
on whom to date.
"I never saw problems in dating
non-Jews," he said. "I probably have
dated 60 percent non-Jews and 40 per-
cent Jews. I'm meeting a lot more Jews
now that I'm in Michigan."
He said he thinks it's unfortunate

s

that people date only Jews and turn
themselves off to the rest of the world,
but added that "you can meet non-
Jews anyplace you can also meet
Jews."
Karen S. rarely dates non-Jews. "I
don't believe in it," she said. "I don't go
out of my way to meet or date non-
Jews. I have enough problems with the
Jewish ones. The non-Jews I have
dated are professional men I've met
through work.
"I have a lot of friends who have
been married to non-Jews, are now di-
vorced, and want only Jewish dates.
There are a lot of problems," she said.

we do that then we're not serious about
the commitment the Jewish people
made to God thousands of years ago,"
she said.
"Pretty soon, there aren't going to
be any Jews left," she said. "The Re-
form rabbis have to stop marrying in-
terfaith couples. That will put a stop to
it. No rabbi should marry a couple un-
less the gentile partner converts. (By
marrying interfaith couples) the rab-
bis are saying it's okay. But it's not
okay," she said. "Jewish girls can't get
Jewish guys anymore because they are
marrying non-Jewish girls."
Lynn T. agrees that these rabbis

`Jews who care about maintaining
their heritage, identity and the future
of the Jewish people should care
about marrying other Jews.'

"Some of these ex-wives have reverted
to the former religion, and these guys
are freaking out. Their kids are going
to catechism, living in non-Jewish
neighborhoods and don't know from
being Jewish.
"In other interfaith marriages I'm
familiar with, the kids are Jewish
Monday, Wednesday and Friday and
the rest of the week they are not. They
have a Christmas tree and a menorah.
But I've got news for you. These di-
vorced men have told me the non-
Jewish women were worse so-called
JAPS (Jewish American Princesses)
than the Jewish girls they had known.
"Yet I've had Jewish men tell me,
`You're Jewish? Forget it. You're a
JAP.' They have really hurt my feel-
ings."
Karen puts some blame for inter-
faith dating on parents. "If the kids are
in their late 20s or early 30s the par-
ents would like to see them marry a
Jew, but are relieved just to see them
get married. Also, it depends on the
home," she added. "Some didn't bring
their kids up anything, so why care?
Others just want their kids to get mar-
ried before they die."
Karen said that if she fell in love
with a non-Jew she'd have a real prob-
lem. She turns down dates with non-
Jews telling them she was born a Jew,
"and they'll stick me in the ground as a
Jew. •
"Six million didn't die so we could
become gentiles. (Interfaith dating/
marriage) is like spitting on their
graves — stomping on their graves. If

are not helping stem the problem of
interfaith marriages. "They are say-
ing it's all right to go out and take the
risk by officiating at interfaith wed-
dings." She said she thinks that as
community leaders, rabbis are sup-
posed to be held up to a higher
standard.
"In my job I have to be superhu-
man and perfect," she said. "I have to
be a leader. In effect, these rabbis are
saying, 'It's okay to date gentiles to-
day, and maybe tomorrow they'll all
convert.' "
Rabbi Marc S. Blumenthal, a
rabbi at Temple Beth El, said that one
argument against rabbis officiating at
interfaith marriages is that in doing so
they sanction them. "I don't feel there
is proof one way or the other," he said.
"Some rabbis do officiate, some of us
don't. I'm not sure, myself, that a rab-
bi's stance is going to have all that
much bearing on what people will do.
People are going to do what they're
going to do."
He said that if no rabbi would of-
ficiate at an interfaith marriage, the
parties would go to a justice of the
peace. "None of us are of the stature of
Moses that our pronouncements can be
taken as imperative dos and don'ts.
But what we can do is see that people
are educated and informed about
Jewish traditions and that it is a
Jewish tradition to be compassionate
and sensible when it comes to human
relations," he said. "And that we, as
rabbis, also have an obligation to be
sensible and compassionate."

While Rabbi Blumenthal does not
officiate at interfaith marriages, he
makes every effort to engage the
couple in non-judgemental and open
discussions of the issues involved.
Rev. Ernie Woolner, pastor of the
600 member Woodlawn Church of
God, a non-denominational fun-
damentalist church in Royal Oak, of-
ficiates at many marriage ceremonies
involving Jewish and non-Jewish
partners. "I hear from them after the
rabbi has said no, the priest has said
no, the. minister has said no and the
judge and mayor of Royal Oak have
said no because they don't officiate at
any weddings. They tell them to call
me. By this time they are almost des-
perate and nearly drop the receiver
when I ask them when they would like
to get married. They ask, 'Aren't you
going to ask us . . .???' But by the time I
see them they have already worked
out most of their problems.
"All of life is a problem," he said.
"There are problems in any marriage,
as you well know. But I've always been
a great believer in focusing on a solu-
tion. Someone has to compromise.
there is a solution. Each couple has to
find out what will work for them. Keep
your eyes on God and you have a blend-
ing. Keep your eyes on religion and
you don't have a solution. God unifies.
Religion separates. There is strength
in unity."
Rev. Woolner often jokes that his
congregation is the "church of the re-
jects" — they don't fit in anyplace else.
Some of the interfaith couples he mar-
ries join his congregation, which in-
cludes a number who think of them-
selves as Jews, who maintain Jewish
traditions and belong to Jewish organ-
izations, but believe in Jesus. Some
have fully Jewish spouses, some have
Christian spouses. "Each case is
different," Rev. Woolner added. "But
you can't compromise God." "I
won't compromise," said Lynn T. "I
have a very strong sense of Jewish
identity. It's easy to maintain who you
are if you know who are you." She said
that the decision to date non-Jews or
not has a lot to do with how observant
you are, and that parenting is an im-
portant influence; that parents must
imbue their children with the value of
being Jewish and raising your chil-
dren Jewish.
Lynn said her Jewish and non-
Jewish friends know that she will date
only Jews. She believes that Jews can
go to school, work and live with non-
Jews and draw the line at dating.
"The beauty of living in America is
the ability to enjoy others' cultures
and still retain your own. We value

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87

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