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March 25, 1988 - Image 117

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-03-25

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

'SINGLE LIFE

'

0

ti 01111(1

London's Jewish
singles are
up against the
same challenges
as their
American
counterparts

IIE ddy Brooker is 23 and
works in his family's fur-
nishing business. His
background is impeccab-
ly Orthodox. His father
was a refugee from the Nazis, his
mother, born in England of German
parents and, having gone to live in
Holland, ended the war in Bergen
Belsen, so he believes his family life
gives him a strong sense of security.
Eddy is emphatic about certain
fundamentals. "Though I want to
marry and settle down, I could never
consider setting up home with a girl
without marriage, like so many
people do these days."
So where does Eddy go to look for
friendship?
"When I was about 17 I started
going out with other boys to places
like Maccabi. We played table tennis
and mixed generally with both sexes.
You could always date a girl, go for
coffee or a movie.. There were other
Jewish youth clubs I tried, but I never
found a girl friend for longer than a
few weeks, but I like to play the field.
I've been out with non-Jewish girls
from college. Somehow they are not so
demanding as the Jewish ones, but I
know when the time comes, because
the principles of Judaism are impor-
tant to me, I will find a Jewish girl.
I really believe my family would cut
me off if I settled for someone outside
the faith, even if she were to convert.
Because of . what happened to my
parents in the war, I feel strongly that
we should not decimate our people."
The search for compatibility and
bonding within a common religious
faith has been the goal of most Jewish
parents in England for their offspring
and largely, since the end of the Sec-

,

Greenwich
Good Time

■ 1111111 ■ 1111=11•11111111111

FRANCES ULLMAN

Special to The Jewish News

and World War, this has seemed an
elusive quest. There has been a
gradual drift into assimilation by the
young, in spite of counter-attractions
by religious organizations,
synagogues, Lonely Hearts columns,
and the ever-expanding number of
Jewish marriage bureaus which
claim to offer "large multi-age
registers?'
The ranks of the unattached have
been swollen dramatically by the
spate of divorces in the last 20 to 30
years, so that singles are now com-
prised of the young, age 18-25, the

larger middle years group of 26 to 40
and numbers of mature singles of 50
plus, with numerous retired people
over 65 who are still seeking
friendship.
The actual number of singles in
the London area is difficult to assess,
but thought to be in excess of 25,000
and though there are events advertis-
ed in the Jewish press, those concern-
ed are only lukewarm towards the at-
tractions offered, whether cultural,
artistic, social or recreational — par-
ticularly bridge, an increasingly
popular game in the community.

Sport available includes tennis,
weight-lifting, aerobics, dancing, disco
or traditional, but people tend to go
along to an evening a couple of times,
find they don't like the types they
meet, and drift away. A one-to-one
date might lead to a situation of "your
place or mine" for one night, and then
the round begins again.
One woman who sought, and
eventually found, friendship through
socializing within the Jewish com-
munity was Shirley Miller, who was
widowed at the age of 32. She had a
six-year-old son and was left comfort-
ably provided for in an attractive
home with a supportive family close
by.
"For a few years," says Shirley,
"my life centered on my little boy. I
was devastated by my husband's ear-
ly death and knew that he would have
wanted the best for our son. I concen-
trated on his education and wanted
him to be bar mitzvah. My parents
and friends soon started trying to ar-
range for me to meet men, but
nothing seemed to work, and I tend-
ed to drift."
Shirley knew she was too young
to join the ranks of widows like her
aunts and their friends, but did not
know how to go about changing her
life.
"Our local synagogue holds
socials two or three times a year. I
resisted to begin with but eventually
started going along with my parents.
It actually helped by joining the
Ladies' Guild and preparing suppers
and entertainment. At one of these
evenings around the time of
Chanukah I met a nice young man,
a bachelor, about five or six years
younger than me. He was shy and I

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

109

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