The Dating Game
Jewish or not is the underlying question on campus.
Special to the Jewish News
University junior Ben
Mitchell is not oblivi-
ous to the nudzhing he
has been getting from his family to
date someone Jewish.
"There's not a single person in
my family who hasn't hinted or flat
out told me I should be dating a
Jewish woman," he. said.
But the relationships he has been
in that he considers long-term have
not been with Jewish women, not
just because he attends a school
where there aren't an abundance of
Jewish students, he said, but because
of his priorities.
"My priority is what the other
person feels about how they want to
live the rest of their life — it's not
so much what they think, it's what
my kids would think, how we would
together bring them up," he said.
For many college students, the
question of whom they date is relat-
ed to their long--term goals. And
while that does not mean college
students are necessarily contemplat-
ing marriage or that religious obser-
vance is the only factor in who stu-
dents decide to date, Mitchell said,
students are looking at the big pic-
ture and that kind of discussion
just comes up.
"After a relationship spans over a
year, you begin to talk about these
things, just in conversation," he
said. "You can't ask someone that
before you start dating them. You
just get a feel for how that person is,
how flexible or tightly bound they
are to their religion from just those
For Michigan State University soph-
omore Rachel Zuckman of
Farmington Hills, religion is a
prime consideration when deciding
whom to date. "It's something I
look for. It's one of those things
that's very important to me," she
She added that growing up,
bringing home someone not Jewish
just wasn't an option.
"I've always been raised in a
Conservative [Jewish] home where
that was kind of the law of the land
-- actually it is the law of the land:
You don't bring somebody home
who isn't Jewish," she said.
The decision to look for a reli-
gious match in a relationship isn't
something she said she sees as a lim-
itation. "My parents raised me a cer-
tain way and that's how I choose to
live my life," Zuckman said.
But not all of her Jewish friends
choose to date other Jews, a choice
that is definitely up to the individ-
ual, she said. "It's their choice to
date whoever they want and I'm not
going to judge them. However, I'm
going to make an extra effort to
make sure I date someone who's
Jewish," she said.
Zuckman has noticed a trend
among her Jewish friends who are
involved in interfaith relationships.
"A lot of them ... it's something they
wish was different about the person
they're dating but it's not going to
change the fact of whether they're
dating them or not," she said.
Zuckman's decision to "date
Jewish" has not limited her social
interactions. "It's not like I go
around asking people if they're
Jewish — I'm not going to do that.
If it comes up in conversation, that's
fine, but every day I'm not looking
for someone to date."
Also raised in a Conservative
Jewish family but with a different
take on the dating scene, University
of Michigan senior Jason Harris said
while he feels it is important to
marry someone Jewish, he does not
feel it is as critical to date only Jews
while in college.
The 20-year-old from Oak Park
does not think daring on college
campuses is generally done with
marriage in mind. Those kinds of
considerations come a few years
after school, but he said there can
be benefits to dating other Jewish
"When you're married to some-
one, there's Jewish cultural and
philosophical connections," he said.
"I think dating someone who's
Jewish has the same benefits but the
stakes are lower because you don't
have to-worry about kids or the
commitment of marriage."
Harris added that it would be
easier t6 date other Jewish students
if there were more ways to meet
people that did not feel as forced.
"I think the biggest thing is to
create more Jewish events that don't
focus on being Jewish — it creates
the exclusiveness of being Jewish,"
he said. He likes bar nights and
hayrides that create situations where
people can get to know each other
without using dating services or
other means that feel strained or
"I don't think they've found a
successful way for Jewish students to
meet one another in a way where it's
comfortable to start meeting," he
said. "I don't think we've found a
good way for replacing the match-
making system for the Jewish-mar-
rying-age population yet." ❑
For college age through 30-
something. This calendar is
published the second and fourth
Fridays of the month.
Dec. 15 Sunday, 6 p.m. Adat
Shalom Young Adult Chavurah
will meet at the home of Jeremy
and Beth Kahn, 702 Louis,
Royal Oak. RSVP: Jeremy Kahn,
(248) 544-6433, or David
Goodman, (248) 788-0309.