I’ve been processing two conversations I had recently and haven’t completely figured out what I want to say… first I’ll give you the conversations and then my mixed up thoughts.
Girlfriend: After I started realized how much I love cycling, I decided the guy needed to be a cyclist or Jewish. One or the other. I wasn’t going to hold out for both, but he had to share one of those things with me. Then I met my boyfriend and he’s Jewish, but very supportive of all the time I spend on trails and on two wheels.
Him: Can I ask you a question about Israel?
Me (completely prepared to go on the defensive): Yes.
Him: Innocuous question about Israel.
Me (relieved beyond belief): Goofy answer about Israel.
After conversation one, I went home and wondered “what is my other? He needs to be Jewish OR what?” I don’t have some sort of amazing physical hobby that I can do where I meet guys to date. I mean… do I even have hobbies anymore? Is my hobby organizing Jewish events like Comedy, Q’s and A’s and TBD Minyan? Does that mean he needs to be Jewish or Jewish?
After conversation two, I woke up the next morning upset that my immediate reaction to being asked permission to ask a question about Israel is that I bristle. I say yes, but I’m prepared for fighting questions. A fight I know that I’m under-prepared for. And I’m upset that I’m relieved that the question isn’t a hard political question about Israel.
Here’s the thought… I’m not sure that dating only Jewish men is worth it for me anymore. I’m slipping past the age when I wanted to have kids of my own and I do a fine job of taking care of my own religious needs by building Jewish communities, studying, going to Israel regularly.
I’m frustrated it’s so hard for me to talk about Israel with someone new, especially if I’m not 100% certain of his politics. I’m frustrated from the constant evaluation of Jewish enough, too Jewish or “not a real Jew” when I talk to single Jewish guys. I’m ready to throw punches when men tell me my conversion isn’t valid or that I’m not observant enough to consider dating. Some of you will say, “why do you care what those people think,” and I’ll say, “I’m attracted to some of those people.”
And I’m frustrated that from the wide array of ways relationships can start and things people can talk about, I’ve gotten stuck on single issues. “Is he Jewish? If he isn’t, will he date a Zionist?” I’ve had a lot of fun talking with the guy from conversation #2 and telling him stories I never tell anymore (and one from Japan that I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone).
I guess I need a hobby that doesn’t involve Judaism or a computer… I’ll find one after I get back from Israel where I’m going to attend a conference where we’ll talk about what it means to be Jews, what Israel means to us and what we can do in the Jewish world. Where I’ll be working on my novel about becoming a Jew or maybe I’ll write down that story from Japan that I never tell anyone.