More Interfaith Relationships in Prime Time

For the second time this month, a comedy on Fox dealt with the subject of Jewish interfaith relationships. First it was “Family Guy,” where Lois Griffin found out that her mother was Jewish, meaning Lois and her husband, Peter, are now an intermarried couple. Then last Wednesday, the hit television show “Glee” had a subplot revolving around interfaith dating.

Noah Puckerman, the Mohawk sporting member of the glee club, explained during the episode (in a voice-over flashback) that he started dating Rachel, the other Jewish member of glee, because he had received a “message from God” one evening in a dream. Prior to going to bed that night, Noah and his family were celebrating Simchat Torah by eating Chinese food and watching “Schindler’s List.” As he was eating his “sweet and sour pork,” Noah’s mother turns to him and says, just after we hear gunshots of what we can assume were Nazi’s murdering Jews, “You’re no better than them, Noah. Why can’t you date a Jewish girl?”

So Noah does his best to force the issue. He doesn’t really like Rachel, but thinks that because both are Jewish, they have to date. It’s what God and his mother wants. When the relationship inevitably falls apart (because they both have eyes for others), Noah remarks, “Damn, I’m such a bad Jew,” and continues pursuing the Christian cheerleader.

Take away the hyperbole, and you’re left with the questions most Jewish teens grapple with while dating. Should I date only Jews, or date people who will make me happy? Obviously we don’t begrudge anyone who wants to date only Jews, but dating someone for only that reason is rarely a good idea. Those relationships lack one vital element - love. We believe a strong and meaningful Jewish family life can spring from finding a partner of any religious background who not only makes you happy, but is also willing to travel with you down a Jewish path.

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