Although Valentine’s Day is not a Jewish holiday, it is celebrated in one way or another by many. For this reason, JTA columnist Edmon J. Rodman wrote a Valentines Day article offering an explanation as to why so many in the Jewish community date and marry people of other religious backgrounds. Jewish people, it seems, are just too darn attractive. Jewish actors were recently named to the top of two different “desirability” lists (Emmanuelle Chriqui in Askmen.com and Jake Gyllenhaal in People Magazine), and our history is filled with stories of irrepressible urges towards Jews (Potiphar and Joseph, King Ahasuerus and Esther).
Rodman argues it’s not just about physical attraction, though. The fact that Jewish culture puts such a high standard on education, generosity, and charity could also be what attracts people to us. “Giving freely — not just with money, but with emotions, actions and words — that’s what I think is fanning the flames,” he writes. While much of the article might be in jest, Rodman poses an interesting question at the end of the piece: “Now that you know that a non-Jew may want to hand you a Valentine, how will you respond?”
If he is right, and people are truly attracted to the morals and ethics of Judaism and not just our Hollywood looks, then our answer would be: accept the Valentine. It’s not our fault we are part of a religion that is so open, welcoming and inclusive. And if people are indeed taking the step towards us, who are we to turn them away?