While there has been some interest in interfaith marriage in the land of Israel (mostly with lots of political overtones between Arabs and Jews, like the film “Forbidden Marriages in the Holy Land”), little has been said or written about interfaith dating and marriage for Israelis who have moved to the United States and Canada (and other countries). And while we know many of the challenges that face North American Jews as they contemplate interfaith marriage—including the stop/start of a relationship (what I call “an interrupted relationship”), we don’t know a great deal about the introspections that take place. Recently, Jewsweek invited an Israeli who dated someone who isn’t Jewish to reflect on that issue.
I didn’t care that he [Chris] wasn’t Jewish. I was too impressed by his maturity, intelligence, and interest in me as a person, thinker and artist…I view myself as a “Jew” to the extent that I embrace the positive, ethical and life-giving values of my tradition…However, being born “Jewish” does not give anyone metaphysical or innate holiness or virtue. That Chris wasn’t racially “Jewish” doesn’t make him less worthy to date or marry me.
In the end, she decided to move back to Israel: “Chris and I are still in touch, but ultimately we know that a long-term relationship is a mute prospect. Chris appreciates my vision more so than many of my Jewish friends, but he loves Los Angeles.” But for the many Israelis that decide to stay here, intermarriage is no less of an issue than it is for Jews who were born here.
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