Friday, 20 March 2009


Hey guys, come in. Long time no see, I know, my apologies: but this relationship is a two way thing you know. Your comments get my posts. Ah, maybe that's just me trying to justify my absence, which has been rather long this time. In fact, it's been about 10 weeks long, the entire academic term of my university.

That's right, I study in a university in Britain (a fact I had tried to conceal initially, but I was just too proud to let go of British spellings in favour of American ones, even for the sake of my cover. Besides, who cares that much? Wow, those were long go back and read the sentence again whilst excluding the brackets so it makes sense!) and am going to graduate this year, all being well, with a decent grade.

I would like to turn up to my own graduation ceremony, it's one of those things in life. Perhaps contrary to popular American belief, in every day life the modern British populace do not go around in black gowns and tasseled hats whilst clutching scrolls, meandering cobbled London streets on a chilly eventide, tipping hats to damsels who pass us by. Which is in my opinion, frankly, a shame, as it would be absolutely brilliant to do all those things.

Ah, I can imagine myself now, meandering those London streets, preferably with a cane in hand, a fashion statement in my youth but a useful tool in my old age - a tool for tripping up boisterous children with, that is.

Anyhow, enough of that daydreaming. I graduate. And I have a dilemma.

Seeing as how this is a significant event, I would like my girlfriend to be there. But I'd like my parents to be there too. That is, my non-Jewish atheist girlfriend and my Orthodox Jewish parents. See where this is going? Good.

I've been dating my girlfriend for a year and am still even more madly in love with her than when we started. It really would mean a lot to me for her to be there. But I don't want sparks to fly either...I have a few options, some of which aren't options:

(1) Not invite my girlfriend and (2) Not invite my parents
I have clumped these first two options together as they are both equally insensitive and a rather inane "solution" to the problem. Not inviting either of the parties is out of the question.

3) Invite my girlfriend for after the ceremony
The ceremony itself will be rather long and tedious. I'll be on stage for all of 20 seconds as I shake the hand of someone who is supposed to be important, whilst they hand over my degree [that I've paid for through my own blood, sweat and toil]. Really, there's no reason she should be subjected to that tedium when she can see me after the ceremony at my university still in robes and all.

4) Invite my parents for after the ceremony.
Not really an option for all sorts of reasons, primarily because they're my parents and really ought to be there. They educated me and helped me get into university in the first place, so really ought to be there.

5) Invite both, but give them separate seating.
This is the best solution I've been able to come up with so far. Giving them separate seating would solve a lot of issues, but it still presents others. Who do I hug first? Do I hug my girlfriend in front of my parents? Should they be given room to chat and size each other up? Will my parents even come if they knew my girlfriend would be there?

A lot of those issues can be pre-empted simply by telling my parents that my girlfriend will be there, so it shouldn't come as a surprise when I do hug her, etc.

Plus, this wouldn't really be an official meeting of the parents, as the sole purpose of the meeting isn't to meet: it's to be there for me. It just so happens someone in addition to my parents cares about me (a fact for which I am very happy) and has turned up to this event in my life. But then again, as there will be meetage at some point: it is completely unrealistic to keep them apart the whole time, the idea is just to ensure they're not alone together, hence the separate seating idea for the ceremony.

What do you guys think?

Thursday, 8 January 2009


I asked my girlfriend to write a blog post about what it's like to date a Jewish person, in order for us all to get a bit of a perspective change: we often hear about what it's like for an ex-Orthodox Jew to enter the wider world, but hardly ever what it's like for someone in the wider world to get involved with an ex-OJ. We decided it would be easier and less time consuming to write a blog post if I just asked her a load of questions to which she could reply, interview style, which is what I've done here. This is only a small interview, but some analysis of mine follows. My questions are in red.

Did you ever feel the need to tell your parents that I was Jewish?
not really a need, not at first. but it was an interesting bit of info... so I told my mum, and my friend. later on, when problems started, it was the only way to explain why i haven’t met your family, why I cant stay over at your house etc.

why is it interesting info?
because it’s unusual. There are approximately no Jews where I live…. there’s definitely not a recognised “community”.

are you aware that your way of life is a little unusual to your boyfriend?
I am now… :P

you said that problems started. What sort of problems are these and how do you feel about them?
the only stuff I know is stuff which is viewed through your eyes and then relayed to me. and from what you've told me, they're not at all happy about me being not-Jewish. I think my main problem is one of frustration, because i wouldn't deal with them how you're dealing with them. I’d be much more tempted to tell them what's what.

What IS what?
It’s not acceptable to reject your son on the grounds of his choices with regards to religion. and it's not even that. it's like you're a clan, a community, and it's nothing to do with religion. it's sticking to what you know and who you know and outsiders are some sort of evil force. there's no regard for me as a person and my attributes. nothing is thought of me other than " she’s not Jewish"

how does that make you feel?
Offended and more than a little annoyed. though they’re probably only able to think that because I live far away and because i haven’t met them. If I wasn’t just an abstraction, a faceless name, i wouldn’t be so easy to dismiss.

Why don’t you blame me for any of this?
because you’re in a position where its really HARD to take action. they’ve put you in that position.

do you think I put myself in that position by being involved with you?
i don’t think you should take any of the blame. i don’t know who's to *blame* or even whether blame is the right word here. i don’t even really know how your parents feel about the whole matter, because nothings ever directly dealt with.

how does it make you feel that you may never meet my parents?
well, i wouldn’t let that happen... i don't think anyone should just sit back and let that happen. If they refused to meet me and it got to a serious stage, with marriage etc., id spring it on them.

how do you like kosher food?
some is good, some is not so good, same as non-kosher food. I liked the tuna bagel we had last time…

do you find it strange that I don't know about a lot of popular culture?
not strange... its understandable considering your upbringing

Is there anything about my Jewishness that's a problem for you or your parents?
No, but my dad gets frustrated with your family some of the time. He doesn’t really get Orthodox Judaism, because he doesn’t know anything about it. i guess my parents just presume that ill meet up with your family eventually and it’ll be fine. When that doesn’t happen, like when I say I can’t stay at your house, they just don’t get it.

i have a hard time explaining it to them because i feel like i have to defend your parents/family’s actions, but in reality... i don’t really feel like defending them.

a few weeks back they wanted to send a Christmas card to your parents… I was like, i don’t think that'd go down well, but he said “well i wouldn’t object to a Hanukah card being sent to me”

Does this seem to be discriminatory in some way to you?
discriminatory, yeah. definitely intolerant.*

Why do you put up with this intolerance?
You know why :P

A Thought
There's a lot to be said on this interview, but for now, I'm going to limit myself to the following thought. If anyone wishes to analyse any other bits, feel free.

*This brings up an interesting and important issue. The mistrust of Christian festivals may be due to centuries of persecution of the collective European Jewish people, culminating in the Holocaust in modern times. However, whilst this may be true, we have to decide for ourselves how far that argument is valid, or if disassociation from any social groupings is a tactic of social cohesion - and whether the persecution argument is being used to cover that up. I'm of the opinion that it is a valid argument, but can be extended only so far. Jewish people must realise that the entire world isn't anti-semitic, and there really are people who don't sit about plotting how to make the life of a Jew miserable, and others who are actually friendly. For those Jews who do know this, I believe the 'persecution' argument is used as a cover-up: all OJs/ex-OJs reading this are most likely familiar with the idea that the "new" form of persecution and wish to "destroy the Jews" is by accepting us into society, in order to mix with everyone, intermarry, and lose our Jewishness. Clearly, this is just untrue and what's going on here is that the idea of persecution is being used to cover up what is nothing more than a tactic of social cohesion.