As a typical Gen X single Jewish male with a stronger-than-average Jewish identity, I very much appreciate the many individuals who work so hard to organize Jewish singles events (“Looking for Mr. Goodman,” 3/17). Unfortunately, they may be fighting a losing battle.
First of all, in the United States there are about 50 non-Jewish women for every Jewish one (people are often surprised to learn that Jews constitute only about 2 percent of the American population). In some large cities and college campuses that ratio is smaller, but still large: In the Washington area it’s about 15 to one. And gentile women seem to have all sorts of positive stereotypes about Jewish guys—ranging from their being ideal family men to their being great lovers—that Jewish women don’t seem to share. In particular, with my master’s degree and solid, but not spectacular, salary, many women would regard me as a good catch. However, to generally more successful Jewish women, with their university-professor fathers, partner-in-a-big-law-firm brothers, and dot-com-entrepreneur recent Jewish boyfriends, let alone their own dynamite educational backgrounds and careers, I seem like a schlub.
Furthermore, gentile parents are not just accepting that their daughters are dating Jews but seemingly thrilled by the prospect of a Jewish son-in-law. Could my great-grandparents in Poland have imagined that several years ago I would be spending spring break schtupping my WASP girlfriend in her childhood home with the explicit consent of her parents, whose only concern was that they did not serve me blatantly nonkosher food or otherwise offend me?
I must admit that it’s not only that non-Jewish women are attracted to Jewish men, but the reverse as well. My whole life, the media’s image of the sexy woman has been a blond WASP. More recently, it’s been Asians. And interracial, interethnic, interwhatever dating and marriage are cool today.
None of this would be a big problem except for a lesson I’ve painfully learned more than once: When push comes to shove, most gentiles will not convert to Judaism. You can bring Judaism into the home, sure, but they’re going to have their Christmas. And I know that this is a recipe for children with a weak Jewish identity, grandchildren who don’t think of themselves as Jewish, and future generations whose only connection with Judaism is knowledge of some “Jewish blood” (analogous to many Americans today who acknowledge some “Native American blood”).
Although a lot of people would say, “So what?” to this conclusion, I personally can’t contribute to the goal that many anti-Semites have had throughout the ages, of wiping Judaism or the Jewish people off the face of the earth one way or another. Maybe what I need to do is stop going to the office on Saturday morning and start going to synagogue.