Small towners may feel the unique bond that exists in a tight-knit, minority community. Varying perceptions by non-Jews and a wide range of self-definition by Jews.These factors raise issues in every facet of Jewish life, including dating.Before Juliann Richards met Neal Levy, she didn’t doubt that she’d marry a fellow Catholic someday.After all, Richards was raised Catholic, attended Catholic school, grew up mostly around fellow Catholics, and knew she wanted her children raised with the same faith. Even though this sounds like the beginning of a crude joke, it's not and it actually did happen. But the idea of dating outside my religion didn't even occur to me until relatively recently, nor did I appreciate the impact such a decision might have. Even though I didn't grow up in a super religious household, and the Jewish community where I was raised in Oregon was relatively small, Judaism was always a central part of my upbringing, and the importance of being with a Jewish partner was instilled in me from an early age.At a speakeasy with no distinguishing signage in downtown San Francisco, my date and I sipped Prohibition-era cocktails in a dimly lit, swanky atmosphere -- not exactly the place I would necessarily think to question the merits of interfaith dating. In college I had a thirst for a larger Jewish community.
“I was certainly thinking of it as a real option,” he said.On my mental list of deal-breakers, "not Jewish" was merely penciled in.But as statistics illustrate, many people are putting off settling down.It wasn't until that relationship ended that being with someone who wasn't Jewish even crossed my mind.I never felt that my beshert necessarily needed Jewish lineage, but it was an underlying assumption I had picked up along the way. Things move faster and no longer do we have the pleasure of waiting years to "see what will happen." There seemed to be a slowly ticking clock hanging over each eligible bachelor I met.