Sometimes I know before I write a Bulletin article that it will get me into trouble. This is one of those columns.
Last month, I had a delightful lunch with a Jewish woman from another congregation. She is bright, secure, Jewishly committed, active and very attractive. She is also single, and does not want to be. She asked me out to lunch because, as she said, she has pretty much exhausted her resources at a major metropolitan congregation, and hopes that I know someone who has a son, a nephew, a grandson, a cousin who is interested in finding a partner in creating a Jewish family. As she said, “They’re out there.”
It is a story I have heard many times before. There seems to be no shortage of wonderful Jewish women of all ages who are looking to meet a partner, not a steady date. The problem is, Jewish men are interested either in women much younger than themselves or much less Jewish. And while I would not trade even one of the many women I know who have converted to Judaism, their male counterparts are also interested in women much younger and much less Jewish.
Before you start howling about stereotypes or pointing to the growth industry in singles’ programs, take a look at our own synagogue. Not including people widowed or divorced after forming and raising their own families (that is, younger singles, including parents of young children), there are more than twice as many women in our congregation as men who are single. They are attorneys, physicians, executives, advocates, officers and administrators. They take pride in their Jewishness, care in their public appearance and heed of the conventions of society which pressures them to have it all. Some of them are your daughters, some are your friends.
But even if I were to pair people off à la Reverend Moon, some extraordinary women would return to their private lives alone. Some few prefer the autonomy. Most (like us) would be delighted to share their lives with a loving partner.
So I suggest we beat the bushes and turn up the heat. Jewish men with Jewish commitments are out there. Jewish men who want spouses and families are out there. Jewish men who are not intimidated by accomplished women who have a similar accumulation of life-experience are out there. They are in your family and among your friends. It is time for them to stop casting about for an escort to the theater or the gym and discover, instead, the exceptional women who share their real dreams and ideals. Tell them.
And when they are ready to meet someone, send them to me.
And to my woman friends: don’t make a liar out of me.