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My wife and I have several Jewish female friends in their mid-30s who are still single.

When any of them visit, our Shabbat talk inevitably turns to the people they are dating and how difficult it is to find a nice Jewish guy with whom to start a Jewish family and raise Jewish children.

It is the most deeply-engrained cultural difference between Jews and non-Jews.

There's a video put out by the Reform Movement of America, a real-life documentary depicting a series of group therapy sessions for intermarried couples, designed to help them deal with the unique issues of intermarriage.

One unpartnered friend, a rabbi, actually flew to Israel for in vitro fertilization and is now pregnant. "But since I'm getting older and haven't found a soul-mate yet, I'm going to start my own family." These Jewishly involved single women could have other options, but those aren't sanctioned by the Jewish community. It is time to remove the stigma from dating and marrying non-Jewish men.

The word "intermarriage" has been the convenient scapegoat for many of the ills in American Jewish life.

I never expected it to be more than a summer fling, but things escalated quickly. "And I can't marry a non-Jew."I then explained the concept of a -something that would bring shame upon oneself, one's family, and the entire Jewish community.

On our fourth date I informed him in no uncertain terms, "This can't go anywhere.""Why? Based on my upbringing, I would feel guilty for betraying generations of Jewish martyrs who had died so that I could be free to be Jewish.

Christine Benvenuto, a journalist living in Amherst, Mass., claims that the term is still in full, vitriolic use.How could I marry a non-Jew, contributing to the assimilation and possible disappearance of my people?And even if I could accept intermarriage, my father never would. He had repeatedly told me how important it was to marry "inside." He worried about the ultimate demise of the Jewish people through assimilation.Our son was bar mitzvahed and attended Hebrew school for five years.His friends were all Jewish as he grew up, and he attended March of the Living.