Saturday, October 20, 2012

The pros and cons of an OTDer dating / marrying a non jewish person

Wow it's been a while since I updated here.  A few things have happened since then...for one I found out I'm insulin resistant / pre-diabetic, and some skin "spots" I had on my hand/leg turned out to be related to a build up of insulin, scary stuff.  So I had to go on a low carb diet to try to avoid full on type 2 diabetes and lost 22 pounds in 3 months, which is pretty cool- I've never had a diet be so successful, probably cause of the whole insulin resistance thing.  My dad very helpfully suggested I find a local place to daven (pray) on yom kippur to help my health problems. Instead I taught for 5 hours and went to about 4 hours of meetings that day which was probably not all that much better than sitting through yom kippur services, sucking-wise.  I went on two trips to conferences since my last post, including one to Denver which I decided I do not like- that place sucked all the moisture out of my eyeballs and I felt too dry and dizzy the entire time I was there.

I'm also collecting my own survey data for the first time this semester, and this semester have 5-6 other research projects I'm actively working on writing/trying to get out for publication, along with a book proposal, so that's been sucking up all my time, and I've been working most weekends to try to squeeze in some extra research time.  Not because I have to even...I already have enough published and under review to get tenure if everything gets accepted for publication, which means I'm years ahead of schedule. But I love doing research, and I'm excited to get these results out there..I just have way more research projects and ideas than I have time to do them in. In a few weeks I submit a huge binder of paperwork for my third year / pre-tenure review which is to renew my job contract for 3 more years, at which point I will go up for tenure.

This week I went to a conference in the North, and while I was there I met up with some other OTD people who lived in the area, including the blogger Fence Sitter.  Over dinner one fairly new OTDer asked me what I thought the pro's and cons of marrying / dating a non Jewish person was.  This later turned into a facebook conservation, and I thought I'd compile some of the pro's and cons I came up with.

-You stop getting invited to shabbas/ yontiff at your family's house
-Your spouse doesn't know what it's like to grow up jewish so may not relate
-Your family will try their hardest to talk you out of marrying them and may go so far as to stop talking to you or disown you or even sit shiva for you
-A lot of your old friends and family might stop talking to you
-Random people who are jewish will think they have a right to criticize your marriage partner, you'll get called a nazi, told that you are finishing hitler's job, etc.  
-They may not be interested in or fully understand your background (although personally my husband loves talking about religion and finds my background fascinating and is always asking me questions when he comes across new things he doesn't understand re: judaism)
-Your spouse might not love it if you do anything jewish, and might sometimes get jealous/weird about you doing jewish things, cause it makes them threatened and worried you will become religious again and leave them

-You stop getting invited to shabbas / yontiff at your family's house, so no more making excuses or suffering through them
-Your spouse doesn't know what it's like to grow up jewish, so has a whole other set of not-jewish cultural norms to draw upon when you raise your own kids
-when you're married you have a spouse to hang out with, so you don't depend on a jewish community for social contact the way you might when single. 
 -You find out who your true hardcore friends who will always be there for you are, and you find out which of your family members you can't trust to act like family
-You have a lot of stuff to talk about when it comes to comparing your backgrounds, and talking about your life.
-You sometimes get to learn a lot about different cultures/religions  
-You can have the egalitarian wedding you want instead of a sham religious wedding which many OTDers married to OTDers get 
-It keeps you from falling back into the jewish community out of force of habit, which is what I totally did when I first moved to grad school
-After you get married and your family/old jewish community gives up on you, they give up a lot of general kiruv too cause they assume you've gone too far to come back 
-In-laws who celebrate christmas and the whole family christmas experience!  A non-jewish family to go to for non-jewish holidays
-Non jewish guys are probably on average less socially conservative/traditional than frum and ex frum guys, at least in my experience (major pro for me, and major issue for me when dating jews)
-Your kids are probably less likely to have weird genetic diseases
-If you don't want to circumcise your sons, your spouse is more likely to be ok with it
-You have a much wider pool of people to draw from so statistically are more likely to meet a compatible match

What are some other pros and cons y'all can think of?