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My paternal grandparents survived the Holocaust and met at a displaced persons camp in Landsberg, Germany, before they moved to the United States.

It was the day I’d long hoped for, marrying a nice Jewish girl. In fact, by the time we’d started dating, I’d given up on Jewish women, and my dream of a perfect Jewish wedding, altogether. The intense pressure I felt to date and marry within the tribe damaged my perception of Jewish women and my ability to be myself around them.

This information was pounded in from all directions, from rabbis, from my parents, my grandparents, Hebrew High School, Camp Ramah.

She was also unbendingly ethical, deeply scholarly, and emotionally supportive—virtues I’d always believed essential in a prospective girlfriend or wife.

Since she wasn’t Jewish, though, a relationship with her didn’t seem possible; I thought of her as simply a good friend. I created an online dating profile on e Harmony, hoping that its mystical personality matching system would somehow do the job that I had proven unable to accomplish on my own.

By the end of the weekend, we were officially dating.

*** Judaism is and always has been at the core of my identity.One of my dates somehow managed to steer every discussion, no matter how unrelated, to the topic of cheesecake.Another had no discernible personality or strong feelings about anything, leading to a date in which I she responded to everything I had to say with an affectless “yeah” or “uh huh.” But it wasn’t all their fault: I can’t say that I created the most enticing profile.My parents liked Alicia, but not the fact that she wasn’t Jewish.My paternal grandparents were more concerned; I promised them that I would only marry a Jewish girl.I felt the pressure: The future of my people was at stake! The school was arty, musical, nerdy, and had a substantial Jewish population. Even though I no longer felt outside the norm, I still had trouble getting dates … Every Jewish woman I asked out on a date rejected me.

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