There’s a learning curve, but if you’re interested in an interfaith relationship with a Jewish person, here are 10 of the top tips you’ll need.
1. How to Find a Jewish Partner
If you’re interested in dating Jewish people, there are many dating sites available for you to find a partner. If you’re looking for an online dating site that features only Jewish profiles, you’ll want to check out JDate, J People Meet, or JSwipe. Both Jewish and non-Jewish singles can search for like-minded dates on these sites and many others.
You don’t have to limit your search to these sites, however. Many online dating sites like eHarmony, Zoosk, and Bumble will allow you to filter your dating preferences by religion. If you’re looking to meet mature singles, OurTime boasts over 50,000 Jewish members in its dating pool. No matter which site you choose, you’re likely to have options to search exclusively for Jewish singles.
2. Find Out if They Are Secular, Observant, or Religious
When you meet and start to go out with a Jewish person, you’ll want to find out if being Jewish is their ethnic identity, culture, religion, or all of the above. While some Jews observe holidays and certain cultural or religious practices, many are secular and non-observant. Being Jewish could be a part of who they are without defining how they believe.
When dating Jewish people as a non-Jew, it’s important to ask your date about their beliefs and if they consider themselves religious, observant, or secular. Find out if they are comfortable dating, committing to a long-term relationship, or marrying a non-Jew and if they plan to raise any future children in their faith. Understanding your date’s feelings about dating a non-Jewish person is essential to figuring out if your relationship will end up as a friendship, casual dating scenario, or long-term love match.
3. Be Transparent
If you’re looking to meet Jewish people to find true love, just be honest that you’re a non-Jew, and don’t ever pretend to know more than you do about their background or faith. Transparency is best when dating in general, but it’s particularly important when religion could be a deal-breaker. As long as you’re being upfront, you just might find your perfect matches on one of the many available Jewish dating sites.
Honesty is an important value in Judaism. Being transparent can also encourage your date to be open with you about their values, religion, culture, and any dating expectations. Don’t shy away from honest conversations, as discussing differences in beliefs and background is an important part of any healthy relationship.
4. Use Common Sense
Some of the best advice we can give you on dating a Jewish partner is simply using your most basic common sense. Don’t bring up the Holocaust in casual conversation over dinner because it’s the only thing you know about Judaism. Don’t try to discuss Israeli and Palestinian politics over drinks on a first date. Not only is it socially awkward and inappropriate, but genocide and war are not great casual conversation material and will likely not endear you to your date.
Don’t reference Jewish stereotypes. While avoiding bigotry should be Dating 101, it sadly isn’t. Learn about the microaggressions most commonly experienced in the Jewish community and avoid them.
If you’re looking for compatible matches and true love, you’ll want to make sure hate and intolerance aren’t a part of your dating repertoire. This may take some honest soul-searching on your part, but we encourage you to do that work before you begin dating someone from a different culture.
5. Be Curious
Just as you wouldn’t assume that all Presbyterians practice their religion and holidays in one specific way, don’t assume that all Jews are the same. Be curious about their upbringing, religion, culture, and holidays. As a non-Jew, much if not all of this may be unfamiliar to you.
You could do an internet search to educate yourself, but it’s still important to find out what different holidays and special occasions mean to the person you’re dating, how they observe them specifically, and what you can do to show support. Some Jewish holidays are solemn, while others are joyous occasions meant to be celebrated, and you’ll want to ask your partner which ones they observe and how they observe them.
Remember, if you don’t know something, it’s better to speak up and ask rather than make a serious faux pas that could indicate you don’t respect them or their beliefs.
On the other hand, don’t think you have to learn all about Judaism in a day. Take the time to get to know each other organically without the pressure of knowing everything there is to know upfront.
6. Ask for Support While You’re Learning
If you’re dating a Jew as a non-Jew, it’s a good rule of thumb to ask them for support while you’re learning. You’re going to occasionally use the wrong greeting or forget an essential holiday for them. It’s new to you, so expect mistakes along the way particularly as you navigate new holidays, customs, and traditions.
Asking for a little understanding could go a long way to opening up a dialogue about differences. If your partner is supportive, they should be able to walk you through any holidays or traditions they practice and any meaning these occasions have for them.
You should also feel open to share your holidays, traditions, and any cultural observances with them. Just be open, ask, and know that sincere effort means more than perfect performance. And while you’re at it, make sure you find out how you can learn in a way that feels most supportive and respectful to your date, too.
7. Consider Group Dating
In Jewish culture, it’s not uncommon for partners to meet in a group setting. While it may seem awkward if you’ve never done this, consider the benefits. A group event could remove some pressure and help you get to know your date in a more natural, relaxed way.
Don’t feel like you have to immediately meet all their friends and family in order to date them. Instead, consider suggesting a mixed group event that would allow you to include some of your friends, too. Getting together at a concert, festival, or community event could allow you to meet each other’s friends without suffering through first-date jitters on your own. Pick a fun activity that you’ll both enjoy and that easily lends itself to a group dynamic.
8. Understand Cultural Pressure
For many Jewish singles, their culture puts immense pressure on finding the perfect partner or soul mate. This pressure often includes marriage, too. It could make it hard for your potential match to settle down when outside pressure demands that they make the best choice. Don’t take this personally; it just means that many Jews may take long-term relationships seriously.
Instead of adding to that pressure, take the time to get to know each other. Figure out if your lifestyles and values are compatible, or if you’ve just got a case of mutual attraction and little else. You’ll want to build a strong relationship foundation, or you may need to go your separate ways. Just don’t forget that there can be cultural pressure at play, and try to be an understanding partner where this is concerned.
9. Don’t Forget About Consent
Some Jewish singles aren’t interested in being sexually active or physically intimate prior to marriage. Some don’t even touch or kiss their partners. If you’re not sure where they stand, ask. Just as in any other dating scenario, consent is of the utmost importance.
Openly communicate about your comfort with a physical relationship, and find out how your date feels. If your match does express a desire for celibacy prior to marriage, just make sure that’s something you’ll be able to support.
10. Avoid Defensiveness
As you navigate dating someone with a different background or culture, it’s important to avoid any knee-jerk defensiveness you may experience in the learning process. At times, you may end up saying or doing something wrong. This should be a natural and expected part of the process. Breathe through your reactions and know that you won’t always get it right.
You’re not going to learn absolutely everything about a culture, religion, or upbringing all at once. It takes time. Be patient, be a good listener, and don’t get defensive if your partner corrects you. Just be open to learning and trying again. As long as you’re respectful and genuinely trying, your best is good enough.
Whether you use an online dating service or are interested in meeting Jewish singles in real life, these tips could help you avoid faux pas and find true love. Just remember that every person you meet is different. Finding a Jewish friend, a compatible match, or a long-term relationship will require honesty, communication, and the sometimes elusive quality of chemistry.
So many potential matches are out there just waiting to connect. Jewish dating has never been easier! Whether you just respect the culture and religion or have had good experiences dating Jewish people in the past, finding your true love is possible with a little patience and these top tips.