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I went to a Christmas at her family’s house and it felt less ritualistic than family’s Christmas Eve Chinese-food-and-a-movie tradition.Even as our relationship became more serious, I did not want to push her to convert, yet I kept hoping she would become interested in the religion on her own.But even while my relationships with non-Jewish girls fizzled, I still didn’t have any other options.Jewish girls often were interested in Jewish guys—many of these girls ended up dating and even marrying Jews; they just weren’t interested in dating high-pressure, community-survival minded, intense, and awkward me. While I was at school, I joined an online discussion forum where I began to chat with a non-Jewish girl named Alicia.By the end of the weekend, we were officially dating.

I was only able to relax around non-Jewish women, because I didn’t feel the same pressure; that’s how I met, and fell in love with, my wife.

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.

On the other hand, my grandmother on my mother’s side was actively rooting for us as a couple and was the first person to predict that we would get married.

Continue reading: Conversion The relationship became shorter-distance when Alicia attended Rutgers School of Law in Camden; we were both in New Jersey, at least.

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