Does your partner have to be the same observance level as you?

Post by Melissa

During Passover we asked for suggestions from our readers, and this was one which we felt particularly drawn to.  Jessica will have some particularly awesome insights on Monday – so be sure to watch for that.

Personally, I think it is important to view your Judaism similarly, whether or not you observe in the same way.  How central is your Judaism to your life?  Do you both have similar feelings about interacting with Shabbat or keeping Kosher?  Can you find Jewish meaning in the mundane, or not?

I know that I am extremely blessed to have found a man who views Judaism so similarly to me and who also practices similarly to me.  We are lucky – we know that.  However, I did date a lot of men, or chose not to date them, in the process of finding my match.  In fact, the last person I dated before D is a prime example of this question.  On our second date we had a long conversation about Kashrut and Shabbat.  Our current observance as well as our life aspirations for the same.  We had both been hurt in the past by people who did not see things on our wave length, so we wanted to be sure we saw it the same from the get-go.  While the relationship was not meant to be in the long run, we did have a great time and were able to relax knowing that our Judaism was compatible.

I think in the end thats what it is about.  Jewish practice is just one of many things which need to be compatible for a relationship to work.  Compromises are always inevitable, so you need to know what are you hard and fast rules and what you may willing to compromise on, both in regards to your Judaism and your life in general.

For even further reading on the topic, I’d suggest the book http://www.amazon.com/Two-Jews-Still-Mixed-Marriage/dp/1564144739 with practical advice from both Rabbinic and Psychological viewpoints.

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6 thoughts on “Does your partner have to be the same observance level as you?

  1. Great points. This has been an issue for me in the past. Right now, my boyfriend and I have different levels of observance but very similar commitments and visions for Jewish life. Because our macro-level values are in the same place, we are able to overcome the micro-level differences.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Does your partner have to be the same observance level as you? « Redefining Rebbetzin -- Topsy.com

  3. This is an issue with which I am intimately aware. On our second date my now husband ordered a pork po-boy while I sipped my beer and tried to avoid eye contact during dinner. Trying to explain to a secular kibbutznik that havdalah is a Jewish not “witchcraft looking” ceromony was also a struggle. At the same time, the biggest blessing I’ve had in love is to not find what I was looking for, ie a nice dati masorti-style guy. Instead I have a partner who has seriously challenged me to bring new meaning into my observance and who has despite his upbringing regarding datim has taken on many mitzvot, including kashrut. It is comforting that one day if we have children, G-d willing, they will see a diversity of reasons for living a Jewish life. Ima does for faith what Abba does for tradition and hopefully they will
    do for both.

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