Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Keeping the faith

As a senior in college, two of my roommates and I went out one night to see the latest romantic comedy - Keeping the Faith. From the previews it looked like our standard "feel good" fare. But when Jake, a rabbi, breaks off his clandestine relationship with his childhood friend Anna because she isn't Jewish, I started to sob so hard I couldn't breathe. I stared straight ahead, barely seeing the screen through my tears, afraid that I was going to have to run out of the theater because I couldn't handle the film's parallels to the end of my relationship with PJ.

Sharing dinner on Saturday night with my parents, grandmother and uncle, I chose to remain completely silent as my uncle proudly told my parents how my cousin, who is pursuing entering the seminary, refused to date a guy from college she was obviously interested in because he was not of the appropriate faith. Now that he has started attending the "right" church, they have started dating.

The aspect of these conversations that I hate the most is that I feel like a hypocrite criticizing my ex-boyfriend or my cousin for judging potential mates based on faith. After my breakup with PJ I questioned whether I would have been able to convert to Judaism if he had given me that choice. I ultimately determined that while I rarely demonstrate my faith, it was important to me to raise my future children with the same quasi-religious traditions I grew up with. The fact that now I use religion as a criterion for dates hurts me when it reminds me of how PJ and my cousin have pushed me and others away.

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At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell me about it.


At 8:55 AM, Blogger Lauren said...

A quick point of clarification: There were reasons for not dating him beyond the religion issue. I didn't insist that he change, he did that entirely on his own. And, although the religious issue is big in my mind because of my calling, I would never make a relationship decision based solely on that. (Though I have encountered people who would.) I respect you more for not changing for a guy than I ever would if you chose religious practice for someone else.

At 9:35 AM, Blogger Angie said...


PJ never asked me to convert or gave me an ultimatum. There were issues beyond religion that contributed to our breakup, but Judaism was a primary factor in our breakup and our failure to reconcile. One thing I heard later that I found pretty cool was that in the Jewish faith, if you are converting, you have to declare your intention to convert (of your own free will)three times.

I want you to know that I'm happy for you because it sounds like you've ended up with somebody pretty great who is also great for you. And that's what is really important. Love,



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