Living in New York City means getting used to street harassment. In the past few years, my name has been Baby, Sexy, Bitch, and Hey You, Why Don’t You Smile? I’ve learned when to give the finger and when to hide. My friend Jen Dziura, a life coaching columnist, advises women that the best way to counter street harassment is to walk calmly up to the whistler or catcaller in question and politely let him know that he needs to learn how to speak to women in a respectful way.
It’s because of her that I finally said something to the Hasidic men who harass me in my neighborhood. Keep reading »
In my mid-twenties, I came out as a lesbian. But the hardest part wasn’t even coming out: it was realizing my wedding would be different and therefore I was different. It took me a few years to come to terms with the fact that my wedding wouldn’t have a groom or any of the other stuff that goes along with heterosexual weddings.
A few months ago, my girlfriend of three years proposed. A couple of weeks after we got engaged, Chriss told me she was thinking about converting to Judaism. So as we started planning our wedding, we began attending synagogue together and Chriss enrolled in an Introduction to Judaism class. When we became full-fledged members of our synagogue and reserved the chapel for our wedding it dawned on me: I have no idea what a lesbian Jewish wedding would look like. Keep reading »
Dating is hard enough. But what about dating when you’ve recently left an insular religious community that pretty much forbade interaction with the opposite sex?
Such is the problem faced by ex-Orthodox Jews who are “Off the Derech” (derech is Hebrew for path), or OTD, and assimilating into secular society. Hasidic communities separate boys and girls while young; girls often marry around 18 or 19, while boys tie the knot in their early 20s, having children shortly after. Touching members of the opposite sex to whom you are not related is forbidden and interaction is generally discouraged. Is it any wonder ex-Orthodox Jews are utterly bamboozled when it comes to l’amour?
That’s where dating coach Israel Irenstein comes in. Keep reading »
A few weeks ago, an article in the Orthodox Jewish newspaper The Jewish Press began to make waves in the religious community. Yitta Halberstam, a well-known Jewish author, wrote about the process of trying to find her son a wife. In her part of the Jewish community (a right-wing faction of Orthodoxy sometimes known as yeshivish), it’s not uncommon for a professional shadchan (matchmaker) to pair up young eligible men and women. A shadchan who makes a successful shidduch (match) can be paid well for their services. However, there has been a recent “shidduch crisis,” which is that there are more prospective brides than grooms. Orthodox boys are waiting longer to marry, while girls are essentially considered over the hill if they’re not married by 18 or 19.
One way that shadchanim (the plural of shadchan) have tried to solve this issue is by hosting events where mothers can meet and interview prospective daughters-in-law. Halberstam attended one of these events and she admitted that the whole process made her uncomfortable. However, as the mother of an eligible bachelor and therefore someone in a position of relative power, Halberstam could have called off the whole thing and pointed out how awkward and unfair it was to the young women involved.
Instead, she penned a long rant about how young women should wear more makeup and their families should be willing to pay for plastic surgery if that’s what it takes to land a husband. Keep reading »
L’chaim! Another one joins the tribe! Drew Barrymore is reportedly converting to Judaism before she marries fiance Will Kopelman, because being a shiksa won’t fly. It’s time to start brushing up on the Torah and boot up that old episode of “Sex and the City” where Charlotte converts for Harry Goldblatt. [New York Observer]
Drew Barrymore isn’t the only blushing bride making the move to matzo. Many celebrities have made the spiritual switch for love.
I once spent a 4th of July weekend with about 15 hardcore evangelical Christians. (Ex-Mr. Jessica’s sister was a born-again.) Explaining to some of the women what kind of website I write for proved to be awkward. But when I told one woman that The Frisky was similar to Cosmopolitan magazine, she exclaimed, “Oh, I read that!”
“Really?” I asked. “Isn’t it a little … uh … raunchy?”
She laughed. “Oh, I just flip past all the shirtless guys and stuff about sex.”
Then what part of the magazine do you actually read? I thought to myself.
That conversation popped into my head again when I saw this article on The Daily Beast about religious websites selling sex toys and the horrifying — not being hyperbolic here — opening story about a Christian woman who was married for 25 years before she finally bought a vibrator and had her first orgasm. Praise be! Keep reading »
It’s Hanukkah time again. Let us not forget to honor the hot Jewish guys who keep our flame burning all year. These sizzling members of the tribe are nothing to sneeze about. That wasn’t a “big nose” joke by the way. Click through to see some amazing Jewish men who are not the short, cheap, neurotic, mama’s boys you were expecting. L’chaim!
I never thought I’d be the type of woman to date a religious guy.
A Reform Jew by upbringing, my family ate bagels, lox, and pickled herring on Sundays, lit our Menorah every Hanukkah, and sat through services on the High Holy Days. I learned how to pronounce the word afikomen. My mom referred to my face as a beautiful punim and hoped that someday I would meet a nice mensch and get married. Throughout elementary and middle school, I attended Hebrew school, but mostly for the social rather than the religious aspect. The most exciting part of my Bat Mitzvah, I’m ashamed to admit, was the lavish reception I had in my temple’s ballroom complete with street dancers, a DJ, and gourmet buffet. After I had opened the last of my Bat Mitzvah gifts, I left organized Judaism to pursue more free-spirited religious activities of the bohemian/New Age persuasion. It wasn’t that I stopped believing in the Jewish faith — though I’m not sure I ever completely bought the doctrine — it was just that it never moved me. Keep reading »
When I was in third grade, the class read a book called something like Christmas all Around the World. It taught us about Sweden’s St. Lucia Day festivities that open the Christmas season, that Santa is known as St. Nicholas in Germany, and that Hanukkah is the Jewish Christmas. Keep reading »