Why I Married A Non Jew

I grew up black and white.

I had the usual Chabad experience. Yadayada garbage. And then I moved to California and things changed. I found myself following a different script. It was a different script in CH.
A complete change of my location, a complete change of my Mazel. There were beaches
There was sunlight.
Girls in bikinis. I felt different.
Emotionally free to do what I want. And I did. You named it. I tried it. It was nice. For a while.

I had an intellectual reason for everything I did. And why I would never be able to do this in Crown Heights. And so I did more and more. It became this cycle of breaking the image of myself, from my upbringing. It was like I broke out of prison. And it felt damn good.You know you tell a Lubavitcher to put on tefillin and he puts on two. The chassid always tries to against the norm. And so I did, in the other direction.

In LA almost everyone has a good reason why they were living there. Not just the good weather, I am talking about Chesky Melameds who are learned in a trained craft.

Well among my mitzvoyim encounters, I met noted intellectuals in the Hollywood community. And people like them made so much sense. This rational frontal cortex was new to me and very exciting. One podcast, then two audiotapes, before you knew it, I was a junkie who never saw the beach. I became devoted to this new mission- to use this new muscle- rationality.

Yes it was new to a Lubavitcher like myself. And so I thought and I watched philosophy classes. You name it. I thought about it.

Then I thought from the perspective of the bochur in Crown Heights. And my concept of Chazal totally changed. They were not how I remembered them growing up. They were real people with day jobs just like the rest of us. And so I thought harder. About my Rebbe, who I grew up with. My Rebbe was the best, the holiest of all of those actors. Then I thought. Maybe my vision of the Rebbe was just like it was skewed about Chazal. And so I thought harder.

And then I started to feel enlightened. I started to feel unique. I suddenly felt disillusioned. Like I had come to spread the truth that my knowledge of history and and science have brought me into. And how we were actually meant to live as morally responsible human beings. And so I thought some more. About the Rebbes mission of bringing geulah and how we have to do that through being true yidden in the rational world. No, I wasn’t a misnagdid. I thought about the Rebbe and yechi. And how it was impacting my life. How were these thoughts moving me forward as a citizen in this world? In my relationships with people, in my professional life.

I said I would rather live a life under the rational part than any irrational “beliefs.” And so I chose. Many of us do chose to go off the derech. Not just a Lubaitcher bochur like me. Even the Tanya defines the derech as either the short or long way. And so I thought. And chose. A life of a secular LA yid. Sounds too familiar to you, I am sure.

More than scoffing at my community, I felt betrayed by my own family who were not able to give me the tools to fit into the modern world and really thrive. I was tired of hearing shenangians of how moshiach is. “Make Lubavitch in America” was a tribal message I heard way too often. How about make MYSELF in America as a respectful honorable mensch? And that’s when I got into my career in computers, high tech media, and landed my first job. With benefits and important stuff like that. And that’s when it hit me. I reached my version of the Jewish American dream.

Now what?

I still had relationship issues. I still hardly knew how to talk to a girl. My mother meant well preventing me from socializing with girls. I was even disgusted by my own sister who tried touching me and I made a face of disgust (we have a picture to prove it). Out in LA, away from the shidduch world. I was alone. By myself. Without the proper skills to engage properly with the other sex. And so I dared myself to just practice a woman.

It happened randomly at a bar. And she said yes. Maybe she didn’t fully understand my background but she nodded the universal gesture of agreement. The universal nod and a look in my eye. And I knew. She was mine. I didn’t have to say over a maamar. She loved me for me. Without the proper social skills and grace. I felt loved. And I knew.

Every Jewish girl I had dated had fed me lies about their needs from me or insisted I wear some religious mask or hat to send them a picture. I just wanted to be seen for my own independent thinking. For my independent self. Outside of the Rebbe, outside of my mother’s head where everything was a must, a chumra but never a mutar. And so my mother’s voice continues to speak in my mind until this very day.
This Asian woman wanted me for me. For my little experience in the bedroom. She graced me with her bosom and held me tightly. In an embrace.

And so I proposed. Never forgetting that embrace. Without my family support. I continue to hold onto that embrace more than any kiss my parents ever gave me.

The Rebbe’s message was to love another Jew, but what if you felt so confused by your past that you had no love to give? How about the love for those who are different from Jews, like those of non-Jews? Maybe I need to love them greater, I rationalized. And rationalized until recently. Years later.

Was my chassidic upbringing just folklore and pure mysticism? I am not sure. But that embrace from my Asian wife is forever.

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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous November 14, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Wow this could have been my story…
    Same background as you, just being a girl, a non jewish boy slid into my dm’s on my locally popular Instagram page and we started talking. Turned out we lived right next to each other.
    He tried to convince me to meet at the library where we both studied, he tried to get me to go out to the club with him and his friends. When he wanted to follow my private insta page but I refused he got upset and we stopped talking. I was struggling a lot then with hard times at home, with my life in general, questioning my belief, why for people it’s okay to go out and party but I have to be stuck at this pathetic shabbos meal. I would have had a great time had I gone clubbing with that boy… Why do we do everything we do, what’s the reason? Why can’t I just live a fun and good life like everyone else having a boyfriend and partying. Why are we so fanatic over the rebbe. What does this whole being a chossid thing mean? Why do I have to be a daughter of shluchim stuck with no one I can relate to and not be a regular girl. What does it mean to be Chabad? Why couldn’t I be born someone else. And I can go on and on. Doubts on everything. Just confusion.
    And it was only one text away… It would have been so so easy to text him and tell him, yeah, pick me up I’m coming tonight. And I almost did. I couldn’t stand my family or my life anymore. And I was seriously considering just leaving, he would take care of me.
    I don’t know what kept maybe the fear of shaming my family. Worried of ruining sisters shidduchim or something or not getting accepted to sem. Ah those innocent days. Or worried that my parents the big Rabbi and shliach wouldn’t be able to go on having a daughter who did what I almost did. Wouldn’t have answers for people. Maybe the fear of losing all credibility from everyone who’s ever known me. Or fear of coming face to face at the club with my old boy classmates with whom I had fought and argued so hard for the name of Chabad.
    I don’t know. But I didn’t go out with him even tho I was literally on the verge of doing so. I once saw him in the bus and I got this wave of shivers.. Could’ve been in his arms. Wow imagine marrying a goy this tragedy we fight everyday, and in my mind I just didn’t care.
    And same, he loved me for me. He was so caring and kind and lovable. And felt so special that I don’t talk to boys but I did to him.
    A few years later and I went through a phase a total clarity. Got it all figured out, knew exactly what I was doing, clearer than ever on being a lubavitch girl on shlichus. … And then a phase of confusion. Like hold on – wait, what?! What is the meaning of all of this again? Why do I have to do things this way when other people don’t and are way more attached to the rebbe? Why are so many “chassidish” looking people really lacking so much inside? Is all of this just fake? Why should I give importance to chassidishkeit isn’t the most important thing just a happy healthy home I don’t care how my husband will dress or how much he learns. And yes I don’t care if my husband will be someone who has shaved his beard and yes I want him to have gone through hard times I don’t want to marry a tzadik. But why am I even Chabad? What does this even mean to me? Gd I believe in you and Rebbe I know you’re great but is this life really for me. Where I’ll be considered so off just for dressing differently and choosing a husband who’s not this black and white puppet.
    Yeah… Anyhow. This is me. And you’re story made me realize it’s what would have happened to me had I chosen the other option. And I’m glad I didn’t. I don’t want to build a family with a goy its the worst I can do to my kids and to myself.
    And yes I still got stuff to figure out. I’m still lost trying to pave my way. Just like you…
    Let’s keep fighting for the truth and keep on digging in ourselves to discover what’s the real us.


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