By contrast, Modern Orthodox shuls such as Bnai David tend to be alcohol free.
I went traditional Thursday night for Simchat Torah and the place was rocking. People were dancing around with the Torah scrolls and rough-housing with each other. After getting clobbered from behind a few times, I felt certain I was about to get hurt, so I left at 9:30 pm and went to a nice cozy Simchat Torah house party.
There were about 60 of us in and around the apartment. The police came about 11 p.m. They’d received complaints about noise. The only noise was from people talking! There was no music playing. They told us we had to go inside and then they left us alone.
My social anxiety was under control and I ended up staying until 1:30 am, even though the apartment was jammed and stifling hot.
I barged into a conversation on dating with this remark: “In some ways, it is easier to date a non-Jew. At first. You’re not likely to have as many complicating relationships. You’re less likely to know her family. If things don’t work out, you’re less likely to run into her at shul. Therefore, it’s easier to objectify her and to have fun with her.”
This secular woman responded: “I can’t believe you would say that because the Orthodox view of marriage is not about having fun. It’s about how much you can give to the other person. Secular people go into marriage thinking how much can I get from this person. I thought the Orthodox had the opposite perspective. That it’s all about giving. I’m Reform but I find much beauty in the Orthodox approach to marriage.”
“I think you’ve heard an idealized version of Orthodoxy,” I said, “but there is definitely something to it. I don’t always live up to the teachings of Orthodox Judaism, but there is so much beauty there that I keep coming back.”