Greg Leake emails: Hi Luke,
On the last Torah Talks at the end you asked, “Why am I not married?”
Obviously, you were bouncing off the obscenity comedy that you were advancing prior to the question. I don’t know whether you actually want to get married or not, but there may be some factors you have not considered.
You will remember that several months ago i was living in the Orthodox jewish community of Dallas. I had a lot of opportunity to observe the species close up.
Your best shot at marrying someone modern Orthodox would be a divorcee. In my neighborhood there was quite a number of middle aged modern Orthodox women who were divorced. These ladies were highly motivated to find another husband. In fact, they were willing to step outside the strict protocol of orthodoxy if it meant the possibility of some good match-up.
Some would privately confide that they were willing to marry a goy if a really suitable candidate were available.
And here we find your catch-22, Luke.
these divorcees explained that there was a certain security for them in the Orthodox community. Their rabbis would have mobilized resources of whatever variety if it meant protecting them from some set of circumstances that were threatening.
As a consequence the Jewish community operated as sort of a de facto family. And since this family had a very rigidly defined set of criteria they were very limited when it came to presenting a potential partner to the community. Obviously they weren’t going to stroll into the synagogue unless the man would be met with approval. Marrying up was the best possibility. And this was somewhat like a girl not wanting to bring some man home to her family unless she felt the family would approve. And the neighborhood I was in would mean that the guy would have to be pretty successful and respectable.
Now some of these same women would have been willing to make a match with a suitable goy.
However, a marriage with a goy would mean that they had to leave the Jewish community with its potential support. Therefore, for them to jump ship, the goy would need to have a lot going for him. The goy would also have to be very successful and probably respectable, because if they were going to trade their Jewish credentials for a match with a goy, then they had to be certain that the new match would not diminish safety and security, but in fact increase it.
So, Luke, the catch-22 for you is that when you crossed the Orthodox line you instantly diminished your possibilities of an Orthodox Jewish girl because of the fact that you are a convert and because of your unsavory past and reputation. Now had you been simply a convert who was maybe the respectable president of a bank or something, you might have fallen into a different category. However, since the Jewish girl had already been ingratiated into Jewish society before you ever converted, she understands full well the social consequences with her family and her community if she were to hook up with someone who had these strikes against them. It’s not so much that a jewish girl might not like you or be attracted to you; but the social penalty for getting together with you could be acute.
Actually if you were a very successful goy or maybe a Conservative Jew, some of the divorcees in modern Orthodox might see you as a real candidate since after they have had kids and divorced it’s a whole different ballgame. The problem there is that they would be turning in their Jewish credentials for someone who doesn’t offer security along with excitement and romance.
The irony is that had you not crossed over to the Orthodox realm, you probably would be married already. There are millions of women who would be attracted to you outside of the Orthodox Jewish world. You’re a nice-looking, intelligent guy with a good sense of humor, and were you just an ordinary bloke you would have no trouble getting together with the sheilas.
Modern Orthodox has built in an automatic catch-22 for you, and it is one that may offer an obstacle too large to overcome. A girl unconcerned about modern orthodoxy who has a great interest in the Alexander Technique could offer a level of compatibility without the catch-22 looming over your head like the sword of Damocles.