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I felt the pressure: The future of my people was at stake! The school was arty, musical, nerdy, and had a substantial Jewish population. Even though I no longer felt outside the norm, I still had trouble getting dates … Every Jewish woman I asked out on a date rejected me.

I resolved that I would only go out with Jewish girls. I attributed this to the fact that I was kind of nerdy: My extra-curricular activities included musical theater, video games, and Dungeons & Dragons, not exactly the types of things that made a guy popular with the ladies. I had numerous opportunities, on the other hand, to date non-Jewish women.

I went to a Christmas at her family’s house and it felt less ritualistic than family’s Christmas Eve Chinese-food-and-a-movie tradition.

On the other hand, my grandmother on my mother’s side was actively rooting for us as a couple and was the first person to predict that we would get married.

Continue reading: Conversion The relationship became shorter-distance when Alicia attended Rutgers School of Law in Camden; we were both in New Jersey, at least.

In high school, this decision proved to be mostly moot. I tried not to follow up on them at first, but I was frustrated and lonely and had finite willpower.

After one date, though, I would beat myself up mentally for breaking my rule, and I’d avoid making second dates.

It was the day I’d long hoped for, marrying a nice Jewish girl. In fact, by the time we’d started dating, I’d given up on Jewish women, and my dream of a perfect Jewish wedding, altogether. The intense pressure I felt to date and marry within the tribe damaged my perception of Jewish women and my ability to be myself around them.

This information was pounded in from all directions, from rabbis, from my parents, my grandparents, Hebrew High School, Camp Ramah.

It felt wrong for me to pressure her, yet at the same time I knew that if she didn’t convert, the relationship would almost certainly have to end at some point.

I was eager to find a wife, but I couldn’t have children that wouldn’t be Jewish. So, even though I wanted it and believed it could work, marriage was off the table so long as Alicia was still a gentile.

This was my ulterior motive when I planned a trip up to New England.

I was planning to stay with a friend from college for a few days, but I also arranged to meet Alicia, whom I’d known online for five years by that point but had never met in person.

When she arrived at my friend’s house, her hair was dyed red and she was dressed in a black suit: very Agent Scully. We went out for Thai food with my friend and his wife.

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