The Trouble with Marrying Kosher…writes Tami Sussman

October 1, 2013 by Tami Sussman
Read on for article

He’s 26. He’s got a masters in neuroscience, an athletically muscular body, a perfectly unobtrusive nose and a wicked sense of humour.

Did I mention he plays the drums? Self taught. He’s creative, honest, has a healthily unmeshed relationship with his mother and best of all, he thinks I’m the most wonderful woman on earth. There’s only one problem … he’s JEWISH. No, that wasn’t a typo. He really is Jewish. Born and bred.

Tami Sussman and friend

Tami Sussman and friend

I’ve been dreaming about “marrying out” since I was 15 years old. That’s the age I first fell in love. Dumped by my first ever boyfriend the year before (he was Jewish) because my chest was too flat (his admission), Peruvian-Polish-Parented Dominic rekindled my belief in relationships; showing me just how non-judgmental, un-superficial and appreciative the Gentile boys were. The benefits didn’t stop there. Finally, kids started noticing me at my Jewish high school; “That’s the girl who’s dating the non-Jewish guy”, they’d whisper by their lockers as I walked by. The best was when one day, a popular guy in my year, stopped me on the way to assembly and asked; “how’s your goy boy doing?”. He’d never spoken to me before that moment. That’s when I knew I was onto something good. Dating my goy boy, as I now lovingly called him, made me unconventional, rebellious, it gave me an edge – a bite I was in desperate need of following the recent installation of braces.

I lost that edge after Dom and I broke up after 6 or so weeks (good effort for a 15 year old you gotta say) but I managed to own it again after I graduated. By this stage however, the situation had flipped. As lots of my Jewish peers had started experimenting with Goy boys and Shiksas they met at Uni, I wasn’t considered unconventional in their eyes anymore. On the other hand, as I ventured into the arty college scene, my non-Jewish romantic interests considered me to be different, refreshing … I was their exotic “Jew Girl”. They’d look forward to every Friday night dinner, every Jewish wedding, every festival. One ex even learned how to play the Passover songs on his guitar and strung along while my family sang at Seder. These were the blokes who would privately research stuff about the festivals that I couldn’t answer and as they explained how awesome different customs were (things that I thought were lame in school) I got to see my culture afresh. And for the first time ever, I began developing authentic “Jew Pride”. A pride that I never felt with the Jewish boys I dated. The same guys who wanted to go out drinking with work colleagues on a Friday night, who avoided Synagogue like one of the Pesach plagues that my new goy boy now knew the Hebrew translation to. Yes, I was going to Shule again for the first time in years because my Jew-curious goy boy had never been inside a Synagogue before and wanted to see a Rabbi in the flesh. Man, there was nothing sexier than looking down into the mens’ section and seeing my blonde surfie with a kippah bobby-pinned to his mane.

As I started reaching “marriageable age”, dating goy boys was more of a human rights kind of statement. I wanted to be the face of interfaith. An ambassador for intermarriage. I wanted to show Sydney, Australia and the world at large that Jews and Gentiles could marry in harmony and raise perfectly balanced children who celebrated both Christmas and Hanukkah. Children who meditated by Buddha before saying the Shema in bed. Young adults who would be happy to dance the Horah at their Batmitzvah before leading their guests in a Japanese tea ceremony to honour their father’s heritage. Oh how I longed to bring more beautiful Eurasian children into this world. They’d have so much edge at their Jewish school.

All of those dreams were destroyed when I realised that 26 year old Yosi was the love of my life and the future Jewish father of my children.

Now there’s no getting out of any potential son’s circumcision. I’m also going to have to save like crazy to pay for any potential daughter’s laser hair removal from their upper lip.  Worst of all, both sons and daughters are definitely going to have irritable bowel syndrome. Which, by the way, the Jews did actually invent.

I don’t love my fiancé more for his so called “Jewish soul”. He’s definitely my soul mate but I think that has more to do with our shared character traits and love of things. Like mozzarella cheese, rat terriers and dancing naked in the kitchen.  I don’t feel more “connected” to Yosi because he knows some Hebrew songs. All his tunes are Sephardi so I can’t even sing along with him at Shabbat dinner anyway. Yosi’s grandparents weren’t in the holocaust, so there’s no special bond derived from that either. My German ex-goy boy’s grandparents were in Auschwitz though. While we’re on the topic of Hans, it should be noted that I didn’t break up with him because he wasn’t Jewish. I broke up with him because he forbade me from peeing in the shower and wouldn’t share his last piece of pizza with me. And Fabrizzio, the Italian guy I lived with? We broke up because he didn’t want me to be an entertainer.  That’s why I’m marrying Yosi. Not because he’s Jewish, but because he’s respectful, considerate, supportive and most encouraging for me to pursue a creative career (even if that means reading articles about my relationship history)

So I’m willing to sacrifice my edge, for lifelong happiness. Just as I’d happily support any friend who chose to sacrifice their conventionality and marry out, if that’s what made them truly happy.  But that’s a whole different article …

 

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Edited version of an article that was originally rejected by Daily Life, AU

Goy: Hebrew and Yiddish term for a non-Jewish person; synonymous with “Gentile.” Usually neutral, despite persistent untrue rumours that it is derogatory

Shiksa: A Gentile girl or woman, especially one who has attracted a Jewish man.

Pesach: Hebrew word for the Jewish festival of Passover

Shule: Hebrew and Yiddish word for Synagogue

Shema: the first two words of a section of the Torah, and is the title of a prayer that serves as a centrepiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer services. It is traditional for Jews to say the Shema as their last words, and for parents to teach their children to say it before they go to sleep at night.

Kippah: hemispherical cap worn by Jewish men.

Sephardi: Jews from Spain/The Middle East. Most Jews living in Australia today are classified as “Ashkenazi” as their parents and/or grandparents emigrated here from Eastern Europe after WWII.

Comments

6 Responses to “The Trouble with Marrying Kosher…writes Tami Sussman”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    Take it easy Gil Solomon

    this is the well established American “confessional prose”, meant to be prosaic, self-efacing, pepperd with toilet humour, bare bones, based on intimate disclosures meant to shock and, obvioulsy devoid of conventional morals. Next istalment is bound to contain:
    – binge drinking
    – vomiting sessions
    – stained underwear
    – obnoxious SMS
    – friendship betrayals cum cheating
    – explicit sex

    as you can imagine, I can’t wait !!!!!

  2. Response to Gil says:

    Gil: My guess is that you were the authors first boyfriend in high school. You should be so lucky to have such an honest, forthright person to build a life with – one that understands from where she comes from and who she is. Jews have always been introspective and used humor to express their ups, downs and sideways. Get with the program and enjoy the ride – even if it does not always fit your stride.

    • Gil Solomon says:

      If you are intent on writing this drivel, then at a minimum have the courage of your convictions and enter your real name when posting or are you too ashamed and cowardly to let yourself be identified?

  3. Ebanga says:

    Go Taminator! You hit the mark!!

  4. Yosi says:

    Very well written. You speak a lot of truths.

  5. Gil Solomon says:

    Tami,

    This post has sickened me more than most things Jewish I have read in a long time.

    I have no idea of your Jewish upbringing but the superficial value system that you, as a young lady, so happily bring to the fore, your lack of knowledge or respect of your heritage is to me just appalling.

    I wish your future husband whoever he may be, the very best of luck.

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