He’s Jewish, I’m not … now what?

Since I was a little girl day-dreaming about my wedding whilst playing with Barbie Dolls, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that Barbie would one day walk down the aisle towards a Chuppah, while her Ken stood before her in a yarmulke.

Growing up in a Christian home, it was assumed that I would one day get married in a church before my childhood priest. The thought of anything else never crossed my mind. It wasn’t because my parents forbid me for dating anyone outside of my race or religion (in fact they urged me to see the beauty in other cultures from a young age, hence why they sent me to an orthodox Jewish school).

When I met my boyfriend, the way I had always viewed love changed irrevocably.  For the first time, my childlike view of love was tainted. I was suddenly surrounded by people equating the difference in our religious ideologies to the failure of something I held so dear – true love.

In the space of a few weeks, under the glaring eyes of religious critics, I became insecure in the relationship that had previously made me the most confident version of myself. A relationship, which had started with two carefree people finding the beauty in every day, was suddenly filled with insecurity and doubt.

What I loved about my boyfriend was how he could make me forget where I was when I was with him. For the first time ever, I found myself riding subways until 2 am in the morning, eating pizza under the flickering light of a side street ‘dollar- a- piece’ store, and escaping the cruelty of the world by kissing on a ‘ferry to nowhere’ whilst the lights of New York and Staten Island came and went with each aimless journey.

Yet, like everything in our world (which I only discovered at the age of twenty-five, given my very sheltered upbringing) the naivety of my love was shattered with the words ‘Can we just tell my family you are Jewish?’ For the first time in my life, love was not enough, and my G-d, (the same G-d we both worshiped) was a lesser G-d. That night in the shower I cried and wished I could wash myself clean of my Christianity. It was then that I realised what my Mother had meant when she said ‘Muffy, this world is a cruel place’.

My sadness turned to anger. How could anyone who saw us together not realize from the way we looked at each other that ‘our’ G-d truly existed? Our G-d exists in the way my hand finds his while crossing the street, in our unwavering unconditional love for each other and in the way my world is made beautiful because of him, and his because of me.

And so, it was once again in the arms of the person I loved the most that I laughed at the absurd notion that my Christianity was something to be ashamed of.  Engulfed in my place of security I realized that anyone who spends a moment in the presence of true love can, and will, attest to the fact that his G-d is mine and mine is his.