December, 2002 Reprinted with permission from the Forward.When Jennifer signed on to JDate.com, an Internet service for Jewish singles, she had a certain guy in mind.But Jennifer's screen name "Shiksa" (non-Jewish woman) tells a different story.She counts herself among a special category of soul-mate seekers: gentiles who log on to Jewish singles sites in search of a Jewish mate.In the Talmud, interfaith marriage is completely prohibited, although the definition of interfaith is not so simply expressed.The Biblical position on exogamous marriage is somewhat ambiguous; that is, except in relation to intermarriage with a Canaanite, which the majority of the Israelite patriarchs are depicted as criticising.How could I marry a non-Jew, contributing to the assimilation and possible disappearance of my people?And even if I could accept intermarriage, my father never would. He had repeatedly told me how important it was to marry "inside." He worried about the ultimate demise of the Jewish people through assimilation.
Forced divorce and excommunication of foreign women previously married to the Jews of Israel does ocur in Ezra chapter 10. For millennia, Jewish men and women have treated gentile women like the half-bird, half-women Sirens of Greek mythology: beautiful, seductive creatures that have the power to draw the ship of community onto the rocks of assimilation. Boy, have we got shiksa, non-Jewish woman, problems.JDate, the largest and best known of the online Jewish dating services, has more than 500,000 members worldwide.Of those, more than 5,000 members registered as "from another religious stream"-- read: not Jewish.