How Do I Explain That I Can’t Date Non-Jews?

Dear Jew in the City-

A non-Jewish neighbor asked me out on a date. I said “no,” thinking that that would be it, but it wasn’t. When I saw that he was not giving up, I realized that I had to have a conversation explaining that because I am Jewish, specifically Orthodox, I only date within the Orthodox world. That still wasn’t enough and he continued to pursue me. So here is my question to you: how would you explain to someone who is not Jewish (and has little knowledge about Judaism) why we can’t date non-Jews, other than that it is not allowed?


Hi Miriam,

Does he really need an explanation? Shouldn’t any person who expresses romantic interest and is rebuffed (even nicely and respectfully) back off? We could go into a list of reasons – we are a small people, we have laws set up to only marry in the faith so that we do not disappear – “Don’t believe me, let me show you the Pew study – these are the statistics of what happens to Jews when they intermarry.”

You could explain that you believe in God and the Torah and want to find a life partner who shares in your faith. Who will build a home with you where a kosher kitchen is kept, Torah is learned, and the Sabbath is a day you all look forward to. You want your kids to have a father who can explain mitzvos to them and take them to shul. Your Judaism is not a hobby or interest. It permeates every crevice of your existence. You could go into all of these things. But shouldn’t it be your right to say, “I’m flattered and think you’re a great guy, but in my religion, we only marry in the faith and I only date for marriage, so I’m afraid this won’t work.” And then he moves on?

In our age of #metoo, shouldn’t men be aware that when a woman says, “no thanks,” it’s time to move on? I’m sure he’s still a nice guy, but I think he really needs to let it go. Because you don’t owe him the list of reasons. You saying “no thanks” is his cue to move on.

Hope this is helpful.

All the best,

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  • Avatar photo Rifky says on June 20, 2018

    Right on, Allison! As usual, you have hit the nail on the head. When a woman (or, for that matter, a man) says ‘No’ to a romantic overture then that should be the end of the story. But just in case a friend wants to set you up with a non-Jew, then it’s useful to have a coherent excuse so you don’t sound prejudiced. And you have provided that, too. Thanks!

  • Avatar photo Mazal says on June 21, 2018

    I think she should say that in her world, Orthodox Jews only date to find a Marriage Partner. Since he is NOT a jew, he automatically is disqualifed. If he continues to harrass her, I would be concerned.

  • Avatar photo Eve Sacks says on June 22, 2018

    I think just say because you don’t want to date and hence risk falling in love with someone who doesn’t want to have a Jewish home, to bring up Jewish children, eg Shabbat Kashrut and everything else.


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