Jewish Online Dating Is Hard — Especially at 83 – Kveller
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Jewish Online Dating Is Hard — Especially at 83


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It’s Saturday, Shabbat. As I often do on this holy day of the week, I decide to be more Jewish. I read the Torah portion and commentaries. I search for a Zoom discussion. But today my inquiry doesn’t stop there. I return to an online Jewish dating site I used many years ago and sign up for one month, only one. I figure if I can’t find anyone in 30 days, this is not my hunting ground.

But I’m stymied before the gents even have a chance to see my adorable punim or peruse my profile. The slider that determines your preferred age group ends at 75. I am 83. It is as if I have climbed a mountain, lost my footing, and perished in the ground below.

Undeterred, I try a new Jewish dating site. Once more I am banished because all the offerings are closer to the age of my offspring.

Like so many opportunities targeted to folks younger than me, I wonder why the sites’ creators are so lacking in imagination, or compassion. Do they assume all in my cohort have relinquished dreams of intimacy, romance and attachment?

In my dismay, I spiral, questioning why I’m searching for a Jewish partner when my second marriage was 14 years of happiness with a non-Jew.

When my first spouse (Jewish, doctor, perfect on paper) and I divorced after 30 years, I longed to be married again. I missed being part of a foursome, having in-laws and new friends. I imagined a fresh start with a Jewish man that could replicate the attachments from my marriage. I believed if my search stayed with my religion, I would have an easier time feeling at home. And the Jewish guys that I dated during the six years prior to my second marriage did bring with them families and friends that welcomed me.

Alas, it was the fellow who lived on my street that won my heart. Non-Jewish, no college, no children, modest income, a renter rather than a homeowner, a member of the YMCA instead of my fancy health club, and other details that might have troubled other women of my background.

Despite all of the “nons” in Tommy’s portfolio, we had essential points in common. We loved dogs, jazz and each other’s friends. We had the same favorite song (“It Never Entered My Mind”) and preferred staying home to going out.

Tommy died in 2012 and I’ve been single since then. But once a year, perhaps with spring noodging, I consider having a fella; well, more of a zayde.

I want a Jewish widower for a steady (note: not husband. At this stage in my life, I’ve become set in my ways or as my friends call it, “rigid.” I relish time to myself and nights cuddling with just my dog) because our shared histories — whether culturally Jewish like me, or more religious — will save us time. And if he’s my age, it may be limited.

Plus, my children and grandchildren live a coast away. Unless I want to fly and spend days without my chubby pooch, I spend holidays without family. When they still lived at home, holidays were never dull; more like comedy productions. There were costumes, cue cards and original Haggadahs.

I assume that any Jewish male of my age has a set of adult children and grandchildren who could substitute for my own. They could be understudies, waiting in the wings for a suitable woman for dad. I understand that not every family is blessed with such creative offspring, but I’ll accept a good sense of humor and kindness.

Like those younger, I want the flutter of a first meeting, spooning, holding hands, enjoying theater and jazz concerts and walking our dogs together. We can skip the drama, jealousy and late nights. Regrettably, until online dating sites recognize that people my age are walking, talking and desiring, we’ll likely continue to be unwelcome.

Perhaps I should opt for a site that offers men of various races and religions. That should expand the potential players, right? And if the candidates happen to celebrate Christmas, Kwanza or Diwali rather than Hanukkah, I can be flexible. As long as he’s in good physical condition and has a willingness to travel as an adventurous duo, I’ll have found my match.

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