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Comments

annabel lee

Wow. This is a really well-done post, even though I don't watch Scrubs so I don't know what was weird about the episode. And I hadn't heard the news that they might be engaged, so in my world, you had the scoop on that.

Robbie

Hey, I know how you feel... I think this everytime some cute guy (Jew or not) decides he's supposed to be with girls.

an avid reader

You couldn't have said it any better. I totally agree.

Kenny

Too much blame on externals again. nothing seems to change. when will there be a revolution??

That was great! You should be a rabbi. Simcha

ccs178 (Chris)

I'd give up my religion for Mandy Moore. Homina-homina! Hubba-hubba! A-woo-gah! A-woo-gah! Rwaaaarrr!

Gooch

As a Jewish guy married to a blond shiksa myself, it would of course be extremely hypocritically for me to criticize his dating a non-Jewish girl. However, it was very surreal to watch last night's "Scrubs", with a plotline the culminated in JD realizing the Moore character was simply too young to have any sort of serious relationship with, and realizing they are actually trying to contradict the message of last night's episode in real life.

When the unattractive, unsuccessful, nebbishy Jewish man finds love with a shiksa, are you equally disappointed or judgmental? If I may channel Charles Barkley, celebrities shouldn't be our role models, nor should we assign their life choices any more significance than anyone elses.

I suspect the Braff family will be able to say Mazal Tov and who else really matters?

writersbloc gal

ben stiller. zach braff. are there any jewish actresses marrying non jewish actors? or is the trend in one direction only?

Esther Kustanowitz

You're right (anonymous), that it doesn't matter whether or not I can say "mazal tov" with a full heart to intermarriages. And I hope that any of my intermarried readers will know that this post is not to condemn their choices. They have love and I don't, and maybe that's worth a reexamination of what is and should be held dear.

And although we shouldn't assign any greater, beyond the individual, meaning to celebrities' life choices, the fact is, we do. I'm very acutely aware of the limited degree to which I'm in the spotlight, and I am just surprised when celebrities don't seem to be.

I do appreciate that they live their lives their own way, to the beats of only their own hearts. But that's not the way I've been living my life. Whatever...you all know I didn't mean to offend anyone, right?

Some Loser

I understand how such marriages can be discouraging to someone like yourself Esther who is committed to see that the Jewish people and their traditions continue into the future as they have been in the past.

It's tough though. Many Jewish men it seems like many Black men when they make it big seem to crave very attractive blond women as wives.

Coelecanth

Nicely done post. We all face these choices when seeking a mate. In the end relationships are about compromise; I wouldn't want my partner to agree with everything I believe. It'd be pretty boring don't you think? But religion is a pretty big thing to compromise on so I can imagine how hard it is.

I think that when you make it big as a man, be it Black, Jewish or whatever, the population of available women skews towards the attractive blonde side. If the majority of prospects are AB's then you're more likely to end up with one.

Jobber

Esther, when you say you don't have love, is there a pattern you can point to? Do you love those who don't love you back for example? Perhaps you could become more male about, and focus more on the visceral, as opposed to the feminine side of being 'in love'.

It seems to me that you have an ongoing problem, that is not being solved.

I only offer practical solutions oriented advice for this reason.

Regarding intermarried, those who grew up in a Jewishly committed home and davka had to marry out, I do not wish them well. They are traitors to our people.


kayla

Well, maybe she'll convert?

I'm the product of intermarriage, was raised nominally Jewish, dated Jewish guys but married an atheist, and we're now raising our kids Jewish. OK, Reform, but still. It can work out for the tribe. And hey, maybe a little biodiversity in the gene pool might be healthy, no?

And yes, when I heard I did think to myself "Zacheleh, you too?". Never said I wasn't a hypocrite!

Some Loser

I'll say this too everybody.

The finer things in life (sex and drugs and Rock & Roll of course) are sure alot easier to enjoy when religion is taken out of the equation.

SL has spoken!

chutzpah

Let the shikas have the nebishes, just please keep them away from the C+ quality and above Jewish guys. Maybe they will convert for the nebishes and reproduce. The problem here is that Jewish women are just too damn smart and sexy for their men!

Jobber

"The problem here is that Jewish women are just too damn smart and sexy for their men!"

Not smart enough if they are continuing to be alone and lonely.

Some Loser

Chutzpah do you think Marcia Brady will convert?!

judi

Zach, baby, take it from someone who's been there: intermarriage ain't all it's cracked up to be.

Sure, it's fun to hang out with a member of someone else's tribe. They have neat holidays, their families have fewer and less severe neuroses. They don't eat fish from jars.

But then one day, you wake up and your pretty little blonde bubble's burst. She wants to "try out" your shul. She likes it. Next thing you know, she's taking classes. Learning Hebrew. You know it's all over when she starts baking challah. A pair at a time.

It's a slippery slope. She wants more. Reform isn't doing it for her anymore. She needs a better and longer high. She starts going to Conservative and Orthodox congregations. You find a message from a Chabad rabbi on her voicemail and when you confront her, she gets defensive. "I'm just going through an experimental phase," she whines. Right.

You come home one day and there's a bearded guy in your kitchen with a blowtorch, and he's not the cook finishing off tonight's creme brulee. You talk with her and she agrees to cut back, but the co-op she just bought "just happens" to be withing walking distance of a modern Orthodox congregation.

Watch out, Zach. It's been known to happen. Don't say I didn't warn you.

p.s.- my former goy-toy & I had our kiddushin last night. With just about all the non-Jewish guys in my congregation converted, we're currently accepting applications for a new crop.

Andrea

Well said.
I've always wondered what it is about Jewish celebrities marrying non-Jews. Is it because quality Jewish women in and around L.A. are hard to find? Or maybe these men are representative of Jews everywhere but because they're in the spotlight it seems like an anomaly.

Another one bites the dust. She's adorable and if they're happy together I'm happy for them.

(Even though he should be with me.)

ninabeth

Esther, I understand your sentiments. However, my question about Zach Braff is this: is he observant? Because as someone who's "in the business," let me tell you that 99% of the Jews I've met in Hollywood are completely secular/cultural Jews. Make that 99.9%. Maybe a few of them go to shul twice a year, but mostly religion does not play a part in their lives (except for those that are Buddhist). So if Zack Braff is like most and not religious, then why should we expect him to pick a Jewish girl? Being Jewish means no more to him (in this scenario) than being Italian means to Tony Danza. Does Tony Danza only date Italian women? I seriously doubt it.

On the other hand, Jon Favreau goes to my shul. He's there every week with his Jewish wife and kids. He married within the faith because it IS a faith to him, not just a cultural trait.

Intermarriage is not the reason so many Jews are unaffliated - it is the result of so many Jews being unaffliated.

Mandy Moore's grandfather was Jewish, so she's 1/4 Jewish. I guess Braff isn't marrying too far out of the tribe after all - he's having his cake, and eating it too.

nathaniel merriweather

You're a fucking lunatic. And you wonder why we stray from the tribe.

Esther Kustanowitz

Excuse me? This post is the one that diagnoses me with lunacy? You're not reading me enough.

Setu

I cannot begin to even understand the psychology behind this letter. Im stunned that people like you still exist, there is no difference between racial prejudice and your 'tribe' mentallity. This is the 21st century. Im not even going to get into this, good bye, I leave Darwin to sort out my gene pool.

Esther

Amazing that this post still gets vitriolic responses. Am I a bigot for wanting desirable Jewish men to seek out Jewish women as mates? That desire emerges from a frustration that religion for such "high-profile Jews" (Natalie Portman is another one) is not an ingrained part of their plan for the future...

Whatever. Maybe I am a bigot or an elitist or whatever when it comes to this issue. If Zach Braff were my brother, I'd probably say the same thing: how wonderful that you found love.

Byron

Marry in the Tribe! ha ha, what a loser you are - you and your "tribe" mentality

paul

i did not know Zach Braff was Jewish
that is why i like him i dont like because im jewish i just like him cause he has done well from himself

Paul

I think that zach braff is the best jewish person in the world

Mark

This might have been the stupidest thing that I have ever read on the internet. You should be ashamed of yourselves. My x-lady was jewish and my friends and family loved her. It's nice to see how her friends/family looked at me.

junkbox

wow... is it just me or is this the most polite, racist statement on the net? if zach braff dated a black girl, this post would "seem" so different. the person who wrote article and everyone who agrees with it probably think racism is just based on color, which makes you all the worse type of racist...

Ahavya

Being committed to the proud traditions of an ancient people may be racist (as in making a distinction based on race, though since Jews come from many races, and are every color of the rainbow, I think that's the wrong word to use), but it's not the same kind of racism as looking down on others. It's my honor and responsibility as a member of the Jewish people to share my life with another Jew, so that we can continue the spiritual heritage of our people, and pass it on to our children one day. I don't think intermarriage is wrong because non-Jews are somehow bad people (obviously some are and some aren't, same as Jews). I think it's wrong because Jews have a cultural and religious duty to both our ancestors and our descendants.
It's the same thing as saying: I want to marry someone who shares certain fundamental values with me. Regardless of who they are (born Jewish, or a convert) if they share those values we may be compatible. If someone doesn't share those values, our marriage would be empty. For a totally secular Jew who doesn't live by traditional Jewish values, I understand that the temptation to marry out is much greater. However I think that they owe it to their kids (and themselves) not to cut themselves off from their people. Obviously all this seems much more straightfoward if you believe in God, believe that God gave the Torah to the Jewish people, and that it's your sacred duty as a Jew to live according to it's laws as interpreted through rabbinic tradition. Just thought I'd chime in with an orthodox perspective (I'm a married orthodox Jewess).

leah

paranoia and attempts to project ones own perspectives on the way they wish to live their lives on others is a manifestation of deepset unhappiness and insecurity from within.

if you wish to marry someone Jewish, then mazel tov to you. if Zach Braff wishes to date the woman he loves (Jewish or not), that's his business. as a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man, we have every intention of raising our children with both our cultures and traditions.

if you want to curse our family or not wish us mazel tov because you have some insecurity about your own future ability to snag the right Jewish boy, well my condolences. this post, and a lot of these comments here do not come from a true place of love. i feel sad knowing that many of you will be unable to experience true love due to biases and always searching for the person who you think you should be with as opposed to the person you are meant to be with. good luck to all in your search for love and meaning in this lifetime. Shalom.

Shannon

Actually...Zack Braff is only half jewish. His mother is a WASP.
And Ben Stiller is also only half jewish. His mother is Irish but converted after she married his father.

And then there is that saying, men marry women who are like their mothers. Both of their mothers are/were blondish WASP types.

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anonoymous

When I first read this post I thought it was an isolated incident but then the smattering of comments in favor of your negativity REALLY troubled me. It doesn't seem like this way of viewing life is working for you so I hope you work it out. I really do. I once heard a very wise member of your tribe say that there are two ways for the ego to be miserable (paraphrasing here) 1, not getting what you want 2, GETTING what you want.

I am not Jewish but I have dated Jewish, black, white, asian, indian, etc etc...its just not an issue. it shouldn't be. I think you will be more happy if you stop sweating the small stuff...and a lot more of it is small than you think.

Karananana

Esther, this line bothered me: "But from a Jewish perspective, I cannot say mazal tov." No dear, from YOUR perspective. And no, I don't "understand". Don't put all Jews in the same boat.

Im Jewish and I will definitely say "Mazel Toz" and wish people who fall in love eternal happiness. If someone else happens to fall in love with someone who isn't their religion, it doesn't matter. Are you them? No. Be happy for them and do your own thing. Don't expect others to be just like you.

And yes, that was offensive and you know it. Love is love. If you can't see that, you have issues and you are incredibly narrow-minded and immature. You do not speak for everyone, honey. And think before you post. I was fine with your essay until the end. Again, do your own thing and let others do their thing. You are not them so don't try to live through them.

And sadly, I agree with one poster who called you a lunatic. There is absolutely no reason for you to not wish Mazel Tov to Jack Braff and Mandy and hide behind the terrible "I'm Jewish" excuse. You need to examine yourself and figure out why you have such a problem with Zach dating a non-Jew because there is something very wrong with your thought process. It's old-fashioned in a bad way. It's EXACTLY like people who have a problem with interracial dating. EXACTLY.

And yes it makes you a bigot. Why the hell should the love of someone else bother you so much? Look for your own Jewish man and let other Jewish people do what they want and fall in love with who they want. There are other ways to preserve our culture without being judgmental towards Jews who fall in love with non-Jews. Maybe do volunteer work for a Jewish club or museum or something. Wear "Jew Pride" clothing and accessories.

Jobber, you're a traitor. You make Jewish people look bad. If you want to only marry a Jewish person, that is fine. But don't you dare call someone a traitor because they happened to fall in love with someone who isn't Jewish. Grow up.

A Jewish person who marries a non-Jew is not going to stop being Jewish and will continue to embrace their culture. People shouldn't skip over love just because the person isn't the same religion as them. Get over your immaturity, narrow-mindness, and hatefulness. Love is love, end of discussion. We need more love in this world. Quit bitching about stupid things like the religion of a couple that doesn't include you. There are more important things out there.

Chutzpah, I hope you're joking. Another possibility (the correct one) is that some Jewish people just happen to fall in love with non-Jewish people. It has happened and it continues to happen and it will always happen and it doesn't have anything to do with Jewish women and how they "are". Jewish women do not belong to Jewish men and Jewish men do not belong to Jewish women. We are all our own people and we can love who we want. The person you fall in love with might happen to NOT be Jewish and there is nothing wrong with that.

Ahavya, I think that maybe you should worry about yourself and not worry about what other Jews are doing. Every Jew isn't an Orthodox Jew and I'm pretty sure you do not follow everything in the Torah, so don't even bring that up. We can preserve our culture without HAVING to marry another Jew. Love is love. It would be incredibly stupid of Zach to just act like he isn't in love with Mandy because she's not Jewish. Is that what you WANT him to do because that's what it sounds like. You don't choose who you fall in love with. You know that.

Setu, I agree with you 100%. The mentality is very idiotic and old-fashioned for this day and age.

Leah, great post. Love is love is love. I'm glad you found the person who was right for you and I wish you both eternal joy.

Anonymous, agree with you 100%. I'm disgusted that a lot of people are agreeing with Esther's negativity.

Esther Kustanowitz

I wrote this post three years ago, and my perspective has somewhat changed since then. But on the internet, everything is frozen in time, and there is no going back on a previous statement.

I do happen to believe that for me, a Jewish partner would be ideal, but whenever I express that, people call me a racist, so I'm not sure what to do about that. And my letter to Zach wasn't really a letter to Zach - it was a public musing on that old topic of conversation: Jews in Hollywood and whether they identify Judaism as an important part of their public lives.

Some Jews want to marry Jews and others don't. Love is love, but intermarriage presents challenges - not necessarily destruction, but challenges - for the Jewish community. If the post came across as bigoted, or racist, I'm horrified.

But the more comments this post gets about what a bigot I am or about my "negativity," the more I feel that such comments are not offered in the spirit of discussion, or love. And that upsets me: I really don't know what to say besides that.

Nursing tank

Mandy Moore?? she's my idol... i like her...

medieval dress

oh.. so they are now engaged. Yeah they are cute but I will give them 2 years or less! They will have a break up.. :P

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The physical beauty of man is very impressive although there are women who claim that the body of man has no qualities to admire, even though they think otherwise. I think it's time to stop the taboos and saying what it is.

runes of magic gold

Excuse me? This post is the one that diagnoses me with lunacy? You're not reading me enough.

dee

Whoop, as it turns out, Zach Braff's mother is a convert to Judaism. Makes this blog even sillier, don't it though?

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