What does it mean to be Jewish and queer? What about dating queer and Jewish? Does it make a difference?
I am Shaily Hakimian from Lincolnshire, Illinois studying elementary education at Indiana University. I have been working in the LGBT movement since I was 14 – so about 8 years. I grew up going to Solomon Schechter Day School where I received a Conservative Jewish education as a Sephardic Jew living in America. My dad is from Iran and my mom is from Morocco, though she spent part of her life in Israel. My mom has always had a strong connection to Judaism. Though we have slipped slightly in our observance of
among other things, she still pushes me on a regular basis to marry Jewish. G-d forbid I don’t meet someone Jewish.
I always think of what it would be like bringing someone who was not Jewish to Israel to meet my family. What would my cousins think? In Israel, the chances of a Jewish person not marrying another Jew are slim. But in the U.S., the chances of that happening are far greater. Over the years I have tried to understand why my mom and other relatives always pushed this so hard on me. Why is it so important for me to date Jewish?
My mom and I have an annual routine of going to Chabad for Lag Ba’omer. Last year, while dancing around the traditional bonfire, my mom whispers in my ear in her heavy French-Moroccan-Israeli accent, “This is why you have to marry Jewish, marry
is no fun like this.”
This is one of those conversations where I could see why dating Jewish is so important. From my life so far, I have seen Judaism as spending time with my family during Shabbat and holidays, as organizations giving me free food on campus, as dressing up for Purim and having an excuse to get drunk, as a global community. I always tell my friends that meeting someone else who is Jewish is like an inside joke. I feel like there is so much I already know about a person just after meeting them. We have a shared experience. To me, this is turning into my reason why I hope to commit to someone Jewish.