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A Look at Jewish Dating Traditions

Jewish dating traditions range from the rigid rules and regulations formulated in Biblical times to the modern, no holds barred attitude of today’s youth. In the olden days, men and women were pretty much kept apart until the matchmaker made an arrangement, introduced the two young people, talked with both sets of parents and set the wedding date. Men and women were kept separate in the temple, praying in separate sections of the building, with the men on one side and the women on the other. The odd thing about this arrangement is that even though the wedding was held in a temple, the same rules applied even then. The bride and groom were kept apart during the service up until the time that it was made complete and then, and only then, could they embrace and begin to celebrate their marriage. In more modern times, in this great, progressive country, the idea of keeping the sexes apart, especially during the wedding ceremony was absurd.

You couldn’t keep today’s kids apart with a brick wall and Jewish dating traditions can’t change that. But, there are some traditions that remain in place even to this day. Based around the time-honored practice of motherly guilt, mothers hold sway over their sons and daughters and any good child will go out of his way to keep them happy. In Jewish families, the mother holds the power and if the children want anything from their parents -- inheritances, respect, blessings -- then the rules and Jewish dating traditions of the household must be respected. It’s not a law, not a Biblical rule or a commandment.

It’s just the way it is. From Hasidic, to conservative to reformed, each family group has its traditions even in modern America. The bond that keeps Jewish people clustered together also keeps the children following the family traditions regarding dating and marriage.


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