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Student Views

Negotiating relationships at a non-Jewniversity

Ellie Hyman is a student at Durham University and the principal writer for the JC's Student Views blog

    Part of the reason I chose my University is the lack of Jewish population. ‘I can’t wait to break out of the Jewish bubble, meet new people with fresh ideas and outlooks on life’, I thought to myself.

    A year and a half later, the novelty has somewhat worn off. Humans are humans, at the end of the day, and all the qualms that may be had with the Jewish community tend to arise in one form or another in any small community, which my University most definitely is.

    One of the biggest difficulties I have found, however, has been navigating a romantic life. Initially I thought I wanted a non-Jewish boyfriend; I wanted to get as far away from the life I had left back home. For one reason or another, that didn’t work. I needed someone more similar to myself. Someone who understood what Kosher meant and owned a kippah to wear should I get a +1 invitation to a Bar Mitzvah or a wedding. Somebody who didn’t look at me like I have 2 heads when I told him I was shvitzing from schlepping all the way to lectures with a heavy bag. I needed a Jewish boyfriend.

    I am not an active member of my University’s JSoc by choice, so some may say I want to have my cake and eat it. There’s nothing wrong with it; it may be perfect for some people, but it’s just not my scene.

    So I turned shidduch style. I enthusiastically joined JSwipe, hopeful of finding a bubbeleh. I asked some of my Jewish friends if they knew anybody they could set me up with. I quickly learned that these things never happen if you try and force them; they tend to work best if you allow them to happen organically.

    For now, I’m focusing on my degree, my friends, my family and the overwhelming extra-curricular activities I’ve undertaken that had better land me an internship. If things are meant to be, they will be. Try telling my mother that when she asks when she’ll be getting grandchildren, though…

     

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