I’m dating a guy who I think I could really fall for. Problem is, he keeps kosher and I do not, nor am I interested in starting.
I’m wondering if I’ve invested too much time in this relationship already. I really like being around him and he makes me happy. But when it comes to this kosher thing, we have already had some uncomfortable discussions and the conversation always ends with, “let’s agree to disagree,” and nothing gets solved. Do you think that two people can make it together if one is kosher and the other is not?
Dear Kosher Complication,
Religion is very personal. It is a core value that guides an individual’s daily routine. What is acceptable to one person
may be totally unacceptable to another. So the question is: where do the two of you stand as far as your commitment to religion? Is there a way to compromise? If this is going to work, it will require communication, respect, sacrifice and acceptance from both parties. Many couples manage this quite well and even raise families under similar circumstances. It’s not ideal, but it is doable if you both want to make it work.
First, there is no compromise on keeping a kosher home. You can’t have a home that’s a little kosher or kosher-style – that doesn’t exist in kashrut.
From your letter, it sounds like you would rather walk than go all-in when it comes to kashrut, so that puts the onus on your partner to adjust outside the home.
When you dine out, travel or are at a party, is your partner willing to eat vegetarian options, while you chow down on steak and potatoes? It all depends on how much your partner is willing to deviate from the laws of kashrut.
Many people who consider themselves kosher will eat fish, pasta or vegetarian options out of the home. Talk to him and see if this is an option that he would be willing to entertain. If you see a future with this man, you’d best both do some soul-searching and see if either of you can change your core beliefs. Find a meeting of the minds and you have a chance. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
My mother suffered a stroke just over a year ago. She still walks with a limp and her speech is affected, but improving. Mom is very proud and determined and I have no doubt that she will overcome this. Before her stroke, she had a large network of friends. They would go to the theatre, play cards, go on trips, go out for dinner and enjoy each other’s company.
Where are these friends now? Since her stroke, they have slowly disappeared. Fortunately, my dad has been her pillar, but some of his friends have shied away, too. My heart hurts for them. How can I help them so they don’t feel so isolated?
Dear Disappointing Friends,
Your mom’s perseverance navigating this difficult journey shows her great strength and courage, a trait that would make her a great friend to keep.
People are odd. Perhaps your mom’s friends don’t love her any less, but the dynamic of their relationship has been altered. Just as your family is experiencing new challenges and changes, these friendships are undergoing a metamorphosis, as well. Avoidance is easier. Facing reality can make them feel vulnerable and awkward. They don’t know what to say or how to act.
Have your mom make the first step by reaching out to them. Plan a dinner party and invite them, so they can see that she’s still the same person who loves life and fun. Break down those nervous barriers, so they can explore a new normal in their relationships.
Another option would be to connect with new people who understand what your mom is going through, possibly through a support group. Your love for each other as a family will see you through this new chapter in your lives