Getting to know millennials across the Middle East.
How old are you?
Where is your family from?
Where do you live now?
What industry do you work in?
What religion do you practice?
What is your sexual orientation?
Are you single, married or dating?
How religious would you say you are, and why do you think you feel this way?
Tough question. I was brought up as a traditional but not observant Jew, attending an Orthodox synagogue and Jewish high school. To some I am religious for keeping a kosher home, to others I am not as I share it my fiance and we are obviously not yet married.
Where do you live and what is it like to date there?
I live in Tel Aviv. There are two rules of the city. Everyone smokes weed and everyone sleeps with everyone. Dating is a nightmare!
Do you feel like your engagement with sexuality and dating is influenced more by your family or your friends?
I think it actually has more to do with my sensabilities. I was a very innocent child and teenager. Although I had friends who didn’t have sex before they married, I also had friends who were sexually active in some sort of way anywhere from 15 upwards. I, on the other hand, had crushes but I wasn’t interested in more than a kiss from a guy until I was at least 17 and probably not comfortable with it fully until I was at university.
Do you date within your religion only? Your sect?
Having mixed in mostly Jewish social circles my entire life, even at a non religious university, naturally I have mostly dated only Jewish guys. Although there were a few dalliances…
It was important to me to be with someone in a serious way that supported Orthodox Judaism in terms of a ‘sect’.
Are your friends mostly Muslim, Christian, Jewish etc?
Most of my friends are Jewish.
Are you a virgin?
Were you sexual despite being a virgin (when you were a virgin)?
Somewhat. A guy once told me that I kissed very intensely and that it would change once I had lost my virginity because it would release my apparent sexual tension! I wonder if he were right.
At what age did you lose it? Was it a difficult decision?
I was 20. Not at all, at one point I naively thought I may wait for marriage but other than that it was important to me to be in a committed relationship. Although the guy turned out to be quite nasty in the end, at the time I felt very safe and cared for.
Were you in a relationship or was it random?
Did you have any feelings of guilt afterwards or did you feel liberated?
Neither. It hurt!
Do you think you want to end up with someone who has similar beliefs as you do? Are your beliefs fundamentally organized religiously?
I am engaged to a Jewish man which was definitely a choice, especially one who feels Judaism is an important part of our life together. I originally thought to answer that my beliefs are organised by religion but I’m pro choice and definitely do not believe there is anything wrong with being gay so perhaps not so much.
Do you identify more with other Jews your own age or do you talk about this stuff with people of different religions/sexual orientations?
I would treat a friend as a friend. I have explained my desire to be with someone Jewish to my non Jewish friends and they completely understand so I feel I can talk openly to a friend of any faith without judgement.
Does your mom know the answers to these questions? Would your parents be mad at you for this stuff?
She probably does. They wouldn’t be mad.
What would they probably say/advise?
My Dad might be horrified that I have been so open and definitely would not want to read this. My mum would say, “just don’t get pregnant”.