It's amazing how long a person can remain aloof to the things around him. I was so interested in comic books, sports and girls that I was practically oblivious to the real world. Fortunately I had - in my best friend Danny - a friend that was much more aware than I could ever hope to be. Plus he was Jewish, and he educated me in all things regarding the Jewish faith, and jewish single girls.
Over 30 years later, I don't claim to remember a lot of what he explained to me. I do recall that he was deep into preparing for his Bar Mitzvah and he was pretty nervous about it. Seems he had to repeat an awful lot of orthodox Jewish text at this affair. It was a "Danny becomes a man" kind of ceremony. And I was invited. Myself and a whole lot of jewish single girls.
It was at the Bar Mitzvah that I met Shelly Horowitz. Her father owned a "We Buy Gold" shop on the beach and her mother was into real estate. She was fresh faced and full of freckles. And loved to talk. An extrovert jewish single girl if ever I knew one. Considering that only a few years earlier I was so shy as to be considered chronically underdeveloped, it was great to find someone who was able to pull me out of myself to such a degree. I wouldn't call it love. But there was definitely great interest.
Over the course of the Bar Mitzvah, Shelly put up with my endless string of dumb questions. She tried to put into perspective the importance of the Jewish faith in the life of a young jewish single girl and orthodox jewish singles. I was Italian and blue collar all the way down to my shoes, so a lot of it didn't make sense to me. But I smiled and tried to look interested while I fantasized about Shelly being my girlfriend. If only my parents could see me now I thought: An Italian American and a jewish single doing some crazy line dance, the name of which escapes me.
The afternoon was passing much too quickly. Shelly explained to me who the orthodox jewish singles at the Bar Mitzvah were. They were easy to see. Wearing their small Talmud caps with their long jerry-curls bobbing up and down on the sides of their heads. I may have thought it looked silly, but I was starting to understand that this was all very serious stuff, rooted in thousands of years of history and tradition.
I was happy to see my friend Danny did his part without any major flaws. He recited what he had memorized in a flawless way. I think while I watched I may have innocently let me hand slip down around Shelly's. We may have even exchanged a glance or two in a way that only two 13 year olds can. And she told me that she wanted to introduce me to her mother and father before the day was over.
My initial impression was there were not very receptive. When it comes to Jewish dating, I don't think an Italian boy fit the bill. In fact, if a Jewish dating checklist exists, I don't believe you'll find Italian youth in one of the checked boxes. That didn't stop Shelly and me from seeing each other. We kept it low key; meeting at the beach or the mall and away from her parents prying eyes. We even made it to the drive-in. but that's a story for another time and place.
There should be 'jewish dating agencies '