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And like me, as Lianne reached her late thirties, still single and childless, she began to reconsider her more observant lifestyle when she found fewer men who were not put off by her career as a successful internist and/or men she found at her level of sophistication and worldliness.
"But not all choices, no matter how good our intentions, have the outcome we hope for or expect."Lianne's husband, Mark, a secular Jew, is an equal partner to his wife in many ways.He also wanted a Jewish household, but one that did not follow the strict rules of orthodoxy.Lianne admitted that before she met Mark, she was considering dating non-Jewish men."I was not planning on having a baby on my own, but I had to find love and I was determined.I met Mark through a colleague and I realize I am so very lucky to have met him when I did.A few years ago, I expected to marry a yarmulke-wearing Sabbath observer.
My family is not what I imagined, but it's so wonderful." As Jacob tugged on her necklace, Lianne added: "I am so grateful for this little guy, and for Mark, and to have been able to maintain a Jewish household as my parents did and their parents did."Earlier today, Pew Research released A Portrait of American Jewry, the first study of American Jewish life in over 10 years.
It seems love and marriage are more elusive than ever before for Jewish women and men in America.
Lianne, 41, took Jacob, her 4-month-old baby, out of his stroller and held him in her arms as we sat down for coffee on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
She and her husband, Mark, conceived Jacob just weeks after they were married about a year ago.
Like me, Lianne was once a more observant Jew, having become more religious in her twenties, attracted to family-style Sabbath dinners and holidays.
And like me, Lianne believed modern orthodox Jewish men would be more likely to want to marry and have children, which is what she and I both yearned for.