I am the mother of a gay son. When he came out to me and his father, we were supportive – and not surprised. He recently moved back home after college, and my concern is that he’s not going to meet a Jewish boyfriend here, and that he might start dating non-Jews, or else move to a larger city. Are there many gay, Jewish young professionals in Cleveland, and if so, where are they?
– Looking For A Jewish Boyfriend For My Son
You sound like a loving and supportive mother. I can understand why your son felt comfortable sharing his identity with you, and why he chose to move home after college.
I invited Ken Schneck, the Jewish producer and host of the podcast This Show Is So Gay, and a Clevelander (he’s taken, gentlemen!), to share his response to your question.
There are many social venues for LGBT Clevelanders to connect, and there are also inclusive synagogues and Jewish networking opportunities, which I outline below.
I understand your trepidation with your son’s possible choices: finding someone who isn’t Jewish or moving. But both of these choices are possibilities, and your best bet is to do what you’ve done well already: accept his path into adulthood. Your love and support brought him home once, and with any luck, he’ll keep coming home to celebrate Jewish holidays with a kind and caring man for years to come.
Many local synagogues are LGBT-inclusive, and Chevrei Tikva is an LGBT chavurah that meets at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple for shabbat services on the third Friday of each month. Cleveland’s annual Pride Parade, monthly happy hours, and other LGBT social events are places for your son to make friends, and possibly meet eligible Jewish singles.
Let’s start with the plethora of good news: There are a ton of Jews in Cleveland, a ton of gay men in Cleveland, and there are a ton of single folks in Cleveland.
The tsuris comes with the bad news: there are not a ton of gay, Jewish singles in Cleveland. A quick jaunt through JSwipe and JDate (online/app-based dating sites for Jewish singles) highlights extraordinarily appealing future bridegrooms. Unfortunately, your son would have to save up his gas money as the closest ones geographically are in Chicago.
Yet not all hope is lost! New people move to Cleveland every day and the more connected your son is to the Jewish-related resources, the greater the chance he will be able to pounce on a newly relocated opportunity.
I did just that in 2014 and had scheduled a date with a Jewish bachelor within (no joke!) 36 hours of his arrival in Cleveland, having been pre-alerted to his relocation by my matchmaker friends. But a Star-of-David necklace does not a great boyfriend make. I quickly realized that while my parents breathed a sigh of relief at my catch, his on-paper faith was simply not enough to sustain a relationship.
Since then I have done heaps of soul-searching and even more heaps of dating. The incredible man upon whom I eventually stumbled is (gasp!) not Jewish. But he is a family-oriented, music-loving, social-justice-minded, community-service-dedicated, youth-empowering, spiritually centered gem of a catch. He is respectful and encouraging of my Judaism, and the utmost in supportive of my faith journey.
Although Jewish single gay men might be a limited population in Cleveland, single gay men who evince Jewish core values can be found all around the Rust Belt. And, trust me, men from that latter group are just as enjoyable in a hora as any of those gay Jews from Chicago.
Elana Averbach is passionate about helping people find love. As a dating coach and licensed therapist, she helps clients optimize their online dating profiles, overcome approach anxiety, challenge self-defeating beliefs and develop skills for building attraction. Learn more at kickstartlove.com.
Looking for love? Send your dating questions to AskElana@jstylemagazine.com.