Straight Into Their Arms

I would like to address an extremely complicated and unfortunate topic which affects us all, one I’ve come to know too well in my years of matchmaking and community service: why are so many Jewish men consistently choosing, often by default, to be with non-Jewish women when there are literally hundreds of available Jewish women in St. Louis ALONE?

The phrases I hear almost daily are basically the same:

Non-Jewish women are easier~lower maintenance~nicer~sweeter

Jewish women are demanding~jappy~high maintenance~spoiled~entitled . . .

These perceptions are not always accurate, and they absolutely do not describe every Jewish woman! But what has happened to us as a group? Are Jewish men just selfish and superficial? Is this the result of our dysfunctional society or our culture with its emphasis on material acquisitions, or our skewed values? Are too many Jewish women domineering and critical, demanding b—-es?

We women must take a look at ourselves and make some adjustments to address this ubiquitous problem in the world as we watch the Jewish population age and shrink. Do many of us fit the stereotype of the loud, whiny, shrill Jewish American Princess, often with a hard-edged personality? Could this be one contributing factor to the fifty percent divorce rate and the fifty percent intermarriage rate, and to the bigger picture of the decline in American and world Jewry?

In other articles, I have addressed topics such as our appearance but really more important are our behavior patterns. In the past few generations, many Jewish women have developed some manners that are not especially appealing and definitely not behaviors which attract most Jewish men. A lot of habits go back to the old country where women held the family together and perhaps out of necessity had to adopt certain traits.

The way the world has become is that in order for a woman to be successful, especially in certain previously male-dominated fields, she sometimes must become aggressive and even nasty. It seems that she must take on characteristics which are not feminine and therefore not appealing to most Jewish men. How to rectify this discrepancy? Men want “sweet and soft,” descriptions I hear almost every day, and Jewish women seem to have abandoned those characteristics or never acquired them, virtually forcing Jewish men, including the Jewish women’s sons, farther and faster into the arms of the sweet and soft (and often slim!) non-Jewish shiksas-I hate that word!!!

One such man I was matching and coaching is tall and personable, with good education and profession and sense of humor, qualities which Jewish women say they want. After meeting almost two dozen Jewish women, for one date or for a few months, he hoped several times that he’d found Ms. Right. He came up against so much entitlement, jappiness, and high maintenance that one day he walked out, practically right into the arms of a non-Jewish woman who is sweet, soft, slim, and low-maintenance. They are both very happy, to my great dismay.

What have we done? The bossier, louder, and heavier the Jewish women become, the more our behavior repels many Jewish men. It’s all right for men to be a little heavy and not have great personalities, but they still demand a slim, sweet, soft woman and they find it–in a much less demanding non-Jewish woman. The Jewish women are a little heavy and men won’t even stop to determine if they’re sweet and soft!

Can Jewish women have both, a wonderful profession and a strong Jewish marriage? A resounding YES. We must find the difficult balance by working hard at career, never slacking off in our appearance and our manner. We must keep it up throughout our marriage and our entire lives. But it is a worthwhile endeavor-for a result much bigger than each of us. So why are the attractive, desirable Jewish women running to non-Jewish men? That’s for another article. For now, let’s be accountable to our people and figure out how to reverse our destiny.

Warm regards, 



  1. My Jewish female friends do not fit the stereotype of being demanding and high maintenance. They are sweet and are not bossy. Its sad that Jewish men assume that all Jewish women are aggressive and feel superior to them. Consequently, they pass up great opportunities to meet and form a relationship with genuine,caring and loving Jewish women.

    • You’re right, Melody! What a sad commentary about us. I’ve written many articles about how ridiculously selective the men are. However, there are so many women and so few men, that the situation is so out of balance and therefore skewed. Oh well, I will keep doing what I can to help.

  2. CarolynFoster

    I think a lot of it has to do with Womens Lib-which was of my generation. Some of it also is that some jewish women are JAPS. I don’t thinkI am one of them. Also some Jewish women still be in that their prince will come. Paula- 2 of our friends don’t fir the above stereo type- the late Esther, and our friend Barb. Carolyn

  3. Paula, I like your comments. As an experienced marriage counselor, I think there are a lot of reasons people get together or don’t get together. What I have learned is that the things that turn us off about other people usually turn out to be the defenses. We all have defenses because we are afraid of being hurt, some people more than others. I wonder if when we are turned off by someone’s bossiness or heaviness or whatever, rather than shun that person, talk openly about how scary it is to get to know a new person and open oneself up to the possibility of getting hurt. It is certainly true that some people are offensive in these defenses and if relationships aren’t working out, take a look at what you might do differently. On the other hand, I wonder about how critical some people are that they become so rejecting of someone else being less than perfect. I like the researcher and author, John Gottman, PhD on relationships. He warns against the Four Horsemen of the Apocalyse when it comes to relationships: avoid criticism; contempt; defensiveness; and stonewalling. I agree with John, the more of these we use to protect ourselves, the more destructive it is to relationships.

  4. tobie Hupert

    I enjoyed your article, however, when a person is widowed, and
    the woman meets a widower, it is the adult children that are the
    judges. What does she want,? from our father, and unless he is
    able to explain to his children and try to make a life for
    himself and tell his children to “back off”, he will never be
    happy because they are the judges and in control. I’ve also
    heard that men in their 60-75 want a “purse with a nurse”.!!!
    Don’t bother his money, but take care of him. What a BAD deal
    for a woman. She is lowering her standards for companionship.

  5. You say women must be slim to attract Jewish men.
    Not all women are slim and many are not capable of becoming your ideal “slimness” due to genes or health issues, for example.
    To try to mold oneself into something one is not (to adopt a fake sweet persona, for example) is not only forcing oneself into a stereotypical mold of what one believes every Jewish man wants (and one cannot know what every Jewish man wants), it is self defeating.
    I do believe everyone should always be their best selves when presenting themselves,if possible, but to make oneself into what one is not is uncomfortable and can lead to one becoming self- conscious.
    By the way, there are men who prefer women who are “b–s”.
    There’s even a book about that subject at the library.
    For every pot there is a lid and I believe one should be oneself-one’s best self–at all times to avoid marrying someone who isn’t really right for them.
    Yes, most men probably do prefer slim, sweet and passive women.
    But not all.
    There are more than one kind of men in this world as there are more than one kind of women.
    We shouldn’t all try to fit into a certain stereotype just to catch “a” man.
    We should all try to be ourselves–our best selves–in order to land “the” man for us.

    • Hi, AJ, and thanks for your comment. I agree with everything you said, except that I don’t think men are necessarily looking for passive women. Both men and women seek someone with whom they can bond emotionally. As I said, it’s all so complex.

  6. Michael Dubowsky


    First of all, thank you for writing about a topic that’s increasing in importance. However, your article falls apart precisely where you write, “It’s all right for men to be a little heavy and not have great personalities, but they still demand a slim, sweet, soft woman.” I am a man, and I have to say, it’s NOT all right for men to be a little heavy and not have a great personality but to still demand a slim, sweet, soft woman. A man who deserves such a woman should keep himself in good shape and have a solid, if not suave, personality. However, as long as they are also able to provide a good life financially for their partner, such men do deserve a feminine, slim, and sweet woman, and that does not include what I have found to be many of the Jewish women of today. Once I started dating Asian women, the contrast was absolutely stunning. And no, I do not think all Asian women are docile and submissive – trust me, my girlfriend often “hocks” me, too – but there is a big difference between the behavior of a majority (though not all) of the Jewish women I have dated and my Korean girlfriend.

    I do agree with your assertions that many Jewish women have developed non-feminine traits that are off-putting to Jewish men and applaud your call for women to try to, essentially, be more feminine. I also urge men to do their part to be successful financially so they can provide the very best for their women, and to do the things they should do so the woman stays happy – e.g., helping with chores voluntarily as much as possible. At the same time, I believe there are wonderful, sweet, sexy Jewish women out there, but that they have become more “diamonds in the rough” than the norm.

    By both genders doing their part, I truly believe we can move back to the “old normal” and decrease the intermarriage rate.

    Thank you again for your article.

  7. I find it interesting that you are laying this all on the Jewish women. Perhaps you should take a look at the traits of Jewish men that are leading them to this conclusion. Of course, we, as women, may have to do something about this negative perception. But, in my experience, Jewish men are often wimpy, dictated to by their mothers, immature, needy, emotionally inaccessible, have unrealistic expectations, and have excuses for everything.

    I recognize that this is as much of a stereotype as the one presented about women. There are plenty of warm, mature, realistic, loving men out there. And many of them feel common religious beliefs are a foundational element to a good relationship. But the point is that if women end up alone, it may not be their fault at all.

    All of your adjectives can be turned into something quite positive. Jewish women are often strong, independent, and willing to work hard for what they want. If they appear whiney or needy, they’re not getting what they need from their partner, in my opinion, and all the mature discussions that they may attempt to have get no results so they regress into something that appears to be whiney and harsh. Many of us work hard for what we’ve achieved and to generalize and say we’re entitled and spoiled is like the pot calling the kettle black. In my opinion, the same can be said of the men.

    It’s unfortunate that men generalize the way we do. I cannot imagine that gentile women are any less needy or less entitled or, if they are, I doubt it has anything to do with the religion in which they were raised. I truly resent that this is perceived as Jewish-based behavior, and while I don’t expect that this column will change their behavior, I do take issue with you perpetuating this image and guilting women for being who they are. Yes – behavioral traits can be changed with a great deal of work. But I’d sure like to understand what “jappy” really means these days.

    If feels to me that you may have put these men on the spot and these are the generalizations they came up with. If two people don’t click, it’s probably because they have different expectations for a relationship. Their religion shouldn’t play into that.

    I wonder if you had asked a number of non-Jewish men why they were having problems finding the right woman if they might not say the exact same things (except perhaps the term jappy). This isn’t a religious issue; this is an issue of men not finding what they want in a relationship.

  8. Rachel

    I believe that what we are dealing with is a cultural issue. I am a Shiksa and my husband married me many years ago after Jdate had failed him for 5 years. After meeting one of his female Jewish friends, I said, “Wow, she’s very intelligent and gorgeous too.” He said, “you haven’t seen what she is really like and women like her are why I married you.” I didn’t think that was very nice because, even though I had not spoken with her long, I found her charming. So I wanted to know what he had against her. (She was in her late 30’s and never married). He said that even though they never dated, she doled out constant unwanted advice, nit picked, and debated any opinion he had, even if it was something as simple as preferring blue shirts to white. She was also always quizzing him about money. He was in a top profession and found most made it clear they liked him only for that. It could be true because he is a geek. He collects comic books, reads constant sci-fi books, and can recite every line from Lord of the Rings. He was never interested in an expensive wedding, designer clothing, or looking like a stud. Then he met me. I had a job and made as much as him. I had a Master’s degree. But, most of all, I am also a geek and we love going through comic book collections. When we got married, I asked for the smallest diamond possible and we eloped. We put the spare cash into a mortgage. I have never expected anything from him. I don’t yell, I don’t swear, and I am a decent listener. But I also met his appearance requirement since I work out and look after myself. I look at my husband’s mother. She could not be more opposite to myself. To her, her husband is all about meeting Soli her needs and so he spends a lot of time at work. When he is home, she spends the entire time nitpicking and yelling at him. My husband says that he never saw a single kindness directed toward his father coming from his mother. He finds this incredibly disturbing. She runs the house and makes no bones about it. Now, I am no dorm out, but I have the attitude that no one owes me anything and that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Culturally speaking, I was raised to be this way by my parents. I was raised by a mother who modeled grace and cordiality. There was no yelling in my house and we were taught to listen respectfully and to share our opinion respectfully without yelling or saying rude things. This is why my husband says he married me. He says he was so traumatized by an overbearing and unkind mother, he was determined to find her opposite.

  9. Jeanine

    I am a Jewish woman who has yet to meet a Jewish man with even the most BASIC SOCIAL SKILLS AND MANNERS. This is not being a JAP, Paula–it’s basic to any social interaction. I find your column to be a total bashing of Jewish women and frankly, you are not a help. I resent the JAP moniker; it’s bad enough that anti-Semitic bigots use this SLUR, but must you do the same?
    I am NOT a JAP. I put myself through two college degrees and a few doctoral hours. I have had a successful professional career and am now on my second career. While I am not a JAP; I am not what these men are seeking–namely ‘sweet and soft.’ The description of ‘sweet and soft’ is code for A HUMAN DOORMAT. While I do not argue at the drop of a hat, and I do possess social skills; I am not going to admire every time Mr. Perfect grows whiskers. I am not angry at these men; I am angry at you. You persist in maintaining a negative stereotype of Jewish single women which makes the hypocritical self-loathing of Jewish men–socially acceptable. These men aren’t honest enough to admit that they are embarrassed by their own ethnicity and are looking for something ‘whiter’ and ‘non-ethnic’. In short, they hate Jewish women because it reminds them of their own ethnic self-loathing–so they look for ‘Marsha Brady.’
    Your articles only serve to blame single Jewish women, rather than supporting them. Have you EVER paid attention to what is happening in your own mixers? I have walked in, (my makeup and hair was done); been pleasant, attempted to engage these men in a MUTUAL conversation–only to be shot down rudely. These men are RUDE AND STUPID. Sorry, but your article really infuriated me. I feel that you have relied on old metaphors like ‘Sex and the City’–a series from the NINETIES. Some of us would like a nice conversation but the men who show up have no clue.
    PS: Not all of us are looking for white wedding dress.
    I feel like you need to pay attention to your mixers and SEE AND HEAR what is going down. You may find that these men have no social skills and that is inexcusable.
    One last thing; for the record–I know of many men who like zoftig women, but these are men who are not insecure in their own masculinity. By their standard, Marilyn Monroe would have been unacceptable.
    Really Paula; talk to the ladies–not all of us are JAPS. We have enough anti-Semitic enemies out there–do you have to feed this anti-Semitic stereotype of our women?

  10. Malcolm

    “They are both very happy, to my great dismay.”

    Right. Tells us all we need to know about you . . .

  11. mehitabel

    I’ve enjoyed reading these insights. I’m a non-Jewish guy, but have always enjoyed things jewish. I recently renewed a strictly platonic friendship with an old chess buddy — a middle-aged jp with many health problems. I’ve been very happy to be part of her support team with rides to dr’s appts, sitting in waiting rooms, being company and support. BUT I have watched this woman establish social dominance in every medical setting. She has consistently felt entitled to treat these people as her servants. If kitchen staff fail to remove ham from her salad — they are “nazi’s.” We’ve had conversations that have confirmed her racism, viciousness, arrogance, and total fragility. She keeps her fingernails too long and always filthy as a sign she can’t do anything menial. She told her mom about me and her mom said “god must have put him in your path for a reason.” And she was right — god put her there for me so I could see how much worse things could be — and I should get into gear and find a sweet, decent, kind, normal woman.

  12. Richard Stewart

    I stumbled into your site chasing down the definition of the word “jappy.” I find the information contained herein rather amusing.

    As a goy, but one that grew up tightly knit within the Jewish community, I had noticed this domininate trait among the women. In the 60’s, I was a lifeguard at a predominately (80-90%) Jewish club, The Spa, at the now defunct Hotel Roosevelt pool in Jacksonville, Florida.

    As much as I loved those folks, the women fit the author’s observation to a tee. One of my best friends was a Jewish boy, the sin of a pawn broker. We lived in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood (60%) and sensed the same. 20 years later I found myself working for a Jewish family in a pawn shop through a quirky set of circumstances but in part due to my past association with my childhood friend. The women were very much the same. I partied at their house, the family was in tune. By the way, his wife was jacksonville’s Best caterer in my opinion.

    My exposure was so tight I almost converted but my faith in Whom you believe is coming and we believe has come was too strong. But my love for the people remain and perhaps has even grown over the years. I said all that to say this…..Jewish men can’t ask for anything better than a Jewish woman. However, I am in full agreement with the author…..just as the best steak, you have to trim excess fat off but leave enough on to give it that heavenly flavor.

  13. Matilda

    Hey there. I am the Shiksa that Jewish men are drawn to. I grew up in a predominately Jewish neighborhood. Most of my friends are Jewish and most of the men I have been with have been Jewish. First kiss, jewish boy, First time, Jewish boy, First husband …. jewish. I was raised Catholic but, I am no longer involved at all. I was given a choice to continue when I was 18 and chose not to.

    Every Jewish man that I have been with has fallen madly in love with me then broke our hearts because the stress and the pressure from family members was too much to bare. If people would just let people fall in love with who they naturally fall in love with, it would be great. I know the drive to keep the tribe alive is huge. But, if jewish mothers really want their children to be happy, why would you set limitations on who they can love or, more importantly, who can love them.

    Go out. Meet a nice person. Don’t set limitations on your love. Just love.

  14. I remember when I met my Jewish husband he didnt want any part of dating a ‘Jewish woman’. He was married to one once, and said never again. I was the total opposite he said. I never understood because most of my friends growing up were Jewish (Israeli). After we married we moved to a wealthy Jewish area.. I now understand. I fully understand. But I dont believe it is limited to Jewish women. My Israeli friends are very similar to me.. and they too want nothing to do with ‘jappy’ jews. I think the ego centric, self absorbed, dominating and aggressive jewish female isnt born that way.. rather molded by new money parents who bought her everything and molded her into what she is. I believe it is from being insecure in her skin. That is not at all limited to jewish women. New money Europeans, and new money minorities in general are the same. They try to one up, stand out, boast, and tell off anyone who would ever threaten their fragile ego. I live in a wealthy jewish area so I absolutley see it with the jewish women here..every single day in fact. BUT I also know Europeans and Asians who are EXACTLY the same way. I do think there is one difference. I do believe in general Jewish people are raised to question, to ‘argue’ points, speak up, and raised to believe their opinions matter. It isnt exactly a terrible thing for the most part. In temple, when I have gone.. it is interesting to see the rabbi ask what something means to a boy as he is reading for his bar mitzvah, to give alternate view points and to discuss things to great lengths.. there is none of that in any Catholic sermon.. there is no asking, no alternate view point.. no deep discussion on meaning. You’re raised to know your opinion doesnt matter. You’re raised to not question, not ask and def not pry or gossip. You are raised to be submissive. Asian cultures are similar as are many middle eastern cultures so the constant questions and ‘arguments ‘ and of course ‘suggestions’ have really been a hard pill for me to swallow.. and has caused a rift in my family. My husbands family finds me cold because ‘I dont let them in’ I find them ‘nosey and overbearing’… they are not bad people.. but that is definitely a huge difference in our culture I must say.

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