If you think the Jewish dating pool is tough out there in general, it’s even tougher for observant kohanim, who face stringent halachic restrictions on marriage.
While most people think that means virgins only, it’s much more complicated than that, says Tzvi Harry Gross, who organizes Frum SIngles events. There are different restrictions, with some loopholes. He says there are some rare circumstances where a divorced woman can be eligible. All of which can lead to some uncomfortable questions at Gross’s Speed Dating for Kohanim event this Sunday.
But Gross said most people will just have to take eligibility on faith. "We don’t do any screenings or background checks, there isn’t time. People just have to assume they are telling the truth," said Gross, 39, who is a kohen himself but divorced and not looking to remarry unless "the right person falls into my lap." He’s had kohen mixers twice before, resulting in a total of four marriages. So far, 18 dates for 18 kohanim are signed up for this week’s event. He insists on an even amount so that no one will be left alone. Couples will have about three minutes to click.
People are already making fun, but for observant singles it’s serious business. A friend of mine who is divorced recently told me of her frustration at having found a strong potential match that she couldn’t pursue because he is a kohen. For those kohanim who do marry outside halacha, their children coud be rendered inelligible for halachic Jewish marriage. Here is as detailed an account of kohanic marraige rules as you can probably get anywhere.
Gross should be congratulated for helping people who are committed to halacha find happiness.