The Jewish fear of intermarriage

Isn’t the state of Israel pretty supportive of abortion rights? Fear of inter-marriage coupled with abortion-support makes no sense to me.

The racism, oy vey.

Well I would certainly rather my daughters date/marry a Catholic so I guess I have no room to criticize.

My husbands closest friend is a Jewish man named M. M’s parents are secular Jews. While they keep something of the traditions, they are not religious.

M met and wanted to marry a lovely Baha’i lady. To have their marriage recognized by her faith, the parents or eldest relatives have to sign a statement that they approve the marriage. To put it simply, the Baha’i faith is trying to preserve the sanctity of marriage by doing everything to ensure the newly married couple will have a better chance of staying married by having the approval and support of their families or origin. Makes sense to me! Without these statements from both families the marriage would not be recognized and this lovely lady wouldn’t be able to participate in her fully in her faith.

M’s family pitched a fit for months! You’d think he brought home a card carrying Nazi to present to the parents. I understand the Jewish faith goes through the maternal line and this would mean the grandchildren born of this union would not be Jews unless they decided to convert. I understand how this could be very upsetting to parents of adult children who want to marry outside of their faith. But I do think the reaction was a bit much, especially from a family that doesn’t practice their faith fully and is mostly Agnostic with a Jewish cultural identity. They waited until their son was over 30 and already living with and in love with a woman before letting their faith/cultural identity matter in everyday life and decisions.

From the article:
"The result, he adds, is that in America, “there’s a rapidly eroding sense of Jewish commitment, a complete collapsing of Jewish literacy, and a thinning of Jewish identity”.

I must disagree. I don’t think the problem is intermarriage. I think the problem is secular/cultural Jews who have lost faith and are raising their children not to think of being Jewish as a faith and a culture, but simply as a culture. It seems they are suffering from secularism as much as other faiths here in the U.S.

Intermarriage has always been a controversial issue in Judaism because of worries that the possible children won’t be reared Jewish, especially with a Jewish father. There’s 13 million Jews pretty evenly split in half by the United States and Israel, so it’s a small religion. I can see the concerns.

Many people who are considering interfaith marriage or dating casually dismiss any objections as prejudice, but there are some practical matters you should consider.

The Stereotypes
Why are you not seeking out a Jewish partner? If you ask many Jews why they don’t want to date other Jews, you will hear the ugliest list of antisemitic stereotypes this side of Nazi propaganda. They will tell you that Jewish men are cheap, neurotic mamma’s boys, not handsome and macho like gentile men. They will tell you that Jewish women are frigid, materialistic and plain, not fun and sexy like gentile women. Interestingly, the stereotypes you hear from gentiles seeking Jews are quite different: that Jewish men are good providers, that they treat women well, that they don’t abuse women or get drunk, and they don’t sleep around; that Jewish women are smart, level-headed and loyal, not bubble-headed bimbos. In fact, there are quite a lot of gentiles who have registered for JDate, a Jewish dating network, because they specifically want to date and marry a Jew. If you think the negative stereotypes don’t fit you, what makes you think they fit Jews of the opposite sex?

The Marriage
Where will you get married, who will perform the ceremony and how will it be performed? Most movements of Judaism don’t allow interfaith marriages to be performed in their synagogues, nor do they allow their rabbis to perform interfaith marriages, and before you casually dismiss this as bigotry, let’s remember: you’re the one who is imposing your beliefs (or lack of beliefs) on them, not the other way around. You’re asking them to put a religious stamp of approval on an act that has nothing to do with their religion. You might as well ask the rabbi to say “amen” to a blessing over a ham and cheese sandwich. But now that you know you may have to be married in a church: how do you feel about being married under a cross or crucifix? How will your relatives feel when they are told, “in Jesus’ name, let us say ‘Amen’,” as happened at an interfaith marriage in my family?

The Holidays
What will you do when Christmas and Chanukkah overlap? When Easter and Pesach overlap? Whose holiday will you celebrate? Will your gentile husband veto the annual Chanukkah visit to your parents because Christmas is more important, as happened to an intermarried friend of mine? Will your gentile wife be willing to cook and/or eat the cardboard meals of Pesach? Will your gentile spouse be willing to sit through the lengthy seder ritual at your parents’ house, or the lengthy High Holiday services?

The Children
How will the children be raised? The Jewish grandparents want a bris, and the gentile grandparents insist on baptism. The Catholic grandparents want the child to learn catechism while the Jewish grandparents are looking forward to the bar mitzvah. Many interfaith couples think they are being oh-so-enlightened by raising the children with both faiths and letting them choose. This makes about as much sense as asking your child to choose which parent’s surname he wants to keep: ultimately, you’re requiring the child to pick favorites with his parents. A Reform rabbi provides an excellent discussion of the problem here. Aside from that, the message you are giving your children is that none of it is real, that none of it matters, that religion is a Chinese menu and you can pick one from Column A and one from Column B. You are certainly welcome to believe that, but don’t expect your local church or synagogue to agree with you. Even the more liberal movements of Judaism don’t approve of bar mitzvah training for a child who is simultaneously receiving religious training in another faith, because it causes too much confusion for the child. If you want your children to learn about all faiths, don’t send them to bar mitzvah training; send them to a comparative religion class.
These are just a few of the more important considerations in interfaith relationships that people tend to gloss over in the heat of passion or in the desire to be politically fashionable.

I personally would be happy to marry a Jewish or Protestant lady.

But if that happened, it would be because she was someone I knew from my life, rather than someone I “went looking for” via the Church.

I imagine the equation looks the same (reading the other way?:):)) for Jews.

We live in a religiously plural world. Everybody knows many folks in other religions, including potential mates.


It’s a big issue in the Jewish community, and not only the Orthodox Jewish community. At the same time, it seems to be more of a generational issue, with middle-aged and elderly Jews disapproving, while younger Jews (those who are not Orthodox) are more tolerant of intermarriage.

when i took a discovering judaism class once, there were couples attending the class and usually the man was jewish and they were having their fiancees or girlfriends take the class in order for them to convert to judaism or to learn more about the jewish faith.

they do fear that intermarriage will eventually water down judaism or could water down the other faith of the other partner if the children are not taught the faith fully.

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