Added: Dacey Cole - Date: 22.11.2021 11:28 - Views: 20040 - Clicks: 5463
Intermarriage has long been one of the most contentious issues in modern American Jewish life — and arguably one in which communal attitudes have changed most dramatically in recent decades. From Taboo to Commonplace Outside the Orthodox community, it is increasingly common — and accepted — for American Jews to marry partners from different faith backgrounds.
Time was, some parents cut off contact with children who intermarried or even sat shiva for them, the ritual observed when a loved one dies. Today, many American Jewish parents welcome non-Jewish sons- and daughters-in-law, and ificant s of non-Orthodox rabbis officiate at their weddings, though the Conservative movement still bars rabbis from doing so.
Growing s of intermarried Jews remain engaged in Jewish life and raise their children as Jews. The situation outside the Jewish community has changed as well. While anti-Semitism and a broader culture less open to interfaith and interracial marriage once prevented earlier generations of American Jews from intermarrying in large s, today interfaith and intercultural marriages of all kinds not just ones involving Jews are more common , with a study reporting that almost 40 percent of adults who married in the five years have a partner of a different faith.
In particular, the National Jewish Population Study , which reported that 52 percent of American Jews were intermarrying later analysis indicated that the more accurate was 43 percent , sparked much discussion about Jewish continuity and whether the Jewish population in America would all but vanish by assimilating into the larger culture. In the two decades following the study, many communal leaders debated the merits of reaching out and welcoming the intermarried, versus focusing on in-married Jews. In addition, the study sparked a wide range of Jewish education initiatives that were aimed at strengthening Jewish identity — and that were often touted as keys to preventing intermarriage.
In particular, many philanthropists and federations invested in Jewish day schools, summer camps, campus Hillels and, perhaps most notably, the Birthright Israel program, which offers free day trips to Israel. In the aftermath of the study, rabbis and other leaders debated how best to respond to the large s of already intermarried Jews and their children. Many, particularly in the Conservative movement, feared that officiating at interfaith weddings, accepting interfaith families or permitting intermarried Jews to hold leadership positions, were all tantamount to condoning intermarriage — and would only encourage more Jews to intermarry.
Others argued that intermarriage is not something over which the Jewish community has any control. While some leaders suggested that Jewish leaders be more aggressive about encouraging non-Jewish partners to convert to Judaism, others countered that such policies would alienate many people. In addition, while opponents of intermarriage pointed to statistics showing that intermarried Jews were less likely to raise their children within the faith, and were thus shrinking the ranks of the Jewish community, others argued that the intermarriage taboo and the perpetual hand-wringing about intermarriage were driving intermarried families — and liberal-minded young Jews — away, becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy.
While Jewish law stipulates that one must have a Jewish mother or undergo a conversion in order to be recognized as Jewish, the Reform movement in announced it would recognize as Jewish all children of intermarriage raised Jewish, regardless of the religion of the mother. The Reconstructionist movement adopted a similar policy three years earlier, in While such Jews are eligible to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return , which requires only Jewish ancestry, they face challenges marrying other Jews, being buried in Jewish cemeteries and with other religious issues.
For more information on this topic and help navigating these issues, . Amidst the hand-wringing and debates among Jewish leadership, growing s of rank-and-file Jews indicated they were comfortable with intermarriage. Now What? By the second decade of the 21st century, many observers were suggesting that the intermarriage wars were over, and that intermarriage had won. To be sure, opposition to intermarriage remains, particularly among more traditional Jews who believe it violates Jewish law and threatens the Jewish future. While many Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis officiate at interfaith marriages, ificant s do not, and few rabbis co-officiate with clergy of other faiths.
While a growing cohort of rabbis within the Conservative movement are seeking ways to welcome intermarried couples, their movement still bars them from officiating at interfaith weddings. Orthodox rabbis do not officiate at interfaith weddings. However, where Jewish communal discussion of intermarriage was one dominated by questions of how best to discourage young Jews from marrying out or, in a more positive spin, how to encourage them to marry within the Tribe , it has shifted largely to how best to engage Jews and their partners in Jewish life and encourage them to raise Jewish children.
Today most non-Orthodox synagogues and other Jewish institutions say they welcome interfaith families and encourage interested non-Jewish spouses to participate fully in their activities, regardless of whether or not they plan to convert. Some restrictions remain — the Reform and Conservative movements will not ordain rabbis who are intermarried, although in the Reconstructionist movement lifted a policy barring intermarried rabbis.
Non-Jewish partners, particularly non-white ones, sometimes report subtle discrimination or Jewish chauvinism in Jewish settings — or find it off-putting when congregants or rabbis assume everyone in the community is Jewish. In addition, not all synagogues allow non-Jewish partners as official members. Some also experience tensions or pressures from members of the non-Jewish side of the family.
As intermarriage has become more common, interfaith families are no longer a minority within the Jewish community, and those who wish to become involved in organized Jewish life face far fewer barriers than they once did. However, this population still faces some unique challenges — and it remains to be seen how high rates of intermarriage will affect the size and character of the American Jewish community over the long term.
Up. Discover More. Interfaith Which Jewish clergy will officiate at interfaith weddings? Some Jewish clergy perform intermarriages, but not all do.Mixed marriage jewish
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Jewish Ethics: Mixed Marriage & Intermarriage