What accounts for the steadily rising rates of intermarriage over the past 50 years?
What are the chances that children of a mixed marriage will grow up identifying with Judaism? This lecture explores this disturbing development and offers the Jewish community some positive suggestions to help turn this crisis around. Questions should be directed to [email protected]
The following is a brief write up about the Video:
Today probably the greatest threats to Jewish community are primarily internal, in the sense that the problems are more self-inflicted than external. Assimilation has grown to the point where not long ago there was a full-page advertisement in a Jewish periodical that predicted that if you’re Jewish chances are your grandchildren won’t be and for unfortunately a great number of Jewish people today that is the sad reality. In1990, there was a Jewish population study out of New York that found 12% of American Jews were practicing a religion other than Judaism so these are people who were ethnically biologically (in terms of their family) were born to Jewish families but are now being raised as Jews. 41% are being raised as Christians, 31% with no religion whatsoever in these mixed marriages. 20% of the students of the children are receiving some form of Jewish education. Approximately 70 percent of families where both parents are Jewish, who give their children at least some Jewish education. Of the children in mixed marriages only24 percent identify themselves as Jews, 81 percent say it’s not really that important to be part of the Jewish community and the most disturbing statistic is and this has been borne out in many studies that over 90% of the children of intermarried families will themselves intermarry in 1/3 generational study that was done in Philadelphia. None of the grandchildren of mixed marriages identified as Jews. In truth I don’t believe that intermarriage is really the problem we need to deal with. I believe that ultimately intermarriage is a symptom of the real underlying problem. I have had many teenage arguments and discussions with my parents about inter dating and intermarriage and I would want to know like what is the hang-up and what the problem was with dating non-Jews. My parents would say because you’re Jewish and Judaism is the longest living religion. By 2100 there may be less than a million Jews in North America where the only ethnic group in North America whose numbers are diminishing so I believe that if there is any silver lining in this crisis. It’s the possibility that it will serve as a wake-up call you know back in the 1970s. In 1990 when the D’Amato demographers released their reports that the Jewish intermarriage rate had climbed over 50% there was the beginning of awakening in the Jewish community, there were meetings, committees, studies, surveys and reports about Jewish community. I’m not sure there’s been a lot of real change if anything positive can happen as a result of the crisis that we’re going through it will only be if it helps wake up our community and so my blessing to all of us as a community, as individuals, as families, as synagogues, as Jewish institutions we can turn this around. There is light at the end of the tunnel. We as a community can wake up, it’s happened before there have been revolutions and revivals in the Jewish world, if we have a generation of people that are concerned about this we have a generation of people that still have the ability to turn this boat around. We should see much not us from our children and grandchildren in the years ahead.