Tuesday, October 31, 2017


A new article in the Forward asks 22 rabbis (of all denominations) "Is Intermarriage a Problem or an Opportunity?".

Here are my own thoughts on the topic, as a halachic Jew who generally (but not exclusively) affiliates with Orthodoxy.

It's a difficult balance. Intermarriage in Judaism should be managed through a positive process - that of raising children to be Jewishly engaged and literate, and to value the Jewish community. With that done, a child will hopefully choose to marry someone who will be a partner in the Jewish journey, and that will typically be another Jew, though not always. But people are not statistics. As adults they have individual autonomy and will choose who to marry on their own. Instilling them as children with Jewish values will inform the choices they make when dating.

A bigger issue than intermarriage is Jewish engagement, and while that may have some correlation with intermarriage, intermarriage is more often a symptom, not the cause of Jewish disengagement. And there are certainly some intermarried couples whose children are very Jewishly engaged.

The issue of the Jewish status of children of a Jewish man and a non-Jewish woman is, I admit, a more serious question. How should Orthodox communities approach interaction and education of those children? No easy or blanket answers.

1 comment:

  1. " . . . intermarriage is more often a symptom, not the cause of Jewish disengagement."

    Yep. See here: