About Me

Propaganda about Intermarriage

I realized that there is this very strong propaganda against intermarriage and its offspring which affects people’s misunderstanding of me and my family.

The common conception is that people who intermarry don’t care about their Judaism, their Jewish lineage, or are ashamed of it.  And the kids don’t grow up with any Judaism, especially  if the mom is the Jewish one. (It’s ironic that people who think in this way are so influenced by their patriarchal understanding of the world that they would assume this since most of those who are okay marrying a Jew tend to be a lot more liberal and egalitarian–in general.)

 

What people don’t realize is that often those who intermarry do care a whole lot about their Judaism and Jewish lineage etc., but it’s just not their top priority. Even if they didn’t care, often having kids suddenly gets them thinking and caring a lot. Another factor that many people don’t realize is that if the Jewish person married a non-Jewish person who falls into the majority population, they tend to care a lot less about their religious or ethnic “heritage” than the Jewish person who has (often, though not always) grown up a religious or ethnic minority.

 

Hence, to leap to the conclusion that someone born of a Jewish and non-Jewish union must become non-Jewish is a HUGE leap. There is a lot more factors involved and it’s not an easy or simple equation.

 

The gender combo of the Jewish and non-Jewish couple is sort of relevant and sort of not. Really, the only place where it makes a clear difference is in halakha. I find that those who “convert” to Judaism because they had a non-Jewish mother, often share similar sensibilities as me anyway. I call them technical converts because, really, in so many ways, they are just that. Just technically (by halakhic standards) “not Jewish.”

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