We’re not the only bloggers who have picked up on the implications of the news from Boston that 60 percent of intermarried families there are raising their children Jewish:
Out of Boston comes a study by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies, whose visionary leadership has actually transformed the landscape of Jewish identity and interfaith families by simply doing what’s right: investing in the choices that people make and as a result, more interfaith families in the Boston area make Jewish choices and raise their kids as Jews than in any other area of North America.Similar changes are being seen in San Francisco as well, which also invests heavily in outreach to intermarried families.
It’s clear from the evidence that this type of communal spending priority yields great results, creates more open and welcoming choices for people, and, for those concerned with a Jewish population erosion in the face of assimilation and intermarriage, can actually reverse certain trends.
While I believe that there has to be a formal process to becoming Jewish, maybe more observant Jews should reach out to interfaith couples instead of shunning them as “goyim.” There are even some circles in the Reform movement that are starting to practice kashrus and shomer shabbos.
When you see interfaith couples turning to Judaism to raise their children Jewish, this is an opening and an opportunity to embrace and support our more secular Jews who are looking to return. And it is an opportunity for more traditional observant Jews to learn from secular Jews with more progressive views such as gay rights and female ordination.
Intermarriage is often presented as the End of the Jewish People or, at the very least, the cause of a reduction in the size of the Jewish community. However, a new study of Boston released by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) and the Steinhardt Social Research Institute shows that with an emphasis on outreach to the intermarried, this is not the case at all.
As more note-worthy posts come up, we’ll keep you, eh, posted.
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