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Yesterday’s Boston Sunday Globe magazine “Coupling” column by Alison Lobron provides an illuminating perspective on how young adult Jews think about interdating and intermarriage.
Alison describes herself as a “not-very-active Jew” who had no Bat Mitzvah, no Hebrew lessons, and no family tradition of Jewish holidays. After a two-year relationship with a “not-very-active Protestant” on which religion had little impact broke up, friends suggested Alison enter Boston’s lively Jewish social scene.
She relates how the first time she went to services at a synagogue known as a young-adult mixing spot, she felt that she “barely counted as Jewish,” “spent most of the evening searching the prayer book for a nonexistent English translation,” felt lonely when two people assumed she was an out-of-town, non-Jewish guest of someone, and felt that she didn’t have much in common with “people with whom I was supposed to share a culture.”
Those of us who are interested in encouraging Jewish choices among young adults who are interdating or likely to interdate can draw many lessons about effective programmatic responses from Alison’s short account:
The organized Jewish community should capitalize on the opportunity presented by young adult Jews like Alison Lobron, who are not willing to restrict their dating to Jews and expect that their intended one can come from “any number of tribes,” but see their Jewish identity as something that to reconcile and sort out with that partner.
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