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“Jewish leaders younger than 40 aren’t as bent out of shape about intermarriage as their older colleagues.” That’s how Sue Fishkoff, for the JTA, introduced for blog post about a recent finding in the study Generation of Change: How Leaders in their Twenties and Thirties are Reshaping American Jewish Life.
Fishkoff continued, summarizing the finding as:
In keeping with the millennial generation’s non-exclusivist ideology, these younger Jewish leaders don’t see intermarriage in quite the same light as Jewish leaders over 40 do: “Older establishment leaders tend to view intermarriage as a threat to Jewish life and as a violation of long-standing communal norms. During interviews, younger nonestablishment leaders described intermarriage as an obstacle to Jewish participation, but felt it could be overcome with genuine commitment and involvement. Moreover, they tended to believe that the Jewish community is unwise or not entitled to take a stance on personal choices such as marriage.”
If that is how young Jewish leaders feel, you can imagine how non-leaders feel.
If you want the rundown on the study, but don’t have the time to read through all of it, allow me to offer some highlights:
In other words…
The ways these young leaders think about the relationship between Jews and non-Jews, their desire to include the latter in programs, and their openness to intermarried Jews will further erode previously held boundaries of Jewish life. Indeed, the importance of maintaining boundaries between Jews and non-Jews is already being questioned. This new outlook poses particular challenges to some of the denominations, but more generally will require institutions to consider how to approach boundary issues.
It sounds, to me, like this could be a shift in the right direction for all Jews, and their not Jewish friends and family, who are looking for inclusive and welcoming, innovative and meaningful communities.
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