There is extraordinary news this morning: according to a demographic study of Boston’s Jewish community released today, 60 percent of intermarried households are raising their children Jewish.
Michaal Paulson of the Boston Globe did a front-page story on this remarkable development this morning, and the news is clearly striking a chord. As of 9:20 a.m. EST, “Jewish population in region rises” was the most e-mailed story on Boston.com–and rising.
The news is extraordinary for two reasons:
1) As our publisher and president, Ed Case, says in the article, “Boston has the most extensive and most well-funded and most well-organized outreach to interfaith families in the country.” This development shows that for a relatively small investment–only 1 percent of Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies’ annual allocations–outreach can produce tangible, measurable, powerful results.
2) For years leading voices in the Jewish community have been referring to intermarriage as a “threat.” This shows it can be an opportunity, an opportunity to expand and enrich the Jewish community. Why is that? Because 50 intermarried Jews create 50 households, while 50 inmarried Jews form 25 households. If only 25 of the 50 intermarried households–50 percent, that is–raise their children Jewish, they are raising the same number of children as the 25 Jewish households. If more than 50 percent of intermarried households raise their children Jewish–as they are doing in Boston–they contribute to a net increase in the Jewish population, which is what Boston has seen in the last 10 years.
We will keep you regularly updated on press about this extraordinary development.
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