Julie Wiener, our prolific friend at The (New York) Jewish Week, has a new column in today’s paper that marks her 10-year anniversary in the Jewish media.
One of the interesting points she tackles is whether or not her column promotes intermarriage? We receive that question–and that criticism–regularly as well, and the answer is complex. Wiener answers it ably:
Does my column, as some have complained, promote intermarriage? That is not my intention. I have no regrets about my own choice of husband (other than wishing he worked fewer hours and was a little handier around the house), but I am hardly out to get new recruits for some interfaith families’ lobby. All other things being equal, I have no doubt that it is easier to live a Jewish life and raise Jewish children if one has a Jewish partner. But I don’t think that means intermarriage is a disaster or, as one sociologist recently claimed, “the single greatest threat to Jewish continuity.”
She goes on to say that she’s surprised she hasn’t received more hate mail than she has. She credits that to a community where intermarriage has become a fact of life, and not a time of mourning. “Even the staunchest opponents of intermarriage,” she says, “now acknowledge that most Jews who marry out are not doing so to rebel against Judaism, but are instead simply choosing to share their lives with a loved one.”
What I like most about her piece reflecting on her experience in the Jewish media and her shorter experience as a columnist on intermarriage is that it doesn’t play the role of the righteous victim. She points out ways in which the Jewish community could be more welcoming to interfaith families, but also acknowledges when it’s doing a good job. That seems like a pretty fair approach to me.
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