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I wasn’t planning on posting this week, but we recently learned from Shmuel Rosner, the American correspondent for Ha’aretz, that sociologist Steven Cohen is coming out with a new study that calls intermarriage the “greatest single threat to Jewish continuity.”
Titled “Two Jewries,” the study makes a claim that there are two distinct populations in the Jewish community: the in-married and the intermarried. According to Rosner, Cohen says the in-married are religiously observant, educate their children Jewishly and feel strongly about Judaism and Israel, while the intermarried are not religious and are unaffiliated. We haven’t seen the report yet, but to me, it sounds like an old argument in new packaging: denigrate the intermarried by looking at the entire population of interfaith families without specifically looking at those who are raising their children Jewish.
Rosner also blogged today about Cohen and the author of the cover letter for the study, Rabbi Yitz Greenberg. Both are wary of intermarriage, but Rosner says Greenberg is an optimist while Cohen is a fatalist or pessimist.
Stay tuned for more details…
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