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Old 10-13-2013, 12:50 PM
 
3,962 posts, read 3,344,225 times
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By now, I suspect you've all heard the alarming results of the recent Pew Research Center report, titled "A Portrait of Jewish Americans.

http://www.pewforum.org/files/2013/1...ull-report.pdf

Some shocking numbers came from this respected report:

1. Outside of the Orthodox Jewish community, intermarriage rates have reached 71 percent.
2. Only 19% of Jews said that observing Jewish law is a vital aspect of Jewish identity, while 42% say that having a sense of humor is a critical part of being a Jew.
3. Orthodox Jews feel that the Holocaust is less essential to their Jewish identity than Conservative and Reform Jews, (66% of Orthodox, versus 78% and 77% of Conservative and Reform Jews, respectively). On the other hand, 69% of Orthodox Jews believe that being part of a Jewish community is essential to their Judaism. Just 40% and 25% of Conservative and Reform Jews, respectively, feel this way.

I have seen many commentaries written on these saddening results. The majority of these opinions feel that progressive liberal Judaism is perhaps only a generation or two away from total annihilation. While the end of these "movements" has always been a certainty, I'm not sure any of us realized the end was so close. I think this trend pretty much sums up the holocaust we are facing as a people:

Quote:
Nearly 60 percent of Jewish respondents who have been married since 2000 say they have a non-Jewish spouse. Just over 40 percent of those married in the 80s have a non-Jewish spouse. That number is just 17 percent for those married before 1970.
The Vanishing American Jew?

Of course, Torah Observant Judaism in America has never been stronger in it's 200+ year history in the US. This remains the one branch of Judaism that is not either committing religious suicide, or simply "moving the goal posts" in an efforts to redefine who is a Jew.

So what do we do? It's not possible or advisable to go from "zero to sixty" when it comes to religious observance. Some of my own personal suggestions to save Reform/Conservative Jews from religious suicide:

1. Stop intermarrying. Period.
2. Send your kids to a Jewish day school - any kind will likely do.
3. Recognize the Sabbath in an attempt to one day fully observing it.
4. Give your children Jewish names. The meforshim say that the Jews of Egypt were only redeemed in merit of their exclusively giving their children Jewish names.

So what do you all think?
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Old 10-13-2013, 04:55 PM
 
864 posts, read 733,864 times
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The Gedolim warned about this when Moses Mendelsohn founded the reform movement, but they were only bearded fools sticking to antiquated outdated doctrines, not university educated PEW statisticians.

The biggest problem is that assimilated Jews don't even see this as a problem.
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:33 PM
 
864 posts, read 733,864 times
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Sadly, those who have intermarried are already lost.
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Old 10-14-2013, 03:47 AM
 
Location: Camberville
12,031 posts, read 16,773,933 times
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My parents intermarried with all intents of raising my brother and I in the Jewish communicty. And then they tried and experienced such nastiness about their intermarriage (similar to what theflipflop and iwishiwerethin display) both upon their wedding and then trying to involve their children in Jewish life that they stopped. It meant that when my dad had a job transfer, moving to a Jewish community was not a priority. Had circumstances been different, I wouldn't have grown up in an area where being proud of being Jewish meant that I grew up with crosses burned on my lawn and a real fear of having a menorah in the window because rocks would be thrown through it. By the time I was 8 years old, I didn't feel that I belonged to either the Jewish or the gentile community because BOTH treated my family like rejects.

Trying to get involved in the Jewish community as someone from an interfaith marriage has made me less likely to raise my own children in the Jewish community - not because I am not proud of my Judaism, but because I don't want to expose my future children to a community that tells them their grandparents' relationship was not OK and that it is fine to look down on children who come from different faith backgrounds. In college, I gave up on Shabbat dinners because no one cared to explain to me what was going on. I grew up with my mom's modified version of Shabbat prayers because at that point, she had been out of the community for 15 years and no longer really remembered everything. After embarrassment after embarrassment and feeling judged, it made no sense to continue. This was coming from a majority Orthodox, Park Slope environment.

Sorry - it's the "Torah observant" who are pushing those of us who could have very easily been involved in our faith away. Thanks for all of your hard work and dedication - it clearly plays out on this forum.
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:10 AM
 
864 posts, read 733,864 times
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Quote:
This was coming from a majority Orthodox, Park Slope environment.
You gave it away. There is no orthodox Park Slope environment.

Yeah, yeah, we know the mantra... Torah observants are responsible for your parents' intermarriage and its subsequent results.

Who was your Jewish parent, father or mother...just asking?

Hate to rain of your picnic, but "being proud of being Jewish" just doesn't cut it.
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:17 AM
 
Location: Lone Star State to Peach State
3,841 posts, read 3,516,801 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iwishiwerethin View Post
Sadly, those who have intermarried are already lost.
WRONG


Such generalization and animosity amongst the "chosen people"

Those who have intermarried FIND their roots.
One size does not fit all, I really don't care what your numbers say.

I am a better Jew than you mantra sickens me and THIS is what contributes to " being lost"

I won't comment any further on this, I Already know how this thread will end.
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:45 AM
 
Location: OC/LA
3,831 posts, read 3,702,892 times
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Yea it's really sad to watch all the hatred coming from these 2.
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Old 10-14-2013, 10:17 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
2,538 posts, read 4,692,461 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charolastra00 View Post
My parents intermarried with all intents of raising my brother and I in the Jewish communicty. And then they tried and experienced such nastiness about their intermarriage (similar to what theflipflop and iwishiwerethin display) both upon their wedding and then trying to involve their children in Jewish life that they stopped. It meant that when my dad had a job transfer, moving to a Jewish community was not a priority. Had circumstances been different, I wouldn't have grown up in an area where being proud of being Jewish meant that I grew up with crosses burned on my lawn and a real fear of having a menorah in the window because rocks would be thrown through it. By the time I was 8 years old, I didn't feel that I belonged to either the Jewish or the gentile community because BOTH treated my family like rejects.

Trying to get involved in the Jewish community as someone from an interfaith marriage has made me less likely to raise my own children in the Jewish community - not because I am not proud of my Judaism, but because I don't want to expose my future children to a community that tells them their grandparents' relationship was not OK and that it is fine to look down on children who come from different faith backgrounds. In college, I gave up on Shabbat dinners because no one cared to explain to me what was going on. I grew up with my mom's modified version of Shabbat prayers because at that point, she had been out of the community for 15 years and no longer really remembered everything. After embarrassment after embarrassment and feeling judged, it made no sense to continue. This was coming from a majority Orthodox, Park Slope environment.

Sorry - it's the "Torah observant" who are pushing those of us who could have very easily been involved in our faith away. Thanks for all of your hard work and dedication - it clearly plays out on this forum.
Unfortunately, this is more common than it should be and we have experienced it too, mostly frim the Christian side, though. My own father converted when he married my Jewish mother (and they divorced when I was young) so I wasn't really exposed to anything other than Judaism growing up. But it was strictly cultural for us and I was given no Jewish education. So I have to say for me, I didn't experience this type of thing until I married my non-Jewish husband. And not getting the jewish education meant tha I was willing to marry a non-Jew.

But I do think things have changed. I think most Rabbis realize that to eschew the non-jewish spouses means to lose the Jews they are married to. So far, the Jews have been much more accepting of my husband than the church has been of me. We were both a bit tickled this Shabbat when we visited the local Chabad for the first time. The Chazzan asked dh to wrap the Torah, apparently not realizing he wasn't Jewish. I had spoken to the Rabbi ahead of time and he knew our story. Fortunately Dh knew the drill and didn't get offended when they had to take back the offer. He doesn't have a problem with boundaries. I think some people would have been personally offended in this situation.

When I think about it, I wonder if I would have married him knowing what I know now. I honestly don't know. The experience of loving someone so much that you have such oppositional beliefs to really teaches you something about relationships that I don't think you can learn when you marry someone similar. The one thing we both had in common when we got married was a desire to learn about, understand and serve G-d. It has lead us down some strange paths, but in the end I'm liking how it's turning out.

No one commented on my Jonathan Sacks article that I posted a few weeks ago. he is someone I personally hold in very high esteem. And I think it is his non-traditional (in Rabbinic circles) education that allows him to understand such a broad group of people types. He is a brilliant teacher and leader. And wouldn't be what he is without his secular education. I think there are some similar values in a mixed marriage.
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Old 10-14-2013, 01:00 PM
 
864 posts, read 733,864 times
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Let me rephrase: The children of non-Jewish women, even if their husbands are Jewish, are not Jewish. So if a man intermarries, that's the end.

Now the other way 'round keeps the children Jewish, but without any semblance of Jewish education or child rearing.

The truth hurts, but those are the facts.

Now carry on calling me hateful, when strangely enough all the hate expressed on this thread (as in many others) is by posters throwing temper tantrums and blaming observant Jews for whatever poor decisions they or their ancestors have made.

Here's a thought:

In the Pesach Haggadah we read about Lavan who wanted to kill all of the house of Jacob and then complete that statement by stating that Pharoah only wanted to kill the male children. This begs the question: Is this an attempt to paint Pharaoh as lesser evil of the two? What is the point of mentioning how, compared to Lavan, he wasn't even so bad?

But Pharaoh was smart. He knew how Lavan had attempted to kill all of Jacob and had failed, he knew that G-d had given us an eternal promise and that eradicating Israel was impossible. He had a better plan. He'd leave the females alive, no problem. Their children would be Jewish, no problem. But he'd ensure they had Egyptian fathers who'd raise them in Egyptian fashion. That, he foolishly thought, would work. He'd keep the Jews, but have them molded in heart and mind the way he saw fit. That, my friends, is intermarriage.

Now back to my hatefulness...
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Old 10-14-2013, 01:07 PM
 
864 posts, read 733,864 times
Reputation: 251
Quote:
But I do think things have changed. I think most Rabbis realize that to eschew the non-jewish spouses means to lose the Jews they are married to.
Things haven't changed... per se. But up until recently, there wasn't much of a Baal Teshuva movement and no inter-marrieds have ever sought to connect with the faithful. Fortunately, the tide has turned and many Jews are finding their way home.
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