Religion & Beliefs

Blame Intermarriage

 There’s been a healthy debate sparked by Peter Beinart’s recent piece in the New York Review of Books blaming Israel’s policies–and the unflinching support of those policies by the U.S. Jewish "establishment"–for young American Jews feeling increasingly disconnected from the … Read More

By / May 28, 2010

 There’s been a healthy debate sparked by Peter Beinart’s recent piece in the New York Review of Books blaming Israel’s policies–and the unflinching support of those policies by the U.S. Jewish "establishment"–for young American Jews feeling increasingly disconnected from the Jewish State.  Some in the organized Jewish community disagreed with Beinart’s portrayal, placing the blame on the Palestinians rather than the Israeli government, or on a generational shift from those who grew up with a sense of Jewish persecution to those who have not.  Of all the responses though, the one I found to be the oddest claimed the decline in Israel attachment had nothing to do with political identity, but instead pinned the blame on…intermarriage?

Blaming intermarriage for something so seemingly unrelated as prevailing political attitudes should come as no surprise.  After more than a decade working in the organized Jewish community, I’ve seen intermarriage blamed for every Jewish social ill imaginable–from decreasing synagogue affiliation to the "dilution of Jewish ethnicity."  Intermarriage ends "Jewish continuity."  It creates two separate "Jewries."  It lays waste to crop and cattle.

In honor of the ongoing blaming of intermarriage for just about everything, I’ve taken the time–as a public service–to identify additional problems caused by intermarriage that have yet to be properly studied, so that the half-million intermarried households raising Jewish children and participating in Jewish life are aware of the disaster they have wrought. I hope the Jewish community will soon be able to find the time and funding to blame the intermarried for:

  • Global warming;
  • The collapse of the housing market;
  • The lame series finale of "Lost";
  • The discontinuation of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough frozen yogurt;
  • The Rape of Nanking;
  • Mariano Rivera’s blown save in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series;
  • That time I was ten years old and lost my wallet in the Smithsonian on a family vacation to Washington, D.C.;
  • Everything that happened to the Jews on Tisha B’Av;
  • Everything that didn’t happen to the Jews on Tisha B’Av but could have;
  • The Biblical (and intermarried) Ruth following her mother-in-law Naomi from Moab to Judah-we all know how badly that turned out for the Jews;
  • Did I already say global warming?
  • Bad things happening to good people;
  • Glenn Beck;
  • The tragic lives of all three child-stars of "Diff’rent Strokes";
  • Spelling "Different" as "Diff’rent" to make it seem urban (and saying "urban" when you really mean "black");
  • Time Warner Cable still not carrying the NFL Network;
  • Only three of the nine Supreme Court Justices being Jewish;
  • The universe expanding;
  • Extinction of the dinosaurs, especially the cuter ones;
  • Synagogues having to find ways to be more welcoming and engaging toward newcomers to our tradition-oh wait, that one really is because of intermarriage;
  • Flying cars still not commercially available;
  • Canadian progressive rock trio Rush still not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I mean, Madonna but not Rush? Frickin’ ABBA but not Rush?! It’s called the "Rock and Roll" Hall of Fame not the "Disco" Hall of Fame!
  • Mosquitoes;
  • BPH, more commonly referred to as enlarged prostate, talk to your doctor or see our ad in "Golf Digest";
  • The inevitable disappointment that will be "Avatar 2";
  • Humanity’s continued inability to simply get along and love our neighbors and share our land and, you know, just chill, man, it’s all too beautiful;
  • And finally, young Jews losing interest in sociological studies that blame everything on intermarriage.