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Dump or Hump

Shema Arielle, 

I’m dating a non-Jewish boy and sometimes I worry that if we end up together my kids won’t be very Jewish. Since my mom is half-Jewish I’m technically a quarter Jewish but I was raised celebrating Jewish holidays and the culture. If I have babies with a non-Jew my kids will be, like, 15 percent Jewish, which isn’t very much. I just worry about our Jewish heritage ending with me, because I already don’t feel Jewish enough. 


Dump or Hump 

Hey Bubbela,

Before I address your mathematical equation, I want to share something that literally just happened. At the time of this writing, Jewish comedian Cathy Ladman’s set is playing in the background. She tells the audience she married a non-Jewish fella, and that they adopted a four year-old Chinese girl. Cathy’s aunt asked if she was going to be raised Jewish, and when the comedian said she was just going to raise her to be a good person, her aunt replied, “That’s terrible!” Ba-da-bum! 

I simply couldn’t keep that relevant punchline to myself, and HaShem knows I love a good prologue. Yalla, back to the numbers you crunched, bubbela. You’re worried that if you shtup and marry your goyfriend, you’ll subsequently kill your Jewish lineage. Statistically, according to a 2020 PEW study on Jewish Americans, children of interfaith marriages are more likely to marry a non-Jewish person, so you’re definitely not an anomaly. The good news is the offspring of interfaith marriages are more likely than ever to retain their Jewish identity — huzzah! 

Assimilation is like quicksand for Jewish identity, but becoming a balabusta is entirely in your hands! My darling motek, Jewishness isn’t defined by religious observance, and you are entirely “Jewish enough.” I read between the lines and I think you’re projecting an insecurity about your own identity onto your future children. Might I even go so far as to question whether you wish your lover celebrated your culture a little more? I may, and I did. 

My advice to you is to continue celebrating Jewish culture and finding new ways to engage with the community and strengthen your relationship with your identity. Forget about those percentages and remember that no matter how religious, a Jew is a Jew is a Jew. Tradition is what keeps our people alive, and it’s up to you to pass it from generation to generation, l’dor v’dor. Consider entering therapy for a deeper look inwards, but if that’s not possible right now the free alternative is to watch Fiddler on the Roof.



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