Judaism And Interfaith Families Essay

1805 words - 7 pages

In the Jewish community, especially in America, there has been a growing concern about the traditions, affiliation, and faith in Judaism diminishing. Many Rabbi’s and Jewish leaders believe that interfaith marriages are too blame for this epidemic. For in the last thirty years, forty percent of all American Jewish marriages have become interfaith (p. vii Gluck). Although some Jewish leaders see intermarriage as a serious problem, Susan Katz Miller, author of the New York Times Article, “Being ‘Partly Jewish,’” discusses her positive view on interfaith families and communities. From her own personal experience and facts she has collected, Miller believes that Jewish leaders do not have to be concerned with interfaith marriages because children of these families have been shown to move toward Judaism.
Intermarriage families concern Jewish leaders and Rabbi’s mostly in part because the Torah, which is the center of Judaism, states that interfaith marriage is against Jewish law and ultimately interfaith families could be a “terrible and potentially damaging choice (Miller).” The Torah says “You shall not intermarry with them (non-Jews): do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons. For they will turn your children away from Me to worship other gods (Deut. 7:3-4)” (p. 93 Wolak). In addition, in the book of Ezra he prohibits interfaith marriage because the offspring could not speak Judean and was making Judaism impure (p. 93-96 Wolak). Therefore, Ezra forced the men to divorce their foreign wives and send the women along with the children, back to their home lands.
Another problem that arises from interfaith families and communities is the interpretation of the Torah. Ari Goldman, author of The Search for God at Harvard, was faced with the same problem of interpreting Jewish laws for his own life and will’s and in turn caused himself, to not be accepted at Traditional Orthodox Jewish institutions because only Rabbis are allowed to translate the Torah. Miller, like Goldman, acknowledges that she is not always welcomed by Jewish institutions because of her belief on interfaith families saying, “Often, I felt marginalized as an interfaith child and had to fight to defend my claim to Judaism” (Miller). This statement holds true for many people who do not fully believe in one set of beliefs, but today, that view is shifting in a more positive light.
In Susan Miller’s article, she believes that interfaith communities, such as one’s that emphasis Judaism and Christianity, will help rather than hurt Judaism. Although Christianity makes up a large part of the population in America, compared to very few that practice Judaism, Miller says that Judaism prevails. She conducted a survey in which she asked fifty teenagers raised in interfaith communities which religion they would choose, Judaism or Christianity, and the results displayed that a prevalent amount chose Judaism (Miller). The survey proves that Jewish leaders should...

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