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These statistics and more are sufficiently alarming to be a matter of great concern to the Jewish community. And the rate of intermarriage has grown dramatically in recent years: One Orthodox Jew I know went so far as to state that intermarriage is accomplishing what Hitler could not: That is an extreme view, but it vividly illustrates how seriously many Jews take the issue of intermarriage.

The more liberal branches of Judaism have tried to embrace intermarried couples, hoping to slow the hemorrhaging from our community, but it is questionable how effective this has been in stemming the tide, given the statistics that intermarried couples are unlikely to have any Jewish involvement or to raise their children Jewish.

They note that if the non-Jewish spouse truly shares the same values as the Jewish spouse, then the non-Jew is welcome to convert to Judaism, and if the non-Jew does not share the same values, then the couple should not be marrying in the first place. Many people who are considering interfaith marriage or dating casually dismiss any objections as prejudice, but there are some practical matters you should consider. And before you casually dismiss this as ivory tower advice from a Jewish ghetto, let me point out that my father, my mother and my brother are all intermarried, as well as several of my cousins.

These are just a few of the more important considerations in interfaith relationships that people tend to gloss over in the heat of passion or in the desire to be politically fashionable. In general, Jews do not try to convert non-Jews to Judaism. In fact, according to halakhah Jewish Law , rabbis are supposed to make three vigorous attempts to dissuade a person who wants to convert to Judaism.

As the discussion above explained, Jews have a lot of responsibilities that non-Jews do not have. To be considered a good and righteous person in the eyes of G-d , a non-Jew need only follow the seven Noahic commandments, whereas a Jew has to follow all commandments given in the Torah.


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If the potential convert is not going to follow those extra rules, it's better for him or her to stay a gentile, and since we as Jews are all responsible for each other, it's better for us too if that person stayed a gentile. The rabbinically mandated attempt to dissuade a convert is intended to make sure that the prospective convert is serious and willing to take on all this extra responsibility. Once a person has decided to convert, the proselyte must begin to learn Jewish religion, law and customs and begin to observe them.

This teaching process generally takes at least one year, because the prospective convert must experience each of the Jewish holidays ; however, the actual amount of study required will vary from person to person a convert who was raised as a Jew might not need any further education, for example, while another person might need several years. After the teaching is complete, the proselyte is brought before a Beit Din rabbinical court which examines the proselyte and determines whether he or she is ready to become a Jew.

If the proselyte passes this oral examination, the rituals of conversion are performed. If the convert is male, he is circumcised or, if he was already circumcised, a pinprick of blood is drawn for a symbolic circumcision. Both male and female converts are immersed in the mikvah a ritual bath used for spiritual purification.

The convert is given a Jewish name and is then introduced into the Jewish community. In theory, once the conversion procedure is complete, the convert is as much a Jew as anyone who is born to the religion. Occasionally, a Jew marries a non-Jew who believes in God as understood by Judaism, and who rejects non-Jewish theologies; Jews sometimes call such people ethical monotheists. Steven Greenberg , an Orthodox Rabbi, has made the controversial proposal that, in these cases, the non-Jewish partner be considered a resident alien — the biblical description of someone who is not Jewish, but who lives within the Jewish community; according to Jewish tradition, such resident aliens share many of the same responsibilities and privileges as the Jewish community in which they reside.

In the early 19th century, in some less modernised regions of the world, exogamy was extremely rare—less than 0. For this reason, as early as the mid 19th century, some senior Jewish leaders denounced intermarriage as a danger to the continued existence of Judaism. In the United States of America, other causes, such as more people marrying later in life, have combined with intermarriage to cause the Jewish community to decrease dramatically; for every 20 adult Jews, there are now only 17 Jewish children.

Some religious conservatives now even speak metaphorically of intermarriage as a silent holocaust.

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On the other hand, more tolerant and liberal Jews embrace interfaith marriage as an enriching contribution to a multicultural society. Regardless of attitudes to intermarriage, there is now an increasing effort to reach out to descendants of intermarried parents, each Jewish denomination focusing on those it defines as Jewish ; [39] secular and non-denominational Jewish organisations have sprung up to bring the descendants of intermarried parents back into the Jewish fold.

In some cases, children of a Jewish parent were raised in the non-Jewish parent's religion while maintaining a sense of Jewish ethnicity and identity.

Jewish Attitudes Toward Non-Jews

In Christian—Jewish relations, interfaith marriage and the associated phenomenon of Jewish assimilation are a matter of concern for both Jewish and Christian leaders. A number of Progressive Christian denominations have publicly declared that they will no longer convert Jews.

They have made use of dual-covenant theology. Many Israeli Jews oppose mixed relationships, [49] particularly relationships between Jewish women and non-Jewish Arab men. A opinion survey found that more than half of Israeli Jews believed intermarriage is equivalent to "national treason". A group of 35 Jewish men, known as " Fire for Judaism ", in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze'ev started patrolling the neighborhood in an effort to stop Jewish women from dating Arab men.

Interfaith marriage in Judaism - Wikipedia

The municipality of Petah Tikva has also announced an initiative to prevent interfaith relationships, providing a telephone hotline for friends and family to "inform" on Jewish girls who date Arab men as well as psychologists to provide counselling. The city of Kiryat Gat launched a school programme in schools to warn Jewish girls against dating local Bedouin men. In February Maariv has reported that the Tel Aviv municipality had instituted an official, government-sponsored counseling program to discourage Jewish girls from dating and marrying Arab boys.

According to supporters of the program, the girls are often ostracized for being Jewish, and some fall into drugs and alcohol or are prevented from leaving their Arab boyfriends. When I first heard about this at age 22, that was my initial reaction too. But I was intrigued enough to want to look into it. For more, see my book Hands Off! This May Be Love.


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We have the hormone oxytocin to thank for this: A rose-colored screen descends, filtering out the negative and letting only the positive through - the result being that you see what you want to see and not the rest. This rose-colored screen will eventually lift - usually after you get married.

In the worst case scenario, you may discover some serious deal breakers. One of the best ways to preserve objectivity while dating is not to get physically involved. However, loving how good someone makes you feel is not love of another.

The Jewish fear of intermarriage

True love requires focusing on, appreciating, admiring, and respecting the other person. But there are two ways in which you can still strongly benefit from the Jewish idea of "cherishing touch". First, the most powerful expression of touch is obviously sex.