Go and read.
October 25, 2004
The inimitable Naomi Chana just posted a really thought-provoking blog entry about intermarriage. She observes, aptly, that mainstream Judaism grouses a lot about intermarriage, usually arguing that Judaism is doomed because those who intermarry don't transmit Judaism to their children. Naomi Chana does an excellent job of skewering that assumption, and she also notes that trying to stop intermarriage is Quixotic and may well be a misplaced focus for our communal energy. Here's my favorite line:
You see, I can't help wondering what would happen if we cut out spectacularly unsuccessful attempts to "prevent intermarriage" and went for the equally ambitious but infinitely more manageable option of giving Jewish children and adults -- whatever their parentage and marital choices -- a comprehensive program of Jewish learning which includes the mitzvah of teaching the Torah diligently to their children.
Preach it, sister. I've argued before that the way to ensure Judaism's survival and continued vibrancy is to teach people -- children and adults, Jews and interested non-Jews alike -- how endlessly rich and interesting Judaism is. If we teach our children why we love it, they might share our enjoyment of it and our investment in it. That's where our focus should be, and too often it isn't, because we're stuck on this intermarriage thing.
Anyway, Naomi says it far better than I, and has interesting insights to add to the conversation, so go read her post.