We have three children, ages 14 to 19. We see so many Jews marrying non-Jews, and we want to prevent that from happening in our family. What can we do at this stage?
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
Someone once went to a rabbi and asked, "At which age should I begin my child's Jewish education?"
"How old is your child?" the rabbi asked.
"Well, you should have started about 10 years ago."
But that is all past history.
Once the child has become an adult, it is obvious that their chances are great of meeting and marrying a non-Jew, if for no other fact than that non-Jews comprise 98% of the American population.
So what can you do? The most effective method – as a pre-intervention strategy – is to make a commitment to infuse your life with Jewish energy and joy.
It is never too late to demonstrate in actions and thoughts your commitment to Jewish calendar and traditions. You can build a sukkah and invite your children to spend an evening with you. You can invite a rabbi to your house to give a class on Passover, etc.
And even if your child doesn't attend, he will hear you talking about it, see your commitment, and realize that any relationship with a non-Jew will be distancing himself from you in a profound way. And that will give him many reasons to think twice.
Having said all that, you should also realize that marrying the right person is largely based on the effort we make. Inquire about Jewish singles programs in your town, or have him post a profile on www.jdate.com. Network for him. Encourage him to date Jews. Show him that he can "have it all" – a wonderful committed relationship, and a Jewish life, too.