What's in a Name
An American Indian comes back to the Reservation to visit with his parents after spending some time in New York. He says to his father that he's fallen in love with a nice Jewish girl. His father is mortified and says, "You're betraying your heritage and you'll break your mother's heart that you're not marrying a nice Indian girl. You know how Jews are, they'll feel the same way and you'll be ostracized in both camps."
The son reassures his father, "Don't worry. They must have already accepted the situation because they have already given their daughter an Indian name."
"Really?" says the father. "What name?"
The son answers, "Sitting Shiva."
Intermarriage is taking a drastic toll on the Jewish people. Many estimates have more Jewish people intermarrying than marrying within the Jewish faith, and the vast majority of their offspring do not identify as Jewish. The situation is critical. So, what can be done?
Some have argued that we must make Judaism more "appealing." Play up our popular exports, like gefilte fish, parental guilt, and Jewish comedians and hope that people will stay in the fold, or perhaps even, as did Jerry's dentist on an episode of Seinfeld, convert to Judaism "for the jokes." Make Judaism cool. Others argue that it is our religion which sets us apart and is the only thing that truly makes us unique. Granted, our sense of humor is one our hallmarks, but there's so much more. If we don't try to reach out to the disaffected with the facets of our culture that are truly unique, it's rings a little hollow. It's like telling a joke without the punch line