Interfaith Marriages

Surprising findings from a new study.

Click here if you are unable to view this video.

Comments (122)

(79) Pamela, June 11, 2014 9:16 PM

a person's religion is the core of his/her values

Interfaith marriage clearly indicates that the man and his wife are definitely headed in different directions.

(78) Leila, August 30, 2013 1:32 AM

It seems that many of the marriages discussed failed due to a lack of planning and discussion. I am Jewish and my husband was raised Catholic, but has many issues with the Catholic church and is now agnostic. We discussed very early on in our relationship (long before we were married) what our religions meant to us. I made it perfectly clear that I wanted our children to be raised Jewish and he was fine with that. We both agreed that it doesn't make sense to raise them with more than one religion and that you can't let them choose when they are older if you never teach them anything about religion when they're young. We have not been married that long, but I think that because we talked things through earlier on our marriage will remain strong.

(77) Rachel, June 30, 2013 7:29 PM

Our story

I was raised as a gentile in a home where respect for the religion of others was taught.

I began dating a Jewish man who had been divorced. His first marriage had been to a Jewish woman. My parents wanted me to be happy and did not judge my future husband for being "anything" other than himself.

He had been raised Orthodox and I Methodist.

We dated seven years and then were married in a Reform ceremony.

One of the reasons chose our rabbi because he said that marriages are made in heaven....not just here on earth. We decided not to be married by another rabbi who asked me "How can you believe in a religion that starts out with a murder". My answer to this was "My religion starts out in the same place as yours"....."In the beginning G-d created"....this is long before I converted.

His father, of blessed memory, blessed us by attending our wedding. After my conversion, about ten years later, he honored me by asking me to sit next to him one Passover and read from the Haggadah. He leaned over and said "Thank you for bringing my son home to me".

My husband would say prayers and I would ask him "What are you saying?" He did not know. He had been taught to read the Hebrew letters and only knew how to pronounce the words.He was not taught what the translation was. We went to a Reform Temple together, learned what the prayers said.

Years passed, I was drawn more and more to the light of Torah, I converted to Judasim nearly 30 years ago.

We are still together. Not just together for the sake of being together but still happy and choosing to be with each other.

Perhaps my Jewish soul was placed in a non Jewish family so that I would appreciate even more the beauty and wisdom in Judaism.

During this month of Tammuz let's put more light and more positive mitzvot out there. Not only marriages need it....people do.





.

(76) Anonymous, May 10, 2013 10:11 PM

Good luck

My best wishes on finding your b'shert. A very good friend of mine, observant, talked to Reb Zalman Schacter. He blessed her and told her not to worry her soul mate would find her. He saw her across the room within a year or two. They have been very happy. It's been about 20 years now.

(75) Frank, May 10, 2013 7:46 PM

Bbiased opinion by the rabbi

Correlation does not imply causation. I can play that game too: It's interesting that Jews have the highest divorce rate among affiliated faith groups in the US (30%, Barna 1999). The lowest divorce rate is among atheists at 21%. Perhaps that means Judaism is a risk-factor for divorce and Jews and should leave the religion in order to increase their odds of happy marriage? That would follow your logic in the video regarding choosing partners based on statistics.

Another interesting statistic: in Israel, where intermarriage is far more rare, the overall divorce rate for Jews is around 35% (Chief Rabbinate Study, 2013) an increased 5% over last year.

(74) Anonymous, May 7, 2013 2:24 PM

Jewish is more than a faith

I married a pretty outgoing girl when I was 23. She was gentile, I a Jew. As a child I rarely went to services and did not come from a Kosher home so I didn't give religion much thought. We lived in a community where in a high school of a thousand there were three Jewish girls I would consider. So dating non Jews was inevitable.
But there is an undeniable cultural difference. Each year of marriage it became more apparent. I surprised myself when it bothered me that my wife took the kids to Church. Next she complained that she was the only one in church without her husband.
In discussions about business or finance my wife would say that "you people think that way" or "well, business comes natural to you people".
So after watching the video I can only say, of course.

Stanley, May 8, 2013 7:46 PM

I also suffered

I also made the mistake of my life when I intermarried. We were very much in love and everything seemed perfect. I had no particular religious feelings and my parents didn't care that I married a Catholic girl,( though it half killed my grandparents.) Everything was beautiful. But then came the children and she insisted on Baptism. Then, like you said, taking them to church. But when she hung up a cross, that was it. I couldn't take it and told her that I couldn't allow a cross in the house, and that I resected her feeling and let her take them to church and she had to compromise about the cross. Nothing doing, she said. So we finally got divorced and she has custody of the children. Three beautiful little children, I see them on weekends and miss them so much. The biggest shock came when I realized that my children are Catholic, no matter what. Now I hope to find a Jewish wife and have Jewish children. My heart aches for my little children who are going to church.

Robert, May 12, 2013 2:34 PM

non-Jews also suffer

You seem to think that only you Jews suffer from the intermarriage mistake, but that's not so. I married a wonderful Jewish girl who I met on our college campus, pretty, sweet, intelligent and idealistic. Religion was of not importance to either of us. When our first child was born, a boy, we had decided on circumcision and when he was five days old she informed me that she wanted to use a "mohel", a specialist in circumcision. When I objected, she said that even Queen Elizabeth used mohels because they are better than doctors. I checked it our, found out she was right and agreed. Then, two days later she drops this bomb, that if we are already having a mohel, we might as well have a regular brit. I refused and she said that it was not anything offensive to Christianity and my friend gave me a Jewish prayer book and I saw it was about the covenant with Father Abraham. "So what's wrong with Father Abraham?" she asked. "Nothing," I said, but silently thought, "except he was Jewish". At the end I gave in but didn't tell the family because my grandmother would've had a heart attack. Any way she started becoming more spiritual and I couldn't take it and by the time our second child came along we were growing apart even though she was trying to gently pull me along with her. Finally she wanted things that I just couldn't do and it was becoming too hard and we decided to call it quits. So my advise is, don't do it.

(73) Brenda Fegley, May 7, 2013 2:01 PM

We started as an interfaith couple and now I am a Jew by choice

We started as an interfaith couple,I was raised Catholic and my spouse was raised Protestant.I was always aware of my Jewish soul and went through the conversion process in my 50's.My husband is not religious and to his credit has adapted to our Jewish home.Both of our families have embraced my conversion.

Anonymous, May 8, 2013 8:19 AM

To: (73) Brenda

I am glad to hear your story Brenda, I am nearing the age of 50 and could possibly convert in the future, like yourself. My spouse is not affiliated with any faith although is a descendant of the Jewish people. Understandably the ancestors assimilated (my guess) because of the oppressive treatment they got when they were still in Europe. Now that side of the family is all against religion. I am in an odd situation where I am not a born Jew but the only one who is powerfully drawn to it. How strange life can be! For now it seems too complicated difficult , so I am putting my energy into studying.

yochevet U.W., May 10, 2013 10:07 PM

kudos for following your heart

Bless your Jewish soul. My ex-sister -in law has a Jewish soul too, even after she and my brother divorced, she remained Jewish. I'm now 60. I had a Bat Mitzvah in a group when I turned 54,and another when I turned 60. Judaism is not mostly a religion for kids.

(72) Avigayil Chana, May 7, 2013 1:11 AM

I can't find a Jewish guy

I've been trying to marry Jewish for years, and am just about at the point of giving up. Most of the jewish men I like turn out to be agnostic. If I could simply find a Christian who isn't fundamentalist and believes in Gd, maybe that's okay. I don't want to be alone forever. I'm on JWed and other sites but no luck. It's sad. Why don't the rabbis help more, they know who's single and looking.

Shoshana -Jerusalem, May 7, 2013 2:48 PM

Avigayil Chana

Dear Avigayil Chana, DON'T GIVE UP! I know it's hard and lonely, but you don't know how much G-d loves you for your loyalty to Him. Why He is giving you this trial (nisayon) I don't know, but please, don't marry a Christian. If He is already testing you, you might as well pass. Now for some practical advise: Perhaps you could approach some rabbis directly and ask for their help. And if you know any married Jewish couples, speak to them and see if they know any Jewish men. Also, it could be that some of your single friends could recommend a man who they have met and it didn't work out for them. I do not know exactly what level of observance you are looking for, but I have heard that in Y.U. (Yeshiva U) there are a lot of older men, and many of them are quite modern. Do you have any contacts there who could help you out , or any married friends whose husbands might be able to help you with this? If not, please let me know and I'll try to think of something, I think I even know someone I could call for you right away who knows a lot of boys there. Love, Shoshana

Anonymous, May 9, 2013 8:41 PM

My suggestion: Think about that, and think about the values in a husband that are 'desirable' and can be compromised on, and are 'required' and cannot be compromised on. Are you looking in the right places for a more religious Jewish man? Is being Jewish a 'desirable' value or a 'required' - ie, a non-negtiable value? Would marrying a Christian be necessarily better than marrying an Agnostic?

(71) Anonymous, May 6, 2013 10:58 PM

Shared interests and values--more important than shared religion

The key here is how important RELIGION is to the two people. If both have the same interests and values, and religion is less important to them, there should be less of a problem. What the two people SHARE has to be things that are important to both of them, not necessarily their religion. It could be their political views, or social commitments, for example. The important thing in a relationship is to have common interests, while respecting each other's individuality (and space). My parents came from different religious and ethnic backgrounds, raised their children to be secularly and culturally Jewish and had a very successful marriage that only ended with my father's death. My mother lamented that she had lost her best friend. I think that--a deep and lasting friendship, with shared values--was the key to their 50-year relationship.

Ariela Yael, May 10, 2013 12:38 AM

Painting a rosy picture is deceptive

While shared interests and values are important don't put religion as of no or little importance. I've known quite a few lapse Catholics who will still have the priest baptize their infants even if it's been ages since they've step foot in a church and likewise Jews who proclaim to be 100% non-religious yet have their sons circumcised with a bris milah ceremony because "it's tradition". When the children come they seem to get religious very fast...LOL. So which religion is it going to be? There's room for only one as you can't sit at two weddings with one heinie. For the record there is no such thing as a secular or cultural Jew--either you're a Jew or you're not--and that depends if your mother was a Jew.

(70) Shoshana - Jerusalem, May 6, 2013 3:43 PM

The end does not justify the means

ONE : Even if your interfaith marriage is working out, it does not justify what you are doing because it is a sin, and you are living in sin. And if you are so in love with your Jewish spouse why are you doing this to him/her?

TWO : We have to be on a little higher level than that Broadway musical of about 50 years ago when they sang "When love comes so strong, there is no right or wrong". There is definitely right and wrong. Our Creator gave us the holy Torah on Mt. Sinai and told that we can only marry Jews. So even if you are in love, you are still going against your Creator's will.

THREE: Even if you are happy and consider your lives a success, why should you try to influence the next guy to do the same? Maybe he'll be one of the %50 to divorce? Maybe he'll stick it our but have a miserable life with confused kids. .So why do so many of you try to convince people to marry out, just because you did it? Why should you give him such bad advise? It seems that maybe you are trying to justify yourself. Maybe deep down inside you know it's wrong?

FOUR:
Many of you mention that your children are living Jewish lives, as if that is a justification. But do you know how many are not? In most cases of intermarriage the children are lost to Judaism, they and all the generations that would have come from them. Thousands of Jews are lost every year, which certainly is not the problem of the non-Jews and according to Rabbi Salomon's video , many Jews don't even care. But it still seems to me wrong that so many intermarried couples write in and brag about it.

samsmom, May 13, 2013 10:17 PM

It wasn't my intent to offend

@70 Shoshana, it seems that you have taken great offence to my comments. The Rabbi Salomon made a statement, a statement that I have found in my own experience not to be true and I stated that. I know that the Torah lists several tribes that the Jews are not to marry. I do not believe that I belong to one of those tribes. Therefore I do NOT believe that I am living in sin with my husband nor going against Hashem's will. I have not tried to lead my husband to my own religion, but I have returned him to his AND have provided a son for the Jewish nation. I am NOT trying to entice the next guy to engage in an interfaith or an interracial marriage. In fact, I would not recommend it to anyone. It is us against everyone. And that is not a pleasant place to be. We have received nothing but condemnation from the Jewish people we meet, and angry silence (or not so silent) from the Christians. But still we are together. And because the of the “us against the world “feeling that we both have, we have become stronger. So no I do not secretly believe that what I am living or doing is wrong. My husband was raised by Jewish parents who did a piss poor job or raising him to value Judaism. We have made an effort to raise our son to be different and to value his Jewish heritage. If I do nothing else, I will always be proud that I have raised a Jewish son. I understand that many children of interfaith couples are not raised Jewish. That is on the Jewish parent, not on the non-Jewish parent. So Shoshana, if my comments of a happy interfaith, interracial marriage offend you, then I apologize. However, what I tried to do was to show Rabbi Salomon that it is completely possible for two people of different faiths to marry and to be successful. If you watch his video, you wouldn’t believe it to be so.

(69) samsmom, May 6, 2013 9:07 AM

21 years in an Interfaith Marriage and still going strong

Not just Interfaith, but Interracial too. I know that my summary title isn't what most Jewish people want to see. When we met, my husband was "ethnically" Jewish, but had never learned about his faith. I am a Black Roman Catholic and I knew more about Judaism than he did. We married after 4 years of dating. 5 years later we were blessed with a son Samuel. It was the birth of our son that awoke my husband's desire to become more Jewish. I called the local kollel and made inquiries for him. I signed my son up for the "Little Jew Crew" and made sure that he attended. My son is the first member of our local kollel. My husband and son are now valued members of our Jewish community. My son will convert at age 18. He has known his whole life that he had to. As my husband has become more observant, our home has become more Jewish. I attend kollel services from time to time. 2 years ago my son asked me if I would consider covering my hair. I have been doing so for the last 2 years. During the last 21 years I have upheld my own belief and faith. I still attend Mass and sing in the choir, covered hair and all.

My intent here isn't to sing my own praises. My intent here is to let the Jewish population know that not all of us non-Jewish members of an Interfaith marriage are out to convert the Jewish half. My husband and son are both committed Modern Orthodox Jews and I a very proud wife and mother of their commitment to their faith. My prayer for my son is that he meets a woman that will assist him to become a better person, which is what I have tried to do for my husband for the last 21 years and counting.

(68) Sarah, May 6, 2013 7:43 AM

With RESPECT from both sides, an interfaith marriage can be a beautiful union. I did not marry my husband because it was convenient or he was from the "right side of the tracks", I married him because I love him.

(67) Rivka Blocq, May 5, 2013 9:26 PM

They could not feel for neither my wounds nor tradition

As daughter of a severely traumatised father, victim of 5 concentration camps, I was raised Jewish in every inch - but without religious rules. That and an open mind for every individual of every culture, made me marry non-Jewish men - 3 times! Allthough the reason for the failure of those marriages was mainly the negative influence of my family combined with my own emotional handicaps out of my youth, I do see now how much solitude and grief come forth out of it not being understood simply because of lack of background-understanding. Why do I fear to be called Jewish for to people I do not know (and trust!) yet? Because the fate of my father has taught me that fear - but my husband cannot feel that.
Why do I hate to see people drink (too much) or hear them singing out loud? Because the echo's of my father's history sound in my ears too much alike - and Jews, reformed nor Conservative, do not drink that way. Why do I dislike to go to his "cousins and nieces-reunion?" Because I will then be surrounded by people who feel themselves family -and are nice and sweet indeed!!!!- but Look like "the others", the goyiem, and therefore make me feel unsafe and "different"
That is my fault, not theirs! But it is what it is and as it is:
Not safe, and NOT FAMILIAIR - and that will never become otherwise. My present partner is too good a man to break up our relationship now after 10 years and there are many, very many positive points in it; but if I could do things over again......... I know now that I would consider this difference in background, in culture, in tradition, in the way we stand in history and inlife and in the world much, very much more important then I have done before....

(66) Hannah Baruch, May 5, 2013 6:28 PM

I do not accept interfaith marriages.

Jews should marry jews to continue our hereditry and culture.

(65) Sanford (Sandy) and Chana Goodman, May 5, 2013 3:56 PM

Both partners must have the same values

We have a successful marriage because we both share the same values. Both of us believe in and live a Torah way of life. When we were dating not only did each of us refuse to date gentiles, we also rejected non-religious Jews because we realized that both partners must share the same values and live the same type of life style.
Sanford (Sandy) & Chana Goodman, Dallas Texas

(64) Aviya, May 5, 2013 7:49 AM

My Mother and Father met at a Jewish synagogue... My Father married an evangelical christian before he met my mother and was in a devastating divorce...

(63) Pat Adamson, May 5, 2013 2:40 AM

35 years successfuly intermarried.

I am a gentile from a Christian background, my wife has been raised in Conservative Judaism. With deep respect for BOTH faith traditions we have discovered a tremendous amount of common ground on which to stand and grow together. We were married under a chupah, we have two grown boys, a graddaughter, and we have been happily married for 35 years.

Margarita, May 5, 2013 11:02 AM

very interesting

it is very unusual story and it is good to hear it. however it is a very rare and rather exceptional one.

Dina, May 9, 2013 6:56 AM

why is it good?

Why is it good to hear this story? Intermarriage is always bad, even if they are happy. their boys are Jewish but did they marry Jews? If not, the granddaughter is Christain.

(62) Anonymous, May 4, 2013 9:49 AM

Speaking from my own experience intermarriage does not work as people are brought up in different cultures , in the heat of a moment the other party could make nasty remark about someone heritage.

(61) Anonymous, May 4, 2013 2:02 AM

Better single than interfaith

I'm still looking for a nice Jewish girl.
I guess it's probably better to stay single than marry outside the faith especially with the divorce rate as high as it is.

Avigayil, May 7, 2013 2:05 AM

Age?

You could tell people how old you are. She could be right here.

(60) James Salomon, May 3, 2013 8:51 PM

Marry your best friend.

My advice to young people is quite simple. Marry your best friend. It worked for me and my late wife for more then 28 years. We went through some incredibly difficult times together but since we were already best friends we turned to each other for strength. Religous affiliation is a side issue. If you both respect and honor the other's beliefs things will work out. My great aunt Jenny married a Catholic man in 1910. They came to the U.S. from Germany because both famlies objected. He can best be described as a real Mench. He is directely responsible for saving my mother's entire family from the Nazi death camps. Their marriage lasted more then half a century.

Chana Z., May 5, 2013 11:18 AM

Jewish?

Maybe you Aunt Jenny's husband was really Jewish?

(59) Yohcevet Uziel Weinberger, May 3, 2013 7:40 PM

My interfaith marriage lead me back to Judaism, and produced a Jewish son.

When I was in the market for a husband, I asked God to send me a spiritually-oriented Jewish guy. I kept running into this very nice guy from the meditation center I attended. It was obvious we were "b'shert." We've been happily married for over 30 years. My parents, bless their souls, loved my husband. I found out the boy from USY I had dated as a teenager, had become non-observant. If I had married the Jew, I wouldn't have been supported in becoming observant, as I am now! Also, my husband supported my son and I in getting him a fine Torah-school education and Bar Mitzvah. We are still members of the fine Conservative synagogue, which I attend frequently. In theory, I would have preferred to marry a Jew. However, every Jew I met growing up felt too much like a brother to be attracted to. Let's face it, we are all closely related. The professional Jewish man I brought home once met my grandmother. She approved of him, because she had the impression he was wealthy. I learned he was a womanizer and he was not spiritually oriented. It would have been a bad match. My cousin's first husband was Jewish but he was abusive. She remarried a non-Jew and has been happy for a lifetime. There is a 50% divorce rate, whether or not there is intermarriage. I too feel sad when people intermarry when there are perfectly good choices available, but it is better to be with a non-Jew you can be faithful to, than in an unhappy marriage.

.Shoshana, May 5, 2013 6:42 AM

no

It is better to stay single.

(58) Anonymous, May 3, 2013 6:41 PM

Pressure on the Children

I know too many couples who try to raise children in both religions stating that the child can choose when an adult. Why do they think children will be able to choose when they didn't have the courage to choose one religion or the other? And how can they possibly think that the children won't see it as having to choose between parents. I think this leaves children with nothing religiously speaking.

(57) JJ, May 3, 2013 2:06 PM

It's Cultural too

Sad but true. We agreed to raise the children Jewish (my religion). The problems were mostly cultural: my ex-husband came from a very buttoned-up family where you never raised your voice or talked about your true feelings. I was raised in a noisy, talk til you drop, Jewish family where no subject was off-limits. You can figure out the eventual outcome from that one...

(56) Anonymous, May 3, 2013 11:49 AM

my best friend son is engaged to an East Indian Women

My best friends concern is not that her future daughter in law not Jewish but that she is East Indian. Any caucasian women would make a good choice for her son. I feel I might loose friendship if I comment on what her future grandchildren become as a result of intemarriage

Anonymous, May 5, 2013 6:52 AM

tell her

Find a gentle way to tell her but tell her. She probably does not want non-Jewish grandchildren. Maybe she can influence her son to call it off, you never know. If you don't tell her she will anyway realize it sooner or later and then have a complaint against you because you didn't tell her and you will then loose your friendship with her. Anyway, you need to worry about your friendship with G-d first.

Mikhael, May 5, 2013 8:07 AM

Technically speaking, East Indians are considered "Caucasians"

According to anthropolgical classifications, at least, and referring specificcally to hose from the north of India, who speak Sanksrit-derived languages (belonging to the Indo-European language family). It sounds to me from your description of this woman's attitude that she would, howver, prefer a non-Jewish daughter-in-law who looks "white" (e.g., an Italian or Irish Catholic) and would be upset at having a Jewish daugher-in-law with roots in the Bene Israel or Cochin Jewish communities. I think that attitude is reprehensible.

(55) Anonymous, May 3, 2013 7:39 AM

Look for the same major goals

I believe that the major thing to look for, when looking for a partner in life, is to look for someone who shares Your major goals and values. As a couple, Things work so much easier if you are heading in the same direction by nature. Therefore, don't look at if it's called Jewish or Christian, but look at if you really share the same faith. Are you equally serious about God, do you agree on the path for Your children? What about daily life, will the other one be a support of Your faith, as you are of Your spouse's faith? That is, will Your spouse bring you closer to Your God (that is, not by desperation), as you bring Your spouse closer her/his? If so, even if it is intermarriage, I believe it's ok. And, if it is not intermarriage, but does not give this goal, then reconsider if it's a good idea. After all, it's about Your life and future.

(54) Wassim, May 3, 2013 2:43 AM

Religion in marriage - the elephant in the room - IMO

In this modern age, we are bombarded with feel-good ideas from every interest group under the sun. Ideas that seem to "make sense" in theory at least. But, if you had the benefit of hindsight, would that compensate you for the lost years or broken relationships on your way to this wisdom that's borne out of experience. Do you fancy giving a decade or two of your precious life, just to see what life is like for a guinea pig or a specimen in a laboratory! (from personal experience - I wouldn't recommend it to others). Wouldn't you want to maximise your chances of success and leave the risk taking to less integral decisions (like career choice for example - it's much easier to change career paths than to change your family). People's world-view and their attitude towards it can be largely a factor of their religion. Trying to find Mr or Mrs Right is a lot harder than finding the "better path" and seeing who is clinging to that path. If you appreciate that Judaism works, and it works well, then it makes perfect sense to marry a Jew (and by consequence - it makes LESS sense to marry out). However, this issue is complicated by what it really means to be a Jew, and who is a "real" Jew, and the unnecessary tensions that surface sometimes between different Jewish communities (especially between the orthodox and non-orthodox). When family is important, it's important to consider the unique perspective of every member of that family. It's complicated, but family is worth it.

(53) Curious, May 3, 2013 12:45 AM

Data re:conversions?

I am wondering if there is any data on marriages where one has become a Jew By Choice?

(52) Anonymous, May 3, 2013 12:15 AM

faith marriage failed, interfaith marriage now in its 25th year

Although I greatly appreciated Rabbi Salomons comments, I have to mention my circumstance.
I had an Orthodox Faith marriage(head covered, Shomar Shabbat, etc) for 7 years( no children). It did not work - for many reasons, all non-religious. I received a Get and 4 years later married a good friend. He is an Atheist, and agreed to raise our children Jewish. They were raised Reform ( as that accepts both partners) and we kept Kosher. We are still very happy and our daughter happily identifies herself as Jewish.I would enjoy going back to the Orthodox community as that is what I am most comfortable with, but I Love my Husband to much to make him an outcast in a religion I love. We have both enjoyed Israel.

Anonymous, May 3, 2013 4:07 PM

Is this interfaith and JewISH, not Jew.

An antheist claims he had no faith, therefore this is not a truly interfaith situation. Since Reform Judaism is not truly Judaism (Judaism accepts all the 13 principles of Maimonides, while Reform rejects some of them) but is rather a religion of Jews, you have raise your children JewISH, I agree, but did not raise them as Jews. What if children were raised Mormonish, Christianish, or Islamish? What is Jewish? Only somewhat like a Jew, no? Since your daughter is a Jew, then it is good that she sticks to being a Jew. But she is most likely JewISH and therefore will probably become part of the problem outlined in the video.

(51) Anonymous, May 2, 2013 11:53 PM

My Intermarriage

I am of Ashkenazi background, and my wife is Sephardic. We've been together for almost 30 years. Our kids don't have identity problems and see themselves as Israeli. Intermarriage can work sometimes.

Mati, May 3, 2013 3:44 PM

Your marriage is not an example

You are still Jews and therefore there is no interfaith (intereligion) marriage. The only problem you have are whether or not to each kitniot....lol.

(50) Anonymous, May 2, 2013 11:33 PM

Mother's advise to sons

I have 3 grown sons, all married to incredible jewish girls and from what I can see, they all seem very happy. My advise to them when they were younger was very simple - there is so much to argue about in marriage, why add religion. Of course I would have accepted whoever they brought home - they are my children. I was married more than 40 years, now widowed. We were very happy together and I think a fairly good model, but honestly marriage itself always has difficulties and stresses - who would want added stress. And, yes, when they were ready to look for a lifetime commitment, magically they looked to their own.

Anonymous, May 3, 2013 3:55 PM

It's happy because you are not strong in your religion

I am assuming your sons are nonjews who are Christians: Your sons have created Jewish children who don't accept the Torah commandments (along with their wives who also has obviously rejected her Torah obligations) and therefore the children have been corrupted by their parents by the raising of Jewish children who unknowingly reject their responsibilities to G-d and His Torah. This is thier "happiness" while thier children are forcebly (by their parents) turned away from G-d in thier own (unknowing) happiness.

Anonymous, May 5, 2013 7:33 AM

they sound Jewish to me

The writer said, " magically they looked to their own" and took Jewish wives. It seems that they took her excellent advise and didn't want added stress and married these wonderful Jewish girls. P.S. I'm so happy for this wise mother that she loves her daughters-law-law and for them that their mother-in-law calls them "incredible". What a beautiful relationship. May you all have much naches.

(49) Anonymous, May 2, 2013 10:56 PM

wife converted

After 10 years wife converted to Judaism. Her children by previous marriage accept it and no doubt are more tolerant than before, Ditto their spouses and in-laws. See no downside.

(48) Shannon W., May 2, 2013 10:49 PM

Boils down to good communication

I think we should be careful about lifting research results to support an existing belief. If we already believe that Jews are not supposed to intermarry according to Torah, then there is no need to cite research. If one wishes to cite research then one places a burden on oneself to verify the conclusions are scientifically valid. One runs the risk of propagating bad science as well as seemingly using it to justify Torah.

On a more human note, many problems in marriage arise because of poor or no communication. What faith in which to raise one's children is something every couple should discuss BEFORE getting married, and it behooves religious leaders to make sure their congregants hear and understand this, even to the point of pre-marital counseling, which I think every couple should go through. If the research were to control for couples that did discuss the faith of their children beforehand, I would be interested to know whether those couples had much difference in divorce rates compared to same-faith couples.

(47) janicemcalarnen, May 2, 2013 10:14 PM

i think it is crucial to have the same beliefs and rituals.

How can 2 become 1 without the same core beliefs? I found out the hard way and am divorced.

(46) sharon, May 2, 2013 9:03 PM

Shame on you

Over and over again you refer to failure! I am 36 years in an interfaith marriage.
Exhausting, chaotic and challenging yes!
Filled with fears and tears and opinions from mostly non intermarried individuals yes!
Worth the struggles yes!
Life whatever our choices is meant to be about the journey.
We have five beautiful children and as many moments of joy and richness as we have had moments of questions and doubts.
Shame on you for using the word failure to presume that failure is a cloud that forever hangs over the lives of families that are intermarried, rather than offer encouragement and support.
Sharon

Anonymous, May 5, 2013 8:41 AM

shame on who?

I think it is a shame on the intermarried that they continually try to justify themselves at the expense of others who might not marry out if it weren't for these comments posted by the intermarried , trying to convince others that it's okay to do it. But just because you "succeeded" that means the next guy will? So where do you come off to give such bad advice? Deep down inside you surely know that a Jewish girl or boy would be better off with a Jewish spouse. Furthermore, after reading through the comments posted by the intermarried, it seems to me that most (though not all) of them really know, somewhere deep, deep down in their Jewish soul (neshama) that they did the wrong thing, and that is why they put so much effort in trying to convince others that it's okay to intermarry. They are really trying to convince themselves.. So I would say to all of you, you did it, you did it, but perhaps you stop trying to influence others to do the same.

(45) Chaim, May 2, 2013 8:53 PM

Critically important

With all the stressors which fill our lives these days, it is of tremendous importance to not add differences in religion to the whole picture.
Despite some of the above comments, and nothing is ever 100
Percent versus zero, the diffe re nces in faith that will emergenas a marriage passes out of the newly wed stage
Will add very serious problems for a couple that has not thought ahead.

(44) John Vermeer, May 2, 2013 8:45 PM

Didn't Work in My Parents Case

Details should be hashed out before marriage occurs. In my parents case they weren't, everything was left open with the assumption that my mother would give up her Judaism. She was from an old country family and couldn't do it. On her deathbad, my father refused to allow her to see a rabbi, something devastating to me and to me and led to a bitter fight in their last days together. Young love doesn't consider old age and death.

(43) Frank Adam, May 2, 2013 7:35 PM

Clarify assumptions first and clarify statistics

If people marry out untroubled by religion they infer it is not important or they do not see the importance. ie religious teaching in school and home have not shown practical Earthly importance, treating religion as sentimentality for feasting and presents. Sometimes it succeeds too well in pushing [Shoah] memories which some might be only too eager to escape. What is religion for? What are we supposed to do or achieve with it? Too obvious to learned enthusiasts but not always to youngsters in conscript school lesson's presented with another non-existent Schrodinger's black cat in a blacked out room from another nutty teacher, but no daily practical use than atomic particle physics in the World of work and pay slips, sports scores and the sitcom TV. Push God less and put more effort into the Earthly effects of the ideas in the stories and the observances of religion - and that means you can not ignore the ideas of other religions. We teachers have to criticise them politely but severely.
Nowadays when science, geography, finance and economics exact figures; we need harder stats than in this introduction. Are the averages of higher divorce rates between varieties of Christianity (Catholics /Orthodox /Protestants- and episcopalian or not so), Jews (orthdox/ reform/conservative/ non synagogue members), and Moslems (Sunni/Shi'ite/Ahmadi) lower or higher than between marriages across the main denominational borders? Which would corroborate and analyse the tripping points of the main thesis. How do divorce rates compare to international marriages or the general total by averages and standard deviations? We live in an age of great change of status, education and opportunities so how do we discount these from the central question of interfaith marriages? As overall results are poorer what and where are the particularly religious reasons for mixed marriage failures? Religious education needs more sociology for teachers about its aims in the World now!

(42) Angus, May 2, 2013 7:29 PM

Belief, policy and action.

This is an important observation. In any area of life it is from what we believe that we form the policies of our life, and from our policies come our actions. Broadly speaking, for most of what is believed, there is great flexibility in the policies that can be formed from a belief. Consequently an appearance of melting pot culture can be maintained. But there are some areas of belief that necessarily cut straight through policy and action, in particular for ourselves who are called to be a Holy nation set apart, and these will cause difficulty for any partnership where the underlying beliefs of each party are contradictatory.

(41) Bracha bat Yetta, May 2, 2013 7:13 PM

some interfaith marriages do work out well

Both of our children married within our Jewish faith, but I have two nieces who married men of a different religion. Both of these men are outstanding human beings and are a wonderful addition to our extended family. In one niece's family, the children have been raised Jewish and have all become b'nai mitzvah. In the other family, they celebrate the holidays of both parents' religions. Either way, these long term marriages are solid because of the individuals involved, their love for each other and their respect for each other. My husband used to tell our children that it would be nice to marry someone Jewish but the most important thing is to marry a good person. I believe this more than ever now.

What's important is that when Jewish people intermarry, they be accepted and welcomed into the fold. People marry for love, not for continuity of the Jewish people. Acceptance will increase the possibility that more of the offspring of such unions will grow up Jewishly. Also, our rabbis need to do more to reach out to children when they are young, to let them see the beautiful, spiritual aspects of Judaism, as well as our great history and inspiring rituals, instead of focusing on the "Thou shalt nots" --

(40) Dee, May 2, 2013 6:51 PM

have a different of opinion

No it is not important to marry someone of a different religion because LOVE surpasses everything when it is true love that God brings up together with at the start. I was born and raised as a Christian....I do not belong to it as an adult...but I believe wholly in Judaism. A Jewish gentleman once asked me "Do you know why men who are married to Jewish women die young?" I could not answer...it seemed illogical. But in a quip of humour he said "because they want to". He said many Jewish men have a great sense of humour...they like a more relaxed relationship than what a Jewish woman can provide...because they are rigid and fixed on 'getting it right' rather than 'living it right' jovially & positively on a day by day basis. I certainly am not sure if this is the mentality of a lot of Jewish men.... ?????

(39) Tim Upham, May 2, 2013 6:49 PM

There Is Not Always Tension There

I am the product of a mixed marriage, but both my parents were devout Communists from Hungary. It is just that they left in the 1956 uprising, because they were disgruntled over the Soviet Union. When I met my father's family in Budapest, I was surprised with how devoutly Calvinists there were. I had one cousin tell me "there were so many Jewish people where we lived, that our lives just intermingled."

(38) Jen, May 2, 2013 6:02 PM

Of course it's important - it's a crucial issue

Rabbi in all due respect I think this is not just something to think about it's something to act upon and is of crucial significance to Jewish survival - are we forgetting the Holocaust took place only a few decades ago?! Reform and non Orthodox Jews today do not understand the importance of marrying a Jewish spouse -- they don't care that by marrying outside they are essentially cutting the Jewish chain for generations to come-- there was no need for the Nazis we Jews are destroying ourselves and wiping out our essences and identities -- we must teach our children from an early age about the richness of our heritage and religion and maybe then this plague of intermarriage would not be happening at such a drastic rate

(37) אמון, May 2, 2013 5:57 PM

Reborn of Judaism

In my case I was catholic however my family never practiced the religion it was just there...then married a catholic man however we also never practiced the religion, the only thing we did was the Tree... so years past and I started searching my ancestry, until I discovered I was Jewish...the so called crypto-jews and felt in my heart I had to follow my faith, I knew in my heart I was always Jewish. So I started going to Shabbat and Introduced the Jewish believes in the home, had the Menorah and the tree,he would continue to be a catholic in his heart and I practiced my Judaism and slowly introduced it to our daughter, she didn't want to hear about it in the beginning, but slowly learned and has accepted Judaism in her life and is now dating a Jewish man...So Judaism has been reborn-ed in my family and will continue for many years to come. Shabbat Shalom

(36) Anonymous, May 2, 2013 5:48 PM

Believes or faith do matter in marriage as many other things.

Being a believer in different religions can have a gig impact on a marriage as many other issues. There are a lot of couples divorcing ( in Israel it is about a third of the couples and most of them are both Jewish.
If one person is "secular(indifferent to religious habits and do not follow them" while the other keeps some of them ( like not traveling on Shabat or not watching TV , it can bring huge conflicts up to divorce. In many cases if one party changes his view getting more secular or more religious, it can destroy a marriage between people who are very Jewish , but they look for a very different kind of education to their children.
As I mentioned earlier I am a Jew because I was born a Jew and I was taught the Jewish tradition and learned it and have a high esteem to the culture and history of my people. I do not believe in any kind of supreme power , legends written in ancient books , "Holly Books " as called by many people in various religions , and I do not believe in after life and prices or punishments promised there . I am married and have children , educated in the same spirit and as my wife ( yes she is a Jew , as we met in Israel and statistically , the chance for not to be one where small :)) and it was clear for both of us that the religion practice will not be a part of our life , so we are together for over 30 years . I hope that my children will keep distance from religion of any kind ( remember I am an atheist - I see religion as a form of giving away your freedom of choosing your own way of life), but in any case they are still my kids .
Faith as a cause of divorce ? Yes any change in faith can be a cause and any lack of tolerance is a cause . Maybe the Jewish reformism or conservatism or atheism are more tolerant ?

(35) Anne Ruben, May 2, 2013 5:27 PM

interfaith marriage

My Jewish husband and I (a Lutheran) have been happily married for over 32 years! I thoroughly respect his religious beliefs and he mine. I will grant you this was not our first marriage in either case. His helping to raise my Son with Jewish thinking was nothing but positive for Christopher. Ifeel there has been way to much violence in the name of religion and my Husband agrees! Thanks so much for listening! We love the Aish!

(34) Faith, May 2, 2013 5:15 PM

Depends on many factors

I was raised in a Reform congregation. I attended Jewish Camp, went to Israel twice, was president of my youth group, went to Brandeis, never dated non-Jews. Then I met my husband. He grew up Congregationalist, but not really religious. By our third date I knew this could be serious. I actually told him - if we were to get married, I need to (want to) raise Jewish children. We did and we are. Our congregation has been extremely supportive of our interfaith marriage, as has my husbands family. They have readily welcomed me and the fact that our children our Jewish. In our congregation the children most committed (those who continue their Jewish education post bar/bat mitzvah are in I tee faith marriages (more than 50% of the class). These teens all consider themselves Jews, not half and half. My strong belief is that if temples can openly embrace Interfaith couples who are committed to raising Jewish children, everyone benefits.

(33) Mary, May 2, 2013 5:01 PM

Intermarriage can have positive effects too.

I was really hoping this video on intermarriage would also discuss how intermarriage can also encourage the couple to explore their differences. My ancestors were Jewish but then assimilated into the Christian life so being Jewish didn't mean anything and I wasn't interested in religion until my born again husband forced me to really dig deep and find my true belief in Hashem. Now I returned to the synagogue, I write about Judaism in the local paper and my kids recently visited Israel. And also my parents and siblings are exploring it too. So intermarriage can be a positive experience after the struggle to fight to keep your religion. My husband and I can talk about G-d but once I feel he's pressuring me to see things his way I stop the conversation.

(32) Kelly Kafir, May 2, 2013 4:51 PM

Agree!

I agree with the Rabbi... As a Christian, I respect the Jewish people but it would be a problem for me because of the Yeshua issue...especially if there were kids involved. I do think it is important to keep one's faith and didn't G-d tell the Jewish people not to intermarry? Just sayin...

Wish this wasn't an issue - especially between Jews and Christians but it is... and don't even get me started on Muslims... one spouse MUST convert and if they don't, there are other issues involved!

(31) Karsten Bannier, May 2, 2013 4:48 PM

G-ds plan

I was brought up in a stable middle class home in Johannesburg by parents of different faiths,my mother from an observant Jewish family & my late dad,an ex German soldier.They were married for almost 50 years.Religion was rarely mentioned as my dad always said after what he experienced in a tank division in Stalingrad,there was no G-d.This was so confusing as I always knew that I was part of the tribe.I would caution any couple of different faiths to think twice before they get married as this could have severe affects on their offspring.Perhaps it was Hashem's plan for this to happen to my parents...Today I am happily married to a Jewish wife,two wonderful Jewish kids in a Kosher home. I believe the reason that my parents met was so that my wife & I could bring our children up in a Jewish home & make a contribution to our faith.

(30) Suzanne, May 2, 2013 4:46 PM

I think the rabbi is correct that intermarriage is hard

... and could lead to a higher level of divorce. Even if the non Jewish partner converts, it's difficult. Many born Jews are equally clueless about what it takes to raise a Jewish family. They are not at all aware of how all encompassing Judaism is. But say they even get to the first hurdle and the non Jew converts. First a non Jew, this can be tough enough as they have to go against their own families- that, in itself, can be excruciating for them. Then, say the convert is a woman, she has to change SO much about herself - things from her dress, to her diet to how she decorates her home - it means putting up with insensitive comments from born Jews, it means giving up much cherished family traditions, the list goes on and on. Today, unfortunately, it even means putting up with an impossible Israeli rabbinate if aliyah is considered (even if the conversion was deemed orthodox in America). For men, it's a lot of the same plus the added pressure of making a boat load of money in order to put his kids through day schools, camps etc.. It also means buying a home in a predominately Jewish neighborhood that is close to synagogues, day schools etc. Very often these neighborhoods are expensive. For everyone - it can be enormously overwhelming and time consuming as well - that is if you're serious about shabbat, holidays, learning Hebrew and davening etc. Another thing about Judaism, is you have to be consistent - keeping up the mitzvahs year after year. There's no "retiring" from Judaism. No, it's definitely NOT for the faint of heart - it's a huge undertaking and for keeps. Good luck to anyone who tries it!

(29) Matt, May 2, 2013 4:46 PM

I invite the Rabbi to go on Jdate

20-30 Equal amount of men to women... then try looking at AFTER 30 - much more women then men. Why?

Jewish girls are looking to maintain the same style of life they were brought up with: white picket fences, dog, 2.5 kids, minivan, big house etc. The times are different now and Jewish women DON'T get it. They have all been raised to become "silver diggers". (Girl next door values on the outside, but in the inside they are gold diggers. )

Non Jewish women 30 know a Jewish man is a catch and know that we are basically beaten from our 20's from the narcissistic, unrealistic, demanding, high maintenance Jap.

The Rabbi and the Jewish community need to focus at the real issues and not have their head in the sand on this one.

(28) mike lubo, May 2, 2013 4:43 PM

which other hand

Whats a modern Rabbi? One that doesn't eat pork on shabbos. Guess there is no children in your marriage or you too afraid to say. My child from a jewish marriage is confused enough in divorce because he lives with a mom who keeps no religion and a Dad that keeps all chaggim etc...surrounded by another faith can only b confusing. The Rebbe spoke about never giving Israeli land for peace as it will never last.how much more so a jewish soul..

(27) Allan F. Hyatt, May 2, 2013 4:38 PM

I'm against it...except..

I am a secular/traditional Jew who does not believe in interfaith marriages...the excepttion (if at all) being older folks who are past the age of having children. My wife (Jewish) of 36 years passed away over eight years ago. After her passing, I went onto Jewish internet dating sites. As fate would have it ( and not thru the sites) I met a divorced woman (Jewish) and have had a relationship with her since. I do know of several marriages where the husband is Jewish and the wife is not, but have little to no issues with it because they are mature adults who will not be having more children.

(26) Yoram, May 2, 2013 4:29 PM

It's hard enough within a religion ......

Few are prepared for the consant struggles within a marriage when issues of religiosity come to the forefront. One party wants to keep, the other doesn't and the kids, if any, are torn between competing parental views.

(25) Anonymous, May 2, 2013 4:22 PM

Its true there is a silent chasm. We are 26 years into our interfaith marriage. However, My husband and I often discuss the benefits of expanding the gene pool. Our children are beautiful, smart and successful. Our son is "Master" of AEPI at his university. Our daughter, who teaches music in the public school system, has been teaching Hebrew school for 4 or 5 years. I'm the Jew, he's a Catholic from Mexico. We're really very happy and yes he did wince when I told him we were having a bris! But really, we think it's vital to humanity to mix things up. Many Jewish people were cut off during the war. There are genetic diseases that are specific to race. So, my advise is to discuss your differences first, make a decision and then move on. Variety is the spice of life!

Anonymous, May 5, 2013 9:21 AM

Variety

Variety may be the spice of life, but you can get plenty of it in a Jewish marriage without marrying out. Genetic diseases? a simple blood test can tell if both are carriers or not. I' happy that your husband agreed to a bris and that the children are being brought up Jewish, but do you know how many men would never agree to that even though they previously thought wouldn't care? I therefore think that you should be very careful not to ever advise a Jewish boy or girl to intermarry, considering the high misery rate in these marriages.

(24) Sondra Brown, May 2, 2013 4:08 PM

It depends on the couple involved

My frst marriage was to a ConservativeJew as I am-had one child before divorce. Second husband a committed Presbyterian, raisedthat boy who is now an Orthodox Jew Since my husban's passing, I am married to a Black man who keeps koher with me and subscribes to your publications!!

(23) Anonymous, May 2, 2013 4:06 PM

Valid research important to issue...

Also, if statistics are going to be used in formulating our thoughts, the statistical studies have to be valid. This study isn't valid because the sample is way too small to provide or even garner meaningful data by inference. Another factor invalidating the study is that there are no comparisons between interfaith couples and single-faith couples regarding percentage of divorce within a large enough sample size.

The reintroduction of rampant infanticide also is having an impact in the divorce rate, in my opinion. When any of the members, but especially infants--the most helpless of us--are defined as having no worth, then marriage as an institution declared holy and having merit by Hashem, is not recognized as such. And marriage relationships suffer greatly because without a focus on marriage and family as having a transcendent quality and eternal meaning, it puts man as god in a universe without Anyone to answer to for one's actions. Selfishness and power and instant gratification then take precedence over hard work, compassion, and building something important, such as a successful marriage relationship requires. Marriage can become a throw-away commodity in a disposable society, and in a society which disposes of it's own future.

Finally, this piece while appreciated for what it was trying to communicate. The video author is trying to prevent disasters of marriages failing due to conflicts of belief(s) and practice.

But it, sadly, only alienates those already in interfaith marriages or those who have divorced within the Jewish community, and does not provide enough of a framework for decision-making for those young or not-so-young people trying to make good choices in the complex world of love, marriage, faith, and identity.

(22) Anonymous, May 2, 2013 4:04 PM

I converted Orthodox and was "Still" considered " intermarried " by some unkind people who didnt know the law.

Although I converted to Judaism , following all orthodox laws and requirements, I was never " accepted" as Jewish by my mother in-law.. I was accepted by cousins and sister in law, however. Since our little family observed everything with joy and pleasure. It was very difficult for me to feel like an outsider because of my birth into a secular non Jewish home. No matter what I did , it made no difference to my mother in law. My father in law and my husbands grandmother, who were very religious were much more accepting. I was sure that " what the neighbors thought" was what drove my mother in laws reaction and it had nothing to do with the religion.I am VERY glad I am Jewish, it is the best religion, for me. I never had any problem keeping kosher and obeying the laws required for women. and we are married happily for almost 50 years.

Anonymous, May 5, 2013 9:31 AM

you're great!

Don't worry about your mother-in-law. If it hadn't been the Jewish thing, it would have been something else. You see, the religious people in the family do accept you. You are %100 Jewish and you can't possible realize how much H-shem loves you, just had he loves Ruth. Happy Shavuos!

(21) Aa, May 2, 2013 3:54 PM

Tough call

I am extremely fortunate now, happily married 2 years to my soulmate and we are expecting our first child. His mom is Jewish and I'm actually his first Jewish girlfriend/ wife. He embraces the religion and yearns to do even more. Sadly and traumatically I was married before. I wasted five years dating someone who I basically had to coerce into marriage, which barely lasted 6 months. This problem many of my friends shared as well. I dated a lot of guys between H1and H2 and very few truly wanted to commit and this is a bigger reason I think why women look outside the faith. I was one of the lucky ones, and I remind myself of that every day. Most Jewish men are not in a rush to commit, pretending women can wait years until their clocks expire for childbirth. Rabbi please address the growing epidemic of men who don't want to commit to a Jewish marriage, and let's really examine what's wrong there. I dated Jewish men with large homes and money and savings and even those, now that I'm married 2 years, I see on Facebook still single roaming aimlessly.

(20) Anonymous, May 2, 2013 3:45 PM

the world sits on the shoulder of the jew

we the jews have a great responssibility. the faith of the world sits on our shoulder. the torah is the building blocks of the universe and by studdying it we are maintaining the inegrity of the universe.

if there will be no more jews god forbid due to intermarriage this world will collaps on itself .

so think twice before you say I do to a non jeish partner.

(19) Yossie, May 2, 2013 3:42 PM

Why are Jews looking elsewhere

I think that before we get to the problems of intermarriage, we should ask ourselves why the Jewish education system can't instill Jewish pride in our students, so that they grow up to be proud Jews. WHat is it that they aremissing, and what is it that they are looking for elsewhere? Maybe if we can answer that question, we can deal with it, and can avoide intermarriage completely.

Amhoretz, May 3, 2013 9:23 PM

Maybe Jews look elsewhere because they get insulted in the Jewish community.

I'm a working-class Jew of moderate means. On the behest of my wife i sent my kids--at great financial sacrifice--to a Jewish day school. They got snubbed there by the much better-off students. One of my sons was horribly abused...all this based on us being viewed as "poor."

Anonymous, May 5, 2013 9:57 AM

so sad

I'm shocked to hear this story. It's really terrible. Were you able to discuss this with the rabbi or community leaders? Certainly the kids there might have had money but were really lacking everything else. I hope that you were able to transfer them to a better school..

(18) Anonymous, May 2, 2013 3:42 PM

Important Topic

When speaking of the Jewish people; there is no question that there probably is no greater aveirah than intermarriage. We are talking of a history of 4000 years, which in an instant, can be broken because of the ignorance & assimilation of the Jewish people in our long exile. Our Torah commands us not to intermarry with the nations and that we are a nation that dwells alone. For many Jews reading this site, it is all news to them, but truth must be said and the Rabbi in the above video spoke very well. Hopefully, Jewish people reading this site (usually those who are searching for purpose) will learn and realize the damage done in our long exile.

(17) Elisheba, May 2, 2013 3:42 PM

Also some benefits

I think it is definitely important. However, I have been married to a (secular) non-Jew for 13 years, and we are keeping a Kosher home and raising our children Jewish. One of my friend's husband was not Jewish and he ended up converting after 22 years into the marriage. Truly, interfaith marriage can be more challenging but IMHO it also has some benefits because it requires more attention and work from both spouses to make it work, to not take it granted and fall into a boring routine.

(16) Hanna, May 2, 2013 3:41 PM

Point of view of a child

In all the discussions we hear about interfairh marriage i miss the voice of the offspring. Whereas a child of a jewish mother is always jewish, a child of a jewish father is not. Children from interfaith marriages are confused about their paths and are in for a lot of pain if jew is on the paternal side. I speak from personal experience and seeing friends around me. While growing up strongly identifying with judaism, many children are never told that halachically they are nit jewish. The moment they find out that they have to convert to "belong" can be devastating. Conversion is a painful proces, especially if you grew up feeling you were jewish. I have seen people give up because of that. I myself will for always be referred to as a ger, because even though we are not supposed to, it is what people do. Nobody will think about the long line of jews i come from. Talking about eternal love and we are all the same is great but not true. We are all equal but absolutely not the same. Chosing to marry someone who does not belong to your faith is in my eyes a selfish act. Your personal happiness does not come before that of your children, even if these children are not yet born. Raising them in both traditions sounds wonderful but creates even more confusion, since in the end they do not realy belong anywhere. It is wonderful if the parents are able to have a happy marriage, but do the children have a healthy spiritual life? That should be the question. Sadly, i do not think we want to research that.

(15) Kent, May 2, 2013 3:41 PM

Problems are meant to be overcome

What are these problems causing these relationships to fail? Why can't the children be educated in both religions and then let them decide on their own once they have reached adulthood? Why does religion always have to be pushed on people/children? Why not simply provide the children with as much information as possible and let them make their own decision as soon as they are capable of doing so?



In the end of it all, religion equates to nothing. It is the relationships that have meaning.



You could be the most religious person in the world, yet in G_d's eyes, he knows nothing of you.



Children are not stupid, if they really desire to connect with G_d, they will find their way and G_d will not let them down, no matter what religion stands in the way.

(14) shimon, May 2, 2013 3:34 PM

this is one reason for the holocast

God said to the jewish you are my children and i dont share you with anyone.there are fail safe switches that god put up in order to keep his jewish people intact

as a pure nation. a jew that intermarry most likely will lose his fath to the other side and not have continuity

amoung the gewish people. this is spiritual death in the

eyes of the heavenly courts. and if this is the case then as might as well be physical death as well.thats when the holocast came into play to do a house cleanup

in europe when over 50% of the jews were intermarried

and left the faith for so called the enlightment movement of Germany. it happend before in spain and in iran and diffrent places where the jew got too comfortible and forgot where he came from and what his purpose in the universe is. If you dont think it will happen in America? you just waite and see.

Kent, May 3, 2013 2:36 PM

Loosing your faith due to intermarriage?

Just weird...I think they would have lost their faith in any case.

(13) Allie, May 2, 2013 3:21 PM

I do think it's overblown

I think this study should've been talked about with a bit more accuracy, as one of the other commenters posted.

My husband is not Jewish, and I don't think this is an issue. We have a stunningly good marriage, and I really have a hard time imagining that Hashem would bring me someone so wonderful only to then say, "Nope! Just kidding - he's not Jewish so you can't be with him!" We put way too much emphasis on marrying within, when the emphasis should be placed on finding the person who's right for you and who shares your ideas on how the family should function and other such values.

Anonymous, May 6, 2013 7:29 PM

H-shem is against intermarriage

H-shem made it very clear in His Torah that He is opposed to intermarriage and forbade it for the Jewish people. Therefore, it does not make any sense at all for a couple to think that H-shem approves of their going against His will. We surely do not put too much emphasis on marrying in, if anything, there's not enough. You're right that there has to be emphasis on marrying the right person, but first he has to have the basic requirement of being a Jew

(12) Zehava, May 2, 2013 3:18 PM

Data skewed?

Agree..."interfaith" could be Baptist and Catholic. Most of my Jewish friends have married outside the faith, but the spouse is supportive and the kids are being raised Jewish. Same with me. My spouse is a non-practicing gentile. He embraces the faith, knows brachas for Shabbas, supports Israel, and encourages a strong Chabad education for our kids. Actually, Chabad is more supportive of our marriage than more liberal shuls. I bet there are more failed marriages between Jewish liberals and conservatives!

(11) S malka, April 30, 2013 8:51 PM

While some people have a Non-Jewish spouse that is supportive of their spouse's Jewish heritage, some don't have that. It could be for ex, the husband is supportive of his wife's Jewish heritage, and they go to synagogue etc., but then over time, he might feel that he wants to go back to his Christian roots and wants the family to follow, or at least follow both. This is Not good for the kids since they are Jewish from their mother and shouldn't be taken away from their faith.
--
Now if the wife is the Non-Jewish spouse, the kids aren't Jewish. Therefore the Jewish husband shouldn't push to raise them Jewish since that alone won't make them Jewish. They would have to go through a conversion. The wife might and kids might Not be interested.

David, May 2, 2013 3:21 PM

Isn't that the exception, where a conversion should be encouraged? That's what I've been told by orthodox rabbis. Besides you're no worse off.

Yossie, May 2, 2013 3:37 PM

It doesn't matter which spouse is Jewish

While S. Malka is correct, and according to Halacha the children of a non-Jewish mother are not Jewish, the feelings of the spouses are still similar, in that either one could want to go back to their roots. That could cause marital problems, and is also detrimental to the children, regardless of whether the children are Jewish according to Halacha.

(10) Anonymous, April 30, 2013 3:18 PM

... On the Other Hand

I was raised from the early age of 11 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn among the Chabad-Lubavitch and received a traditional Lubavitcher education. While in my early 20s, I parted ways with Lubavitch in search of a more inclusive, tolerant and accepting form of religion. My search both began and ended with Judaism. I became certain that the Orthodox views towards other religions as it pertains to Interfath marriage are (in my opinion) disrespectful of the paths others have chosen in their own individual journey toward finding their own personal truth.



I was blessed in my early 30's to meet and marry the ABSOLUTE love of my life... who happens to be a Christian and was raised with a very different set of beliefs from my own. It was during this time, while we ourselves were attempting to find both a Rabbi and a Priest to perform our own Interfaith marriage, that I experienced first-hand the fears, difficulties and concerns the subject can bring to the surface. My wife and I realized that what matters most, is the love we share and the promise we have made to each other to work together in love and in faith. When you find that special partner with whom you are ready to share your life, you begin to understand the true meaning of faith. In fact, it was my wifes' devout beliefs in her religion that caused me to re-examine what it means to be a person of faith in a modern world... With her support and love, I was able to come to the realization that I was meant to serve God and the Jewish community in a more profound and substantial way and was meant to become a modern Rabbi.



I have come to the personal belief that: We are all children of God no matter how we choose to serve or connect with the creator. I also realized that if each of us is created in the image of God as the Torah teaches, then we are all to be respected for our beliefs and chosen paths in life... We are going on 20 years and it's NEVER BEEN BETTER.

Anonymous, May 1, 2013 8:56 AM

How we choose

You are right that we are all children of G-d. But a Jew is not free to choose how he serves Him. There a specific Commandment in the Torah forbidding us to marry out. So a person either accepts that the Torah was Divinely given on Mt. Sinai and follows G-d's will, as revealed to the Jewish people at that time or he doesn't, and develops his own philosophy. But can he rationally claim that his ideas are as equally valid as the Divine will? You are right that we are all created in the image of G-d and all humans as such are to be respected. But can we have equal respect for an individual who chooses to go against the Creator in Whose image we were created? Could we not see this as open rebellion against the King of Kings? Since you are already on this website, I would recommend a one minute video called, "The Day that Shook the World".

John Vermeer, May 2, 2013 8:50 PM

Reply to Anonymous

I think this is what happened with my mother when she married out of her faith, she realized she had left the safety and protection of her faith, made one desperate grasp for it at the end and failed. Your comment makes me think she was punished somehow for turning her back on Judaism. The G-d of Israel is a jealous G-d and doesn't let His people go easily.

GJ, May 3, 2013 5:27 AM

Excellent response

Yesher Koach

Anonymous, May 2, 2013 3:12 PM

Does it not bother you

I don't know if you had children together, but if so you must certainly know that they are not legitimately Jewish. Not half Jewish or kinda Jew- ish. Not Jewish. You did not give them the choice to find their path and you probited the next hundred possible generations of Jews. In the process you probably get your family tremendously and contributed to the tremendous confusion and disclusion children of intermarriage faith. All of this bothers me tremendously. As hard as it is for me to find a Jewish partner, no love of. Non Jew no matter how strong a pure can deter me. The effects are so much more far reaching than my own four walls. It is just as easy to fall in love with a Jew as it is a non Jew and the benefits are multitudinal. I don't think your one very aberrational experience is enough to negate this very real tragedy of destroying a Jewish future.

Rob, May 2, 2013 3:29 PM

Non-Jewish spouses may be good spouses, but not permitted

Many non-Jews may well indeed make wonderful spouses, but such a spouse is simply not permitted for a Jew, by Torah, which is what defines Judaism. If you want to drink the multi-cultural Kool-aid, that's your right. But don't claim Orthodoxy is somehow wrong or ugly for holding that intermarriage and non-Jewish spouses are bad for Judaism, and thus rationalize your rejection of normative Jewish marriage. Intermarriage is clearly prohibited by Torah, because it turns Jews and Jewish offspring of such marriages away from Judaism and G-d; see Devarim (Deut.) 7:3-4. Of course, a Torah citation would nothing to somebody who has abandoned Torah, that which makes Judaism distinct from non-Jewish life.

Anonymous, May 2, 2013 3:38 PM

Shame on you

You disobey a clear commandment from our creator and are proud of it?and then you become a modern rabbi you are teaching our people about our Torah how many souls you will have to account to on your judgement day sir.you are a disgrace to Jews everywhere.i feel sorry for you and your children oh wait your children are not Jewish.the world is so damaged .

Tova, May 2, 2013 9:24 PM

you're a Lucky Duck

However, if every Jew did as you did, there would be no more Jews or Judaism. All of the offspring would be too confused to know which religion to pick.

Anonymous, May 3, 2013 3:49 AM

Your children are your children no matter how they choose to serve or connect with you; even if they choose to spit on you and sling mud at you over their shoulder, and say that they're really doing what you want, they'll still be your children. That being the case, I guess you were correct when you wrote "We are all children of God no matter how we choose to serve or connect with the creator."

(9) Anonymous, April 30, 2013 12:37 PM

problem with interfaith marriage

I read the book "Til Faith do us part". Ms. Schaefer-Riley highlights well the problems with inter-faith marriage. She notes near the end of the book that inter-marriage is not for the faint of heart. It is also interesting that she is in an inter-faith marriage. The chief problem is which faith in which to raise the children. If you choose one the children may later question why not the other. One side of the family will generally be disappointed. Also, due to life's circumstances ones view of their religion may change. A person who was not particularly observant may become so later in life. Thus another potential conflict may arise.

Many of these points are also discussed in Doron Kornbluth's book "Why Marry Jewish".

Anonymous, May 2, 2013 8:53 PM

Yes, I agree...

Yes, why would you throw away your Jewish heritage by marrying out of it? It's both a gift and a responsibility, not to be abandoned easily. As a half-Jew I don't fit in anywhere. I've had Jews say to me: how can you be Jewish with a name like THAT?

(8) Shorty, April 29, 2013 8:42 PM

Statistics are funny

You quote the authors survey of 2400 people but you left our a crucial point: only 44 respondents were Jewish. She even comments that her conclusions are weak based on the numbers. The frequency of divorce was higher (34% vs 16%) but that is based on a sample of 44 people. This is hardly conclusive. I mention this because I feel many outreach groups try very hard to "prove" interfaith marriages and families do not work. Marriages don't work for a variety of reasons, and the author fails to prove that in specific Jewish interfaith families that there is some higher rate of failure.

Shoshana - Jerusalem, May 1, 2013 8:34 AM

anyway, it's true

You are right that a survey of 44 couples is not conclusive, but there are many other surveys and the truth is that interfaith marriages amongst Jews do have a %50 higher divorce rate than same faith marriages, which anyway have a high enough divorce rate in this crazy world of unhappiness that we are living in today. So why risk it? Also, even if they don't divorce, life can be very difficult and the religious conflict adds to it. Children are often confused and it's just not fair to them. Very often, after a child Is born, one parent or the other will suddenly have religious feelings that were dormant and she'll want a Christening and he'll just faint at the thought, or one will want a bris and the other won't allow it, even if they always thought they were a picture of tolerance and universal love. I read one first hand report that a man wrote that they had been happily married for years and then one day in the midst of a real hot disagreement she screamed at , "You dirty Jew!". So why marry out and take these risks? There are plenty of Jewish girls and boys to marry.

Shorty, May 2, 2013 4:41 AM

Where are those surveys?

Everything I have read does not indicate that somehow Jewish interfaith marriages are worse off.

Anonymous, May 2, 2013 3:38 PM

Plenty of Jewish boys??

I think not!! There are plenty of Jewish girls who wanted to marry a Jewish man but are not successful for various reasons. Luckily G-d gave me a wonderful mensch who converted, but other women aren't so lucky. You can't make Jewish men marry Jewish women if they don't want to.

Hans Eckendorf, May 2, 2013 6:20 PM

Risk?

I thought when you meet someone and fell in love, and feel that this is the one in the world, you will not start reasoning about "faith - interfaith". And if you do, then I feel sorry for you.

(7) Anonymous, April 29, 2013 7:37 PM

Intermarriage

I have to agree that it is better to marry within than without. Having said that, I am married to a Catholic and so is one of my friends (actually, she's married to an extremely lax Catholic). The marriages are working fine and the children are undoubtedly Jewish. I don't think these marriages would work if our husbands were very strong in the church and held strongly to those beliefs. Since they don't, and they fully support raising Jewish children and being active in the temple themselves, it works out.

Anonymous, April 30, 2013 8:58 AM

Religious

Are you and your friend orthodox Jews?

(6) Anonymous, April 29, 2013 1:01 PM

Intermarriage

I am a third generation product of intermarriage, I have Judeo- Christian roots, having a paternal Jewish Ancetsry excluded me from my experiencing my Jewish roots and my "christian" ancestry was not 100 % pure, so for those of us "mixed products" there is no "complete acceptance in either camp".



Raised in a very religious Christian home, I did not identify with the religon or most of my very loving and caring family, I converted Orthodox and I have a strong sense of Jewish identity and purpose.



As for marriage, religion in terms of observance and value system is too important to compromise.



My choice for a husband would be somone who was similarly Jewish Observant , similar level, but I would also want us to have shared a similiar family background and have similar character values e.g. honesty, integrity, transparenct, strong work thic ,community ethic , committed to family , apprecitive and engaging with extended family and community.

(5) sharona, April 29, 2013 6:45 AM

A stable healthy relationship needs two people going in a similar direction. They might try to comprimise and put their beliefs together. But if one feels more strongly about their belief and the other one feels more strongly about their own thing, they can't merge and become frustrated. Plus, the children might be confused which way to go. And they have to deal with separation.



It's much healthier for a couple to go in one direction where they have similar beliefs and values.

(4) Anonymous, April 28, 2013 5:05 PM

Not Surprising

I have been married 24 years to a Jewish Man who is from a background like mine. We both affiliate with a Conservative Synagogue and keep a kosher home. We have had a happy marriage and have had 2 kids who went to a Jewish Day School and are active in the Jewish Community. However, we have found that marriage is hard enough when you are of the same faith. I can't imagine people being married who are both devout in different faiths working things out. At the same time I have seen many interfaith marriages that have either ended in divorced or where the kids end up being raised in both faiths or raised with nothing. Interfaith marriages can last but at the expense of the children being raised with nothings.

(3) SusanE, April 28, 2013 4:50 PM

Race vs. Faith in Intermarriages

The Mormons also separate men from women in religion just as the Jews do. Men are the authority and hold the Priesthood. However I wonder if they intermarry outside their primary race yet within their faith. All the Mormon leaders and Prophets were white men up till a few years ago. Interesting. Do Jews intermarry same faith but different race?

Anonymous, May 4, 2013 12:16 AM

Jews are suppose to marry only other Jews, per the Torah. There is no prohibition in the Torah regarding the color of a person. And if you ever notice "Heb" hair of most Jews, there probably has been massive marriages of people of various colors in the past.

(2) Harold Berman, April 28, 2013 11:18 AM

Many of the same thoughts I've also had and written about

Dear Rabbi Salomon,

Thank you for this video. I am actually working on an article right now about this very book, these very issues, and the very points you made (I have a regular blog for The Times of Israel and write often on intermarriage, conversion and Jewish identity). In fact, I wrote an article for aish.com that will be published soon about my wife's and my own journey, which also discusses what I call the "silent chasm" that exists in many intermarriages. My wife and I started out intermarried, and now are an Orthodox family living in Israel - we've seen firsthand the issues that exist in many intermarriages and why they don't succeed at the same rate as in-marriages (we've also seen firsthand the issues that come up with many children of intermarriage). We just wrote a book about our own journey from intermarried to Jewish - "Doublelife: One Family, Two Faiths and a Journey of Hope" (http://www.doublelifejourney.com; for commentary on it, please see Jonathan Rosenblum's column in Mishpacha: http://www.mishpacha.com/Browse/Article/3140/An-Improbable-Journey-to-Orthodoxy). I would welcome your feedback on our book, and look forward to hearing more from you on this subject.

Harold Berman

P.S. I went to a program you led for Aish Boston a number of years ago, and that was one of the turning points for me.

(1) Anonymous, April 28, 2013 10:13 AM

As I get older I see the benefit of people from similar backgrounds marrying, especially for the child's sake.
I was born into an interracial marriage and one parent was an atheist, one was christian. And it did not work in the end. Thankfully for me, I developed a monotheistic faith later in my adulthood, and still on my journey. But for many it is often much more difficult and painful.
When the rabbis warn about intermarriage , it is not because they are being "narrow minded", there are many good reasons why the couple's backgrounds ,ethics, goals, and values help not only to build a happy and long lasting marriage, but helps to nurture and establish the children's identity and stability too.

 

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment
stub

Receive Weekly Current Issues Emails

Sign up to our Current Issues Jewsletter.

Our privacy policy