Intrafaith Marriage: Making it Work

By Rebecca Goldberg

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), April 2011

This thesis explores the phenomenon of Jewish married couples who practice different levels of observance. There is a lot of research regarding Jews and intermarriage but very little on Jews marrying other Jews but still facing challenges because of conflicting levels of observance. There are similarities between intermarriage and this type of Jewish intramarriage, but it is important that the Jewish community be aware of this particular issue and be able to accommodate the needs of couples in this situation.

The thesis focuses on the issues these couples face and how and when they negotiate them. The couple as a whole can become less observant, more observant, meet somewhere between the two partners? observance levels or each maintain their own observance levels. Issues they negotiate include what traditions to highlight at the wedding, whether or not to keep kosher, and how to observe Shabbat and other religious holidays. The couple must decide which synagogue to attend together or agree to find two places that work for each partner separately. If couples have or are planning on having children, they must work out what levels of observance their children will follow. These couples must also deal with reactions from their families. Through careful and thoughtful negotiation, these couples tend to find ways to make their marriages successful. This thesis offers advice and recommendations for how couples in similar situations can effectively make their marriages work, as well as how therapists and Jewish communal professionals can help them. It also explores how some couples in this situation are embracing non- and post-denominationalism. Ultimately, these marriages promote Jewish unity.

Topic: Parenthood, Ritual, Conflict Resolution, Unity, Marriage, Religious Denominations

Name of Publication: HUC-JIR School of Jewish Nonprofit Management (formerly School of Jewish Communal Service) Masters Theses

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Genre: Thesis

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Goldberg, Rebecca. Intrafaith Marriage: Making it Work. HUC-JIR School of Jewish Nonprofit Management (formerly School of Jewish Communal Service) Masters Theses. Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). April 2011:


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