Intermarriage and Jewish Leadership in the United States

By Steven Bayme

American Jewish Committee (AJC), Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), 2010

The author asserts that intermarriage poses a dilemma to the American Jewish leadership who would prefer not to choose publicly between integration into the broader society and distinctive Jewish survival. He notes a 1991 "Statement on Mixed Marriage," adopted by the American Jewish Committee, which calls for three approaches: 1) that efforts at promoting endogamy should be encouraged; 2) when a mixed marriage occurs, the best outcome is the conversion of the non-Jewish spouse; 3) when conversion is not possible, efforts should be directed at encouraging the couple to raise their children exclusively as Jews. He argues that all three messages are countercultural in an American society that values egalitarianism, universalism, and multiculturalism. He concludes that the ultimate challenge to Jewish leadership is to recognize its responsibility for preserving the collective welfare of the Jewish people, beyond one's personal good.

Topic: Continuity, Intermarriage, Leadership, Jewish Organizations, Jewish Continuity, Values

Name of Publication: American Jewry's Comfort Level: Present and Future

Editor: Bayme, Steven , Gerstenfeld, Manfred

Page Number(s): 143-150

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Genre: Book Chapter

Coverage: United States

Identifier: ISBN: 978-965-218-086-5

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) and Manfred Gerstenfeld

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Bayme, Steven. Intermarriage and Jewish Leadership in the United States. American Jewry's Comfort Level: Present and Future. American Jewish Committee (AJC),Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA). 2010: 143-150.


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