n January of 1939 The Atlantic caused a stir when it published “I Married a Jew,” an unprecedented first-person chronicle of the experiences of an intermarried non-Jewish woman.
In it, the anonymous author describes the severe ostracism she and her husband faced from their families and communities because of their marriage.
The very meaning of intermarriage has shifted with these demographic changes.
In earlier periods, intermarriage was generally seen as a rejection of Jewish identity and a form of rebellion against the community.
Similarly, the definition of intermarriage has changed dramatically over time, and concern about it has fluctuated.
The early texts don’t have any of the modern demographic concerns about intermarriage.
The Bible has numerous cases of Israelite men marrying foreign women: Moses marries Zipporah, daughter of the Midian priest Jethro.The piece was written at a time when there were relatively few intermarriages in the United States, and it was still common for Jewish parents to sever all ties with and literally sit shiva for a child who married a non-Jew.Since the second half of the 20th century—mainly as a result of greater secularization, assimilation and increased social mobility—American Jewish society has undergone a series of radical transformations.Despite its prevalence, intermarriage remains highly contentious and echoes American Jewish fears about assimilation and irrelevance. Moment asks a group of prominent rabbis, community leaders and scholars to weigh in on the debate.And since the Orthodox movement remains 100 percent opposed to intermarriage, the issue also contributes to the ever-widening gap between liberal American Judaism and Orthodox Judaism, both in the U. Although there are a wide range of strongly held views in this symposium, almost everyone we spoke with agreed on two points: Intermarriage is here to stay, and it is imperative to reach out to and integrate interfaith families into the Jewish community.