A few weeks ago I had the honor and privilege of presenting at Colloquium 2012: “Half Jewish?” The Heirs of Intermarriage, a program of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism. The video of my presentation and the Q&A that followed can be viewed in its entirety here (as a .MOV file) and is covered in this article.
The conference was an excellent experience on a number of levels. First, the organizers—particularly Rabbi Adam Chalom—invited a slate of highly thoughtful presenters and panelists, from both within and beyond their own movement. Secondly, they utilized an interesting format whereby each presenter would offer a frontal presentation followed by questioning from a panel, then rotate to the panel for the other presentations, so that all presenters were given the opportunity to weigh in on each presentation throughout the course of the weekend.
But most importantly, it was an excellent experience because it was one of the first national conferences to directly address a hugely important topic, the children of intermarriage. During my presentation, I tried to convey what we at JOI have heard from young-adult children of intermarriage. But we as a community have much more listening and learning to do. It would benefit many other movements, organizations, and communities to replicate the kind of conversation hosted by the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, to find ways to better engage and serve a population that is essential to the future of American Jewry, and which is already the majority of Jews under age 25.