A Novel Take on an Old Theme

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that the latest novel I picked up—which purports to be a humorous romantic novel about a 60 year old widower—contains a primary subplot about intermarriage. In Love With Noodles (apparently an expression that the author’s father used to connote “marrying rich”), the protagonist is struggling with a variety of quick, physical, romantic encounters—the first after so many years of marriage and relationship with one woman. He may be struggling with a new ethic, but the old storyline remains. His son tells him that he has fallen in love with a non-Jewish woman and the father goes relatively beserk, that is, in a quiet brooding sort of way. It doesn’t matter that his daughter-in-law-to-be is more interested in religion and in Judaism than is his Jewish son. It doesn’t matter that his daughter-in-law-to-be has promised to set up a Jewish home and raise Jewish children. It doesn’t matter that his future daughter-in-law is more engaged in the Passover seder than is her intended.

WARNING, SPOILER: It takes the entire book for the main character to realize what we at JOI realized a long time ago: Interfaith marriage is not the end of Jewish continuity. Not raising Jewish children is the end of Jewish continuity. In its inevitability let’s celebrate those who have entered our community, cast their lot with our people and made a commitment to raising Jewish children. Maybe if we start showing the welcoming side of the Jewish community, more people will in fact want to join us.

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