What’s the best thing about being “half-Jewish”? And in contrast, what is the hardest thing about being “half-Jewish”?
Whether or not you believe that someone can truly be considered “half-Jewish,” there are countless adult children of intermarriage that grapple with this notion in their every day lives. Last week, I attended a presentation and discussion on a research project completed by Ben Greene, a program associate at The Samuel Bronfman Foundation, who utilized the social networking website Facebook to explore the emerging identity of “half-Jewish” among young adults.
Ben discussed his survey-based research, which targeted members of “half-Jewish” and Jewish Facebook groups. He asked questions about the individuals’ views on being “half-Jewish,” their various experiences and Jewish connections, and their thoughts on Jewish continuity. Not to disclose the details of Ben’s intriguing research, but these surveys provide important insight on the perspectives and challenges of growing up in an interfaith family. For example, one of the conclusions from the research states that “there is a clear clash of views in how people that identify as ‘half-Jewish’ understand the term, and how the more engaged ‘Jewish’ population views the term, potentially leading to tension between the two groups.”
Ben’s research brings to light the many difficult questions that this population is often forced to deal with. While these young adults strive to build both their individual and group identity as Jews, it is essential that we, as the Jewish community, support them in their journey and provide them with opportunities to explore and deepen their Jewish connections. With the generous support of The Samuel Bronfman Foundation, JOI has had the opportunity to work with organizations such as Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life to welcome young adults who are interested in finding Jewish meaning and community, no matter what “percent” of the person is Jewish.
No comments yet.