Outreach to the Intermarried: WHY BOTHER?

On Wednesday evening, February 22, at the JCC in Manhattan, JOI’s associate executive director Paul Golin will participate in a panel discussion called “Mixed Marriage, Mixed Message,” presented by the JCC in conjunction with the New York Jewish Week newspaper. The discussion will be moderated by the Jewish Week’s editor and publisher, Gary Rosenblatt.

At the heart of the conversation will be questions about whether and how the Jewish community should reach out to intermarried families. If this is an issue you care passionately about, we encourage you to attend. It’s free, you just have to RSVP (click on the image for more information).

Paul’s co-panelists are renowned social psychologist Bethamie Horowitz, who we previously blogged about here, and Dr. Steven Bayme, a founding member of the “Jewish In-Marriage Initiative,” who we previously blogged about here and here.


  1. (I can’t believe the system just ate my elaborate post because I hadn’t yet entered the spam-prevention code…and it doesn’t seem to be recoverable. That is a very annoying feature…)

    Comment by Becca — February 14, 2006 @ 3:51 pm

  2. (quick attempt to reconstruct:)

    It sounds like a very interesting event–sorry I’m no longer in the tristate area to come down to NYC for it, but I hope many others will attend!

    It seems to me there’s something of a “mixed message” already in the text of the announcement for the event (when you click on the full version):
    mixed marriage & outreach are worth talking about, but inmarriages automatically consist of and/or produce “committed Jews,” while those in or born to mixed marriages are necessarily “on the periphery.”

    I understand that the main issue is “whether and how the Jewish community should reach out to intermarried families,” who are indeed statistically more likely than their inmarried counterparts to be on the periphery…but it’s worth remembering that there are plenty of us in “the Jewish community” that’s supposed to be contemplating these issues.

    As a committed Jew born to intermarried parents (who are active in my home synagogue–so it’s not just me!), I know I may be statistically in the minority–but it’s a large one, and I have plenty of company…not just in the community at large but within the community of synagogue members.

    According to UJC analyses of the 2000-1 NJPS data*, among those Jewish households that have children and are members of non-Orthodox synagogues,
    nearly 1/4 (23%) have intermarried parents.
    (60% have inmarried parents, 17% single Jewish parent)

    That’s a very significant constituency within the synagogue already!

    So it’s worth remembering, when talking about mixed married, committed Jews, and outreach, that committed Jews who are part of intermarried families
    1) are already here, in the Jewish community & in the synagogue
    2) may be able to shed some light on questions that seem worth asking, including why we’re here on the inside while others remain on the margins…

    *Statistics below were culled from reports at
    where a “synagogue” household = one that belongs to a synaogue of that denomination (rather than simply self-identifying with the movement or as Jewish)

    Almost half of all children of “synagogue” Reform households live in homes without in-married parents:
    Children living in:
    “Synagogue” Reform households:
    55% in-married parents
    29% intermarried parents
    16% single Jewish parent

    All non-Ortho “synagogue” households:
    60% in-married parents
    23% intermarried parents
    17% single Jewish parent

    All Jewish households:
    40% in-married parents
    41% intermarried parents
    20% single Jewish parent

    Comment by Becca — February 14, 2006 @ 4:09 pm

  3. Hi Becca (long time no “speak”),

    The statistics you quote are indeed relevant, thanks for culling them. I will try to incorporate your points in my conversation at the JCC, and was of course thinking along those lines anyway.

    As for the security code, I’m very sorry. I just tested it myself and it does appear that if you forget to type it in before pushing the “Say It!” button, and then hit the back button on your browser, the text in the comments box disappears. I’ll ask our web designer about it, but I’m not sure there’s anything we can do. :(

    Comment by Paul Golin, JOI Associate Executive Director — February 14, 2006 @ 5:33 pm

  4. Thanks, Paul! As for the spam-prevention code: live & learn–now I’ll know to type it in first thing so as not to forget!

    Also: is yesterday’s NYTimes article, “Reform Jews Hope to Unmix Mixed Marriages,” going to be blogged about?

    Comment by Becca — February 14, 2006 @ 6:42 pm

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