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Embracing the Children of Interfaith Marriage

“It must be the holiday season that comments about multifaith/interfaith families are more frequent, because I’m going mad about this.”

This is the first line from a recent blog entry on the website Jewschool.com titled “Had it up to here with multifaith family stereotypes.” The author, whose sobriquet is Kung Fu Jew, certainly comes out swinging. He is frustrated by what he sees as the overarching dialogue in the Jewish community regarding the children of interfaith marriage – that these children are “confused” and “have no religion.”

“There is a cabal, an in-crowd, of self-selected and self-certified Jewish spokespeople who have declared that this kind of Jew is hybrid, mixed, intermarried and unusual,” he writes. But, he points out that as we go up the Jewish family tree we find Judaism has grown from a mix of culture and ideas adopted from various points in our history. “There is no such thing as purely Jewish and we’re the new model.”

The tone of the blog entry at first seems harsh (and it is), but the last couple of paragraphs make clear that this anger comes from a genuine desire to move past old ideas of what Jews look like. “We are not the community’s problem – we are your solution for a society dying and dwindling, starved of new ideas. Contrary to Jewish communal in-speak, cultural fusion is the only way out of stagnation.”

The ideas Kung Fu Jew puts forth will certainly ruffle some feathers, but it’s important that he and his contemporaries have their voices heard. If they are feeling sidelined, we have to know why, and we have to find a way to make them part of the mainstream. His language might be off-putting, but his message is clear - with intermarriage rates rising, more Jewish children are being born into interfaith households than ever before. It’s a growing population, one that needs to be fully embraced in order to grow and strengthen the Jewish community.

At the end of his blog entry, he asks people to submit “articles, proposals and rants from intermarried Jews and products of intermarried Jews.” I invite you to do the same on our blog.



1 Comment

  1. My issue with Kung Fu Jew is that he doesn’t acknowledge that their are several Jewish people who are products of interfaith marriage who DON’T like the practice. He only wants to hear people who agree with him and ignore those who don’t.

    While I agree his voice is definitely shaped by his experience, I don’t want to worship in a synagogue with Chrismukkah, English instead of Hebrew, and would prefer my future children marry fellow Jews. That doesn’t make me a bigot either.

    My chief issue with all interfaith family forums is that everything is severely slanted. No one deals with the negative consequences of intermarriage. Everyone’s spending too much time blaming the larger Jewish community but not looking at themselves for the dwindling numbers.

    I’m going to make my voice heard because Kung Fu Jew is not the only valid voice of adult interfaith children.

    Comment by Sasha — December 23, 2008 @ 12:07 am

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