There is an interesting new study going on at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. Professors Noah Leavitt and Helen Kim, who are also husband and wife, are “working on a study of intermarriage between Asian and Jewish Americans,” according to a recent article in JT News, Washington State’s Jewish newspaper.
They are working on the study for two reasons: First, they said “there’s little research on the subject and almost nothing examining Jewish-Asian interracial and interfaith marriage.” Second, they personally “fit the demographic of the types of couples we’re interested in.”
The study is only about a month old, and the two are still in the stages of collecting stories from Asian and Jewish intermarried couples. They have also teamed up with Be’chol Lashon, a San Francisco based organization devoted to promoting Jewish multiculturalism. According to their website, the study will “examine the racial, ethnic, and religious identities of Asian-Jewish couples and families.”
Through our Big Tent Judaism initiative, we try to challenge people to rethink the notion of what Jews look like and who is a Jew. This is an important idea, especially since there is a growing racial diversity among Jews. Hopefully this study will shed some light into the lives and practices of Asian and Jewish intermarried couples, and it will help us as we continue to break down barriers to Jewish participation and strengthen our community.