Jewish Community Heroes

Can someone who is not Jewish be a “Jewish Community Hero?”

JOI has nominated what may be the first person who is not Jewish to the “Jewish Community Heroes” contest run by United Jewish Communities. Abigail (“Abi”) Auer sacrificed transmitting the religious traditions of her Catholic upbringing in order to help her Jewish spouse raise their children as Jews, and is now a vocal advocate on behalf of all intermarried households raising Jewish children. She represents a half-million or more members of our community who are not Jewish themselves but are making the same sacrifice in order to ensure the Jewish future. Her profile is online at:

Abi participated in the pilot program of JOI’s Mothers Circle, an educational course for women of other religious backgrounds raising Jewish children, which is now in 100 communities across North America, and she serves as a model and mentor to others who are just beginning their Jewish journeys.

For the past two decades, there have been twice the number of intermarriages than in-marriages in the United States, and if not for the efforts of Abi and parents like her, the Jewish community would be declining rapidly in numbers instead of holding steady or even increasing as some studies suggest. Recognizing Abi as the Jewish Community Hero that she is will send a powerful message to her and all other Jewish households where one spouse happens not to be Jewish, that we in the Jewish community thank you and appreciate your sacrifices on our behalf.

If you’d like to vote for Abi, you can do so by visiting her profile and clicking the “Vote for This Hero” link.


  1. What happens if she doesn’t get a lot of votes? The current #10 has nearly 1700 votes, whereas Abi has 125. Will we have to content ourselves with the idea that it was an honor for her just to be nominated? I’d like her to at least get a respectable showing and I vote all I can but I can’t do it myself!

    Comment by mia — August 23, 2009 @ 9:50 am

  2. Two corrections to your post. In the past two decades the number of intermarriages vs. inmarriages in the general Jewish community has been 50/50. Intermarriages in secular are higher but in the Orthodox community they are very low.

    The only reason that the Jewish community population has been holding steady is because of the large numbers of children that the Orthodox and especially Ultra-Orthodox Jews are having.

    You have every right to push your pro-intermarriage propaganda but stop distorting numbers to advance your agenda.

    Comment by The truth — August 31, 2009 @ 7:57 pm

  3. if you look at the data provided by any demographer, you will see that the numbers are way higher than 50%. You also have to take into consideration the work of organizations like Footsteps who are helping those who choose to leave the orthodox community. We are not distorting numbers. Our agenda is to shape an inclusive Jewish community where all people on the spectrum are welcome and emabraced.

    Comment by Rabbi Kerry Olitzky — September 1, 2009 @ 9:02 am

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