On the plane ride home after speaking recently at a conference, I watched “Something New,” a movie about an interracial relationship. And as I sat watching this romance about a relationship between a black woman and a white man (who attend a Jewish wedding at one point), I was wondering about how an interracial relationship differs from an interfaith relationship. Of course, there are interracial relationships that are also interfaith, increasing the various challenges that couples face. But what is different about these two kinds of relationships? And is there anything can we learn from an interracial relationship that we can apply to interfaith relationships?
During the course of the movie, the female lead talked about what it is like to be the only black woman in an all-male white accounting firm. Similarly, viewers could grasp the discomfort felt by the male lead when he was with a group of black men or women. Having grown up in a small community in the south (with two Jews in my graduating class of 1,000, myself included), I know what it is like to feel isolated from the majority. But I can only imagine—and try to be sensitive to—what it is like for non-Jews to join the Jewish community. But considering that interfaith marriages are the coming majority, as we found in our 2003 report “The Coming Majority: Suggested Action On Intermarried Households For The Organized Jewish Community” intermarried families in the Jewish community are not alone. And we are JOI are here to welcome them.
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