FDR’s Great-Grandson, The Rabbi

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A fascinating article in yesterday’s New York Times illustrates yet another example of how intermarried families are capable of raising strongly identifying Jews. In this case, the family in question is among the descendents of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and the strong Jewish identification has led a great-grandson, Joshua Boettinger, to the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Pennsylvania.

In discussing the divergent paths of FDR’s descendents, the article notes: “These life stories tell volumes about the flexibility of social class and ethnicity in the United States where even a Roosevelt can become a rabbi…” We think it also tells volumes about the Jewish potential inherent in intermarried households.

There was a much more in-depth article about Joshua Boettinger in the New York Jewish Week last month, which you can read here.


  1. I was wondering if you could tell me whether or not FDR was ‘the greatest’.

    Comment by Rich Stumahcer — March 21, 2005 @ 12:40 pm

  2. And how many descendants of Jews are now ministers and priests??
    In the war against assimilation Jews are losing.
    Too much emphasis is placed on Israel and the Holocaust and no emphasis is placed on the commandment to be fruitful and multiply and to marry fellow Jews!!

    Comment by Sally — March 28, 2005 @ 10:26 pm

  3. We are all concerned about the effects of assimilation on the community, and it is a real challenge to figure out how to reverse this tide. I think that our focus needs to be on educating Jewish children, regardless of the faith of origin of their parents. Anyone who chooses to cast their lot with the Jewish people should be applauded.

    Comment by Gidon Isaacs, JOI Program Officer — March 29, 2005 @ 3:28 pm

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