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Intermarriage: The Final Frontier

This week The Forward, considered one of the most prominent Jewish newspapers in North America, carried an article about a recent Star Trek novel in which a Jewish character “intermarries” a Klingon. While this is yet another example of Jewish intermarriage in popular culture — think “The O.C.” on TV and “Meet the Fockers” on film — we would also love to see more coverage in the Anglo-Jewish press of actual Jewish intermarriages, where the issue is taken seriously…especially when it shows interfaith families that are successful at creating Jewish households or raising Jewish children.

In the meantime, we wish the best of luck to Starfleet Captain David Gold’s granddaughter, Esther, in her marriage to Khor (not pictured), son of the Klingon Ambassador to Earth.



2 Comments

  1. I was wondering if you have any examples of recent pop-culture interfaith marriages- especially any that seem to result in a Jewish household?
    Thanks,
    -Rich.

    Comment by Rich Stumahcer — March 21, 2005 @ 12:38 pm

  2. Good question, Rich. It seems that the overwhelming majority of fictional interfaith families portrayed in the media try to “blend” aspects of both faiths. In real life, this represents about 25-35% of intermarried households, depending on your definition of “blend.” I can think of only one example off the top of my head that reflects the (currently) 35% of intermarried households who choose Judaism as their sole faith: a show you might remember from the 80s called Thirtysomething, in which the genuine challenges of an intermarriage are portrayed between a husband and wife (please don’t ask me to remember their names). I believe that after some compromise (including having a Christmas tree), the couple’s choice to raise a Jewish family is reflected in an episode culminating in their son’s bris (ritual circumcision).

    While technically not an intermarriage, because she converts, let’s not forget the final season of Sex and the City, which follows the humorous and mostly accurate path into Judaism taken by Charlotte. As in many intermarriages, it is often the spouse who was not raised Jewish that is more interested in “doing Jewish” than the born-Jewish spouse.

    One fictional example of intermarried couples who choose to do “nothing” rather than one or both is found in the famous children’s book “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” by Judy Blume (of which I’m reminded thanks to The Half-Jewish Book by Daniel Klein and Freke Vuijst). The main character Margaret struggles with her religious identity because her parents don’t raise her in either, but all her friends are one or the other. Considering it was written in 1970, that’s a pretty radical theme, but it was overshadowed by the even more radical themes of girls coming into adulthood that caused the book to become such a controversial hit.

    I would be very appreciative if other folks reading this can recall and post some additional examples in fiction of interfaith couples raising Jewish children.

    Comment by Paul Golin, Assistant Executive Director, JOI — March 21, 2005 @ 1:29 pm

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