Rabbi Rick Jacobs preaches that the Jewish people should not discourage interfaith marriage and should, in fact, view it as a positive, as a natural development of our having been accepted into an open-minded free society (“’Being Against Intermarriage Is Like Being Against Gravity,’” Jan. 17).
I would like to first refer Rabbi Jacobs to a tried and true example of what that kind of philosophy can produce — Germany as a case in point. During Germany’s enlightenment period, from around the 1850s to the outbreak of World War I, Jews were treated better, and became more accepted, than they had ever been before. It resulted in their assimilation and intermarriage. Within a few generations many Jewish families no longer identified as Jews. Of course, the Jews’ abandonment of their religion two generations before Hitler did not stop him from marking them as Jews for extermination.
The Jewish community should be devoting every last drop of its energy and resources to work against the trend of intermarriage. It should be providing forums for young Jews of all denominations and backgrounds to meet and marry. It should be providing free or subsidized Jewish education, especially to those in the less observant and non-observant communities, so our youth will grow up with a Jewish identity. And we, as parents, should be discouraging intermarriage from our children’s earliest age, and working to reinforce their Jewish identity.
Intermarriage is a difficult trend to buck, but it is by no stretch of the imagination “like being against gravity.” That kind of attitude will certainly eliminate most of the Jewish population over time, so that all that will remain will be the Orthodox.