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Sunny California, Lost-And-Found Jews And Arabic Lotharios

Sunny California, Lost-And-Found Jews And Arabic Lotharios

I admit it.

I abandoned my husband and children for four days to jet off to sunny California, and I don’t regret it one bit. Worse still, I abandoned Ye Olde Blogge for a full week, a transgression for which traveling, alas, no longer offers an adequate excuse.

Yes, I know, I could have blogged while in Los Angeles. Hell, I even could have blogged while flying out on Virgin America, the first time I’ve had the option of in-flight WiFi. But then I wouldn’t have been able to do other work, play Lexulous or catch up on “Nurse Jackie" (which, incidentally, seems to be the only TV show I watch that has no Jewish characters or themes.)

And blogging on the redeye home was NOT an option. Not that any sleep I got prevented me from, even 24 hours later, feeling an exhaustion approaching comatose.

Coulda, woulda, shoulda, perhaps.

But, dear reader, I was working my tush off reporting on Jewish day schools and Hebrew charter schools, topics that, while they have some implications for interfaith families, are really only tangentially “in the mix” fodder.

And in the few stolen moments when I wasn’t working said tush off, well, I was shamelessly tooling around southern California in my rented Chevy enjoying the change of pace from my normally car-less, child-full and (lately) Arctic-feeling life.

So there.

Now that I have blogged for several paragraphs about not blogging (which all feels vaguely meta or perhaps some other post-modern adjective that I would know if only I had gone to grad school or even continued on with my original undergraduate plan of majoring in English), I will enlighten you with a few thoughts and tidbits actually pertaining to intermarriage.

  • Kudos to my friend Shannon Sarna for her excellent column this week about growing up as a patrilineal Jew in an interfaith family and (believe it or not!) going on to become not “lost,” but a strongly identified Jew. Although she does not mention this in her column, which incidentally appears in the best American Jewish publication ever known to mankind, she even MARRIED A JEW (her married name is Goldberg), thus earning the ultimate Steven M. Cohen-approved Gold(berg?) Jewish Continuity Seal of Approval. (If her children marry Jews, she will, of course, earn the bronze Jewish Continuity Seal of Approval.)
  • Remember last month when I wrote about Lehava, the Israeli group whose sole mission is to prevent naïve Israeli Jewish maidens from succumbing to guileless Arab suitors? Well, they are back in the news, appearing at the Knesset this week in a meeting of the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of Women hosted by Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely. Also at the meeting, covered by The Jerusalem Post, was Yad L’Achim, a related Israeli group that engages in paramilitary “rescue” operations to retrieve Jewish women and their children from Arab village. Many of these women apparently seek help because they are victims of domestic violence. I assume Yad L’Achim, whose name can be loosely translated as "A Helping Hand for Brothers & Sisters," does not bother with paramilitary rescues for the numerous Jewish women who are abused by Jewish husbands. (In case you were wondering, Lehava means "blaze" or "flame.")

One interesting aspects of this meeting is that, in objecting to the very idea of a Knesset meeting on this topic, Arab MK, Taleb a-Sanaa referenced the Hebrew Bible: “Ruth the Moabite wasn’t Jewish, but her descendant was King David,” he said.

Also (and I know I’m going to get accused of Ortho-bashing here but oh well), for those who see Orthodoxy as the antidote to intermarriage, it was intriguing to learn that, according to Lehava even fervently Orthodox girls cannot resist those Arab Lotharios. One Lehava official told the Knesset meeting that in a religious girls’ school he visited in Bat Yam, 20 percent of the 14-year-olds were dating Arabs.

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