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What Do Gary Shteyngart, Chelsea Clinton and Steven “Intermarriage Sucks” Cohen Have In Common?

What Do Gary Shteyngart, Chelsea Clinton and Steven “Intermarriage Sucks” Cohen Have In Common?

I have been greatly remiss in my blogging duties this week, due to writing four articles (and editing countless more) for an upcoming Jewish Week special section on education.

I do hope you all managed to find something to read in my absence — perhaps even a book or something radical like that! The demise of old-fashioned printed media is on my mind these days not just because I’m a journalist but also because I’m in the middle of the about-to-be-intermarried Gary Shteyngart’s fabulous “Super Sad True Love Story,” which, in addition to satirizing virtually every aspect of our tech-obsessed modern American lives, features a romance between a Russian-American Jew and a Korean-American Christian.

While I’ve been offline (and recovering from following the Chelsea-Marc extravaganza), things have been busy at, which has expanded, adding the Bay Area’s Jewish Welcome Network. That group’s sole staff member, Karen Kushner, will continue the consulting work she’s been doing on the West Coast – helping synagogues and Jewish institutions more effectively reach out to interfaith families, while also directing IFF’s “how to do Jewish” online content. Kushner is the co-author with Anita Diamant of “How to Raise a Jewish Child”; the book was originally published under the title, “How to Be a Jewish Parent,” but was changed out of sensitivity to the many non-Jewish parents helping raise Jewish children.

IFF’s Ed Case has a nice op-ed entitled "The Missing Mazel Tov" in The Rival Jewish Paper Whose Name I Shall Not Mention, about the largely judgmental and unwelcoming Jewish communal reaction to Chelsea-Marc. (I’m thinking that for the media’s convenience, the interfaith newlyweds need their own abbreviated name, like Brad and Angelina’s Brangelina. Charc? Melsea? The Clinskies? The Mezvintons? Suggestions anyone?)

Plus, in a rare joint appearance, Case and the Jewish Outreach Institute’s Rabbi Kerry Olitzky teamed up on the eJewishPhilanthropy blog to critique Steven “Intermarriage Is The Source of All Evil” Cohen. Their piece, called “There is Still Work to Be Done on Welcoming Intermarried Families,” (and no doubt inspired by my post about Cohen, heh heh) challenges the sociologist’s methodology in a recent Foundation for Jewish Camp study, particularly his implication that the work of Jewish outreach organizations is misguided and that intermarried families don’t feel unwelcome.

For any humorless literalists out there, Cohen has never, to my knowledge, actually said, “Intermarriage is the source of all evil” or "intermarriage sucks." He does, however, frequently call it “the greatest single threat to Jewish continuity.”

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