Saturday, May 20, 2006

Northern California Jewish News: "Conservative rabbis brainstorm in Berkeley on intermarriage"

Bad news:
The most recent statistics from Marin County show that 90 percent of children aged 2 to 5 in families that identify as Jewish have a non-Jewish parent.

So noted Chai Levy, assistant rabbi of Congregation Kol Shofar in Tiburon.

“The future of my congregation is, obviously, intermarried couples,” she said. “I have to think seriously about these people.”

That’s why Levy attended a conference last week sponsored by the Conservative movement’s Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, to learn more about an outreach initiative to make Conservative synagogues more welcoming to their non-Jewish members.

The conference was held at Berkeley’s Congregation Netivot Shalom, which is widely regarded as being at the forefront of this issue.
What is the basis for the notion that such congregations have a future? Who are the future spouses of those "90%"? What reason is there to think that they will be less inclined to intermarriage (or "intermarriage" for many of them) than their parents? And then what? Why should a person with only one Jew among his four grandparents "identify Jewish" at all?

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