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Traditional Judaism does not permit interfaith marriages. The Torah states that the children of such marriages would be lost to Judaism Deut. The National Jewish Population Survey found that only a third of interfaith couples raise their children Jewish, despite increasing efforts in the Reform and Conservative communities to welcome interfaith couples.

This may reflect the fact that Jews who intermarry are not deeply committed to their religion in the first place: Certainly, the statistics show that intermarried Jews are overwhelmingly less likely to be involved in Jewish activities: These statistics and more are sufficiently alarming to be a matter of great concern to the Jewish community.

And the rate of intermarriage has grown dramatically in recent years: One Orthodox Jew I know went so far as to state that intermarriage is accomplishing what Hitler could not: That is an extreme view, but it vividly illustrates how seriously many Jews take the issue of intermarriage.

The Jewish fear of intermarriage

The more liberal branches of Judaism have tried to embrace intermarried couples, hoping to slow the hemorrhaging from our community, but it is questionable how effective this has been in stemming the tide, given the statistics that intermarried couples are unlikely to have any Jewish involvement or to raise their children Jewish. They note that if the non-Jewish spouse truly shares the same values as the Jewish spouse, then the non-Jew is welcome to convert to Judaism, and if the non-Jew does not share the same values, then the couple should not be marrying in the first place.

Many people who are considering interfaith marriage or dating casually dismiss any objections as prejudice, but there are some practical matters you should consider. And before you casually dismiss this as ivory tower advice from a Jewish ghetto, let me point out that my father, my mother and my brother are all intermarried, as well as several of my cousins. These are just a few of the more important considerations in interfaith relationships that people tend to gloss over in the heat of passion or in the desire to be politically fashionable.

In general, Jews do not try to convert non-Jews to Judaism. In fact, according to halakhah Jewish Law , rabbis are supposed to make three vigorous attempts to dissuade a person who wants to convert to Judaism.

'I'm not going to marry a non-Jewish woman' #lovelinks - Life Links

As the discussion above explained, Jews have a lot of responsibilities that non-Jews do not have. To be considered a good and righteous person in the eyes of G-d , a non-Jew need only follow the seven Noahic commandments, whereas a Jew has to follow all commandments given in the Torah. If the potential convert is not going to follow those extra rules, it's better for him or her to stay a gentile, and since we as Jews are all responsible for each other, it's better for us too if that person stayed a gentile.

The rabbinically mandated attempt to dissuade a convert is intended to make sure that the prospective convert is serious and willing to take on all this extra responsibility.


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Once a person has decided to convert, the proselyte must begin to learn Jewish religion, law and customs and begin to observe them. This teaching process generally takes at least one year, because the prospective convert must experience each of the Jewish holidays ; however, the actual amount of study required will vary from person to person a convert who was raised as a Jew might not need any further education, for example, while another person might need several years.

Rules of attraction

After the teaching is complete, the proselyte is brought before a Beit Din rabbinical court which examines the proselyte and determines whether he or she is ready to become a Jew. The Gentile Woman in the Jewish World , unpacks that baggage. Shiksa tells the stories of gentile women and women converts living in the Jewish community today, sharing insights from rabbis, Jewish feminists, educators and therapists. The book explores relationships between Jewish and gentile women, particularly Jewish mothers and their gentile daughters-in-law, as well as those between Jewish men and gentile women.

And it looks at some of the fascinating Biblical figures whose stories startle with their relevance to today's most intimate issues of Jewish identity.

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At a time when the Jewish community is rife with concern over intermarriage, Shiksa offers a fearless examination of the gentile and converted women residing within its gates, occupying embattled yet permanent places as partners, daughters, sisters, mothers, friends. Read more Read less. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1.

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Customers who bought this item also bought. From Publishers Weekly At best exhaustive and provocative, and at worst exhausting and inflammatory, this study addresses the role gentile women "shiksas" played in the Bible and, to a point, explores the role their contemporary sisters play in American Judaism today. Martin's Press; 1st edition March 18, Language: Don't have a Kindle? Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features: Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review.

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I read the book because I'm in the situation. There were basically two theses, 1.

Interfaith marriage in Judaism - Wikipedia

So while these points were well supported, I felt she could have done more in the space of the book and tackled thornier issues like identity and sexism. She did quote one book "Feminism in American Judaism" which I plan to read now, and which seems to address those issues, but she practically dismissed it out of hand.

So, overall the book is good for some people, but probably not enough for others. Perhaps due to me being male and having no personal connection to Judaism my review won't weight much with many, as being as such I have no right to say what the Jewish community should do within its own walls.

You would be correct to say that, but nonetheless bear with me as I try to write from an academic viewpoint. It was one of those days where I would go find books at the local Goodwill, earlier this month. Perhaps by mere chance I came across this tile and at first it didn't grab much my attention. Although I am an Anthropology student I usually don't have much interest in writings dealing directly with gender as I recuperate from my strong anti-feminist bias from years past.

Nevertheless because of my long "academic" fascination with Judaism after all I had interviewed the local rabbis for a school project months before I picked it up anyways. Shiksa, what an unusual term to come across. In all the books that I've read previously this term does not appear anywhere, and the only time I came across to what the auther describes as the widespread phenomenon of intermarriage is when the Reform rabbi I interviewed mention that a good portion of his congregation was made up of such couples.

It would be interesting to hear what her actual experiences of Jewish men have been.

Is this a justification for sticking to non-Jewish men? Does she actually think she has to justify this in the first place? Or is it anger at the stereotype of Jewish women - "spoilt, nagging and well endowed in the nasal department"? Finally, Freeman begins to tap into the core of the issue: This issue is examined sensitively in Shiksa: From the Bible to Philip Roth, Benvenuto discusses how the Jewish world has been simultaneously attracted and repulsed by the non-Jewish woman.

In the book, Benvenuto shows how non-Jewish women have often been central to flourishing Jewish communities, despite their often-hated status, embodied in the word "shiksa". It's important to note that "shiksa" is possibly the most disgusting racial epithet ever coined, intimating at abomination, detestation, loathed and blemished. All at the same time. It's worth noting its casual usage in a Guardian piece, however satirical the intention. Would frequent use of the word "nigger" have been acceptable?

Intermarriage remains a contested issue, and not just to Jews. Perhaps it would be nice if it wasn't like that, but facts do not disappear just because we wish them out of existence.

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