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October 14, 1977 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-10-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Boris Smolar's

'Between You
• • and Me'

Editor-in-Chief

Emeritus, JTA

(Copyright 1977, JTA, Inc.)

INTERMARRIAGES AND DIVORCES: Much is being

written about the growing number of mixed marriages
which now represent some 50 percent of all the marriages
in a number of cities. But few American Jews —even
American Jewish leaders — are aware of the fact that
there are already today 1,400,000 Jews involved in mixed
marriage.
The entire Jewish population is now given as being
5,845,000. If one deducts from this total the number of Jews
in mixed marriages, the Jewish population is reduced to
4.445,000 souls. This is quite a distance from the years when
Jews in this country constituted four percent of the entire
population. Today. even with the mixed marriages, they
comprise only 2.7 percent of the total population.
Non-Jewish members of intermarried couples are now
ceasing to seek conversion to Judaism, as was the case only
a few years ago when Reform rabbis were busy teaching
the basic Jewish traditions to young non-Jewish women who
married into Jewish families. With every year. inter-
marriage is accepted more and more by Jewish parents as
a normal development in American life.
The largest proportion of intermarried couples, can now
be found in families of Reform Jews. However. mixed mar-
riages are also growing in number among Conservative
Jewish families. There was a time when the great majority
of the 1,000 rabbis in the Conservative movement refused to
perform mixed marriage ceremonies. This is no longer the
case today. A questionnaire sent out by the Rabbinical
Assembly of America — the organization of the Conserva-
tive rabbis—elicited replies showing that more than 90 per-
cent of the rabbis who responded took a positive stand on
mixed marriages. accepting them as a way of life under
American social circumstances. They conduct classes
teaching Judaism to those who want to be converted to the
Jewish religion.
The problem of mixed marriages does. of course. not
exist among Orthodox Jews. In the Orthodox camp. the
major problem today is the growing number of divorces
among younger people. And the .Jewish religion has always
been very liberal in'granting divorces.
OPEN QUESTIONS: Quite a number of studies have been
made on the subject of intermarriage. including the very
substantial study conducted by the Council of Jewish Feder-
ations and Wellare Funds. However. none of these studies
touches upon the following basic questions:
• How large is the percentage of mixed marraiges that
end in divorce? The number of divorces among young
couples is now growing among Jews with every year. They.
undoubtedly. take place also among couples of mixed mar-
riages. What is the proportion of divorces among mixed
marriages? How long do mixed marriages last before a
divorce occurs?
• What happens to divorced couples of mixed marriages?
Are they, when remarrying. more eager to marry into their
own faith? What is the proportion of Jews who remarry
non-Jews and what is the proportion that prefers to look for
a Jewish partner in the light of experience in a marriage
that was mixed?
• What happened to the children in divorced mixed mar-
riage families? Do they go with the Jewish parent or with
the non-Jewish? The name of -a child can be Goldberg
because the father's name is Goldberg. But is he remaining
Goldberg when he goes with the non-Jewish divorced
mother?
Without answers to these questions. I consider the Jewish
surveys on intermarriage incomplete. because they dot't
present an all-sided picture. Most of the intermarriages are
taking place among the academic youth among whom
divorCes are rising. Establishing the proportion of divorce
in mixed marriages is therefore a basic ingredient in the
intermarriage problem.
RELIGIOUS IDENTITY: Notwithstanding the ever-grow-
ing number of mixed marriages. a total of 82 percent of
Jewish household heads identify with a specific religious
"ideology" —Orthodox. Conservative and Reform. How-
ever. household heads in these groups who have affiliations
with congregations number less than half. according to a
study by the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare
Funds.
The study reports identification with Conservative
.Judaism at about 40 percent: Reform Judaism at 30 per-
cent: Orthodox Judaism at over 11 percent. The remainder
identify themselves as "just Jews." with one-third of them
as either "Atheists 'Agnostic" or "other." Only 25 percent,
of household headi under the age of 30 belong to a congre 2
gation. Somewhat more than one-half of all Jewish house-
hold heads don't attend religious services. or attend less
than four times a year -- Roqi Hashana. Yom Kippur.
Passover and Hanuka.

Israel Entry Into Red Cross
Body Urged by Congressmen

WASHINGTON (JTA )—
Fifty-three members of the
House of Representatives
have asked the State
Department to work
"actively" for approval of
Israel's long-standing appli-
cation for membership in
the International Red Cross.
The request was con-
tained in a letter to Patricia
Derian, the department's
coordinator for human
rights who will head the
American delegation to the
23rd conference of the Inter-
national Red Cross com-
mittee that convenes in
Bucharest Saturday. The
letter, authored by Rep.
Robert F. Drinan (D-
Mass.), noted that the con-
ference will be the last such
meeting until 1981 and
therefore it is "imperative
that we act now to end this
inexcusable discrimination
against the Jewish state."
The Magen David Adorn
Society, Israel's equivalent
of the Red Cross, has been
denied membership ever
since Israel attained state-
hood in 1949.
"The only basis for this
exclusion," the Congress-
men's letter said, "is the
refusal of the International
Red Cross to permit the
Magen David Adorn Society
to use the red Star of David
rather than the ,Red Cross
as its emblem."
"No other nation's medi-
cal service organization is
forced to accept the symbol
of a religion not its own."
the letter added.
"The International Red
Cross permits all Moslem
nations to use the Red Cres-
cent as their symbol and
permits Iran to use the Red
Lion and Sun, emblem of
the Persian empire. Only
Israel is singled out for
rejection."
Meanwhile, Rabbi Rubin
R. Dobin, international
chairman of Operation Rec-
ognition, and U. Col. Irwin
R. Ziff, USAF (Ret), execu-
tive director of the Jewish
War Veterans of the United
States, met in Washington
recently to review the plans
to urge . the recognition of
the Israeli Magen David
Adorn Society by the inter-
national Red Cross
organization.
Special efforts are being
made to enlist the support
of the Paris-based World
Veterans Federation in urg-
ing recognition of the
Magen David Adorn.
" Sens. Jacob Javits and
Abraham Ribicoff serve as
national co-chairmen of a
Radomer Aid Sets

Regular Meeting

Radomer Aid Society will
hold a regular meeting 8:30
p.m. Tuesday at the Zionist.
Cultural Center. There Will
be a Simhat Torah celebra-
tion and a social hour.
Plans for the Nov. 6
annual banquet to be held at
Cong. Bnai Moshe are being
finalized. Sol Ager is chair-
man of the banquet. Sam
Lederman is co-chairman.

group of world leaders and
statesmen who are active in
the recognition movement.
A new Operation Recogni-
tion information kit has
been prepared for free dis-
tribution. For kits write
Rabbi Dobin, International
Headquarters, Operation
Recognition, 124 Richmond
Pl., Lawrence,
11559.
N.Y.

Friday, October 14, 1977 15

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