A good barometer of the NYC liberal Jewish zeitgeist is to see what the ‘most e-mailed’ stories in the NYT are.
Today, at the #1 spot, is an op-ed titled “Being ‘Part Jewish’”.
Yes… this is the #1 most e-mailed story in the NYT.
Noting the recent Pew study on Jewish identity, the writer describes her own interfaith home, which is Jewish and Christian, with the following revealing comments:
Many Jewish leaders and institutions consider this a terrible and potentially damaging choice — one that will confuse young people, create Jews for Jesus and ultimately contribute to the demise of Judaism…
I thought about my family’s choices when the Pew Research Center released its report on American Jews last month. The report stirred controversy over the growing number of Jews who are unaffiliated with religious institutions and the concern that part of this alienation might be because of the high rate of intermarriage.
Note the focus on jewish identity, where interfaith arrangements seems to ruffle more feathers than in the Christian domain.
My husband was raised Episcopalian. He is the great-grandson of an Episcopal bishop. I was raised Reform Jewish by my Episcopalian mother and my Jewish father. I am a great-granddaughter of a New Orleans rabbi. Growing up, I experienced both the benefits and the drawbacks of being raised in one religion. Often, I felt marginalized as an interfaith child and had to fight to defend my claim to Judaism. For our son and daughter, now teenagers, my husband and I decided that we wanted them to feel that they could be at the center of an interfaith-families community, surrounded by other interfaith children, rather than trying to conform to a single religion in which they might, or might not, be accepted. And we wanted them to feel equally connected to both sides of their religious ancestry.
It’s interesting that she, apparently, didn’t have to fight to defend her claim to Christianity. Is that simply a function of being “3/4” Christian, or is it more a function of longstanding Jewish strictures against assimilation?
Note also the following odd sentiment at the end of this paragraph:
The interfaith children who grow up in interfaith communities, learning and celebrating both religions, are not lost to Judaism. My children have only one Jewish grandparent: by ancestry, they are “three-quarters” Christian, and their Judaism is through my father. If we had to choose one religion for them, the logical choice would be Christianity. Instead, we have taught them essential Jewish and Christian prayers, songs and rituals. Perhaps, having been given a love for Judaism and basic Hebrew literacy in childhood, they will choose at some point in their lives to practice Judaism exclusively. That would be good for the Jews. Or perhaps they will choose to be Christians or Buddhists or secular humanists who happen to have an unusual knowledge of and affinity for Judaism. That would also be good for the Jews.
Writing in the NYT, I guess she knows her audience.