Children of Intermarriage: How “Jewish”?

Peter Y. Medding

in Studies in Contemporary Jewry: Volume XIV: Coping with Life and Death: Jewish Families in the Twentieth Century

Published in print May 1999 | ISBN: 9780195128208
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854592 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Contemporary Jewry

Children of Intermarriage: How “Jewish”?

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In 1990, the second National Jewish Population Survey (NJPS) again focused national attention on intermarriage with the much-publicized finding that 52 percent of Jews who had married between 1985 and 1990 had married a non-Jew. The 1990 NJPS makes it possible to revisit the question of the ultimate impact of intermarriage on the next generation at two different levels. First, we can examine what happens to the children of intermarriages formed during the 1960s and 1970s. Do they identify as Jews now, and if so, have they followed their Jewish parent's example by choosing a non-Jewish spouse themselves? Second, we can revisit the question of how children are being raised in contemporary intermarriages. This chapter begins by addressing some key methodological issues. The second section profiles adults who are the offspring of intermarriages and assesses what impact intermarriage has already had on the Jewish community. The third section, focusing on intermarried families with children under the age of eighteen, addresses the future by examining the present. In what sort of Jewish environment are they growing up? The fourth section identifies those factors that increase the likelihood that a child in an intermarried home will be raised as Jewish.

Keywords: American Jews; intermarriage; Jewish families; Jewish community

Chapter.  19212 words. 

Subjects: History of Religion

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