Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Intermarriage and Interdating, Part II: or, Jewish Guilt

In response to my earlier post about intermarriage and interdating, the comments were uniformly civil and reasoned. There were people on each side and it was a good discussion. However, part of what I wanted to discuss is the intensity of feeling on the anti-intermarriage side. While I agree with the commenters who pointed out that it's my life to live and not my parents, I think they mostly didn't understand exactly how upsetting an intermarriage would be to my parents. (I also found some food for thought in the anti-intermarriage comments. I think I will try to date Jews, at least for a while.)

I recently received the following comment in response to an old post. I want to emphasize that I can't imagine my parents would have this degree of venom, but I believe it is indicative of how intense the anti-intermarriage sentiment can be:

If a child chooses to marry out of Judaism and the jewish people-it is the child who is disowning the parents if the parents are so religious. If a child really loves his/her parents, then no way would they do something so hurtful as to stomp on the very soul of their parents' being.

That child is very self-focused on his or her own "happiness" over EVERYTHING else--come on that person couldnt find happiness with a Jewish mate? Just as I would love to try a treif porterhouse steak, I know that I shouldnt. Yeah, Im comparing finding a spouse to that. Even when I have found a girl to have a really attractive personality and great looks-if she wasnt Jewish I wouldnt pursue it. There is something greater than my self and that is Judaism and jewish survival and my family. Those "in love" feelings do eventually wane-but not my continued link in the jewish chain of history or any Jew's link for that matter. When she has a baby of her own, only she and her husband will feel the joy if the child is not a part of the jewish community-but if she married a Jew, the whole community would rejoice with her at the birth of a child. If each person is an island with no expected loyalty to anything or anyone beyond themselves, then I guess one would have a problem understanding why the parents would disown her for marrying out. SHE DISOWNED HER PARENTS FIRST AND RIPPED THEIR SOULS TO SHREDS>


Now, from my perspective, parents have no right to make demands on their children regarding marriage. Clearly, however, many parents feel differently. It's easy to say, "Well, that's their problem, then," but the anguish pointed to by this comment makes one pause. One of my biggest complaints about religion is how it makes otherwise completely unreasonable behavior seem somehow reasonable to people. Parents who think their kids are "disowning them" and "ripping their souls to shreds" simply by marrying the person of their choosing are, in one way of looking at it, completely insane. But by their own worldview, it's completely reasonable and even moral, so these parents (again, mine wouldn't be nearly this extreme) will do anything in their power, including extreme guilt trips, emotional and other manipulation, and who knows what else, to get their way. This is a classic example of why religion sucks. (Or can suck, to be fair.)

So my parents, from my perspective, are both factually incorrect in their beliefs about intermarriage (stemming as it does from Orthodox Judaism) and morally incorrect in their assertion that they should have broad veto power over my romantic choices. But still, if they feel even a tenth as strongly as the above commenter, do I have the right to simply ignore their feelings, misguided (in my opinion) as they are? If I were to marry a non-Jew and they were devastated, it would be fair to say (from my perspective) that their own irrational beliefs caused their anguish, and not my behavior. But the fact remains that I could avoid causing them anguish by not intermarrying.

Religion, she is a powerful and cunning memeplex. Once present in a brain, it compels not only its own host to bid its wishes, but also those who care about its host. It holds its host hostage, saying to those who care about the host, "If you disobey me, I will destroy your loved one."

36 comments:

CyberKitten said...

JA asked: do I have the right to simply ignore their feelings, misguided (in my opinion) as they are?

Yes.

Well, that's the 'simple' answer [grin].

Obviously I can only speak from my perspective (and as a non-Jew).

It seems that you have 3 alternatives:

Make your parents happy, whilst being unhappy yourself

Make yourself happy, whilst making your parents unhappy

Or hopefully making both of you happy - if possible.

Or of course you could just not get married and don't tell them who you're dating......

Tough one though. I really hope you manage to work things out.

smoo said...

Choice 4 you can stay happy by avoiding marriage altogether! (Saves a lot on lawyer fees)

smoo said...

Thanks for reminding me about a post I meant to publish a while ago. It's called 'interfaith marriages' (very original- ay?)and can be found at
http://shmuzings.blogspot.com/

smoo said...

I read the first blog and I found that I relate very much to your experience. Though not an atheist, I am a skeptic but still feel a strong cultural bond with our people. My nasty divorce sent me careening on this path and has left me with similar questions of who to date or is there a Jewish woman with similar view? Some of the comments on the first post indicate that they are out there and I'd like to share one experience with you. At http://shmuzings.blogspot.com/2006_02_01_shmuzings_archive.html scroll down to the feb. 7 06 post 'A lady at the end of the tunnel'. It might give you hope.

Esther said...

The following is a bit disjointed and I’m sure it will offend some. Apologies in advance…

I want to speak to the question of Jewish survival, since this comes up all the time as the key reason not to intermarry. My question is why is Jewish survival so important? I think there's a significant difference that tends to be lost on some between the horribleness of the destruction of the Jewish people through genocide and the gradual waning of a faith because it is no longer as relevant to the lives of some people today as it was to their ancestors.

I’m one of many people today who is in the process of leaving the Jewish faith. While I identify as a Jew because it is the faith I was born into, my husband is not Jewish and my children’s self identity is up for grabs. It’s important to remember that my relinquishment of the Jewish faith and the lack of Jewish identity in my children does not mean the loss of our personhood.

One could also argue that the loss of the skeptics from the Jewish faith will ultimately make the faith stronger as the remaining Jews will represent an undiluted concentration of true believers.

Esther said...

I should also add that I am lucky that I come from a long line of skeptics. My parents were relatively non-plused that I and my siblings all married non-Jews.

I love my parents very much. If I thought that my marriage would rip my parents souls to shreds, I would probably have made a greater effort to marry a Jew.

Juggling Mother said...

It begs the question - where will you go looking for this potential spouse?

As neither of us practised any religion, it didn't come up in conversation until we were a fairly long way into the relationship. Obviously if you are going to date orthodox girls it's easy - but I'm guessing there could be some compatability issues there;-) If you are looking for broadly jewish, but atheists/skeptics/non-practising it is harder to know what you've got until you ask, and if you ask first, it's a bit of a turn off for anyone who does not consider religion the main focus of their life.

Stephen (aka Q) said...

Religion, she is a powerful and cunning memeplex. Once present in a brain, it compels not only its own host to bid its wishes, but also those who care about its host.

I expressed my thoughts on your dating conundrum in the earlier post, and I have nothing to add on that issue. But I would like to respond to your last, provocative paragraph.

I'm reminded of a passage in the Christian scriptures where Paul advises believers to set aside their freedom for the sake of a "brother" whose conscience is more sensitive than our own:

"For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. … It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble." Paul's rationale is, "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14).

Paul's point is well taken. It is appropriate to sacrifice something of lesser significance in order to preserve something of greater signficance.

The problem is, that advice can easily degenerate into blackmail — or hostage-taking, as you put it.

I think believers have a dual obligation: first, not to give unnecessary offence (as Paul indicates); second, to educate the "weaker brother" so that he doesn't remain in that state, where he is easily offended, perpetually.

This isn't intended as counsel for you and your parents. Paul is discussing two co-religionists — not a son and his parents, which is a different sort of relationship (obviously).

I'm just responding to the theological issue that you raise, because I think it's a genuine problem. And what I'm saying is, the religious community has an obligation to help the weaker brother get over it. Too often, the religious community does just the opposite: it assures the weaker brother that he is right to take offence, and leaves him in that pathetic state perpetually.

smoo said...

Esther-

I think you hit on an important point. That Judaism seems no longer relevant now. That is the failure of our religion, that it hasn't sufficiently adapted to the changing needs of our society. I happen to find a good portion of our religion/culture to have relevance but you need the right guide. There are so many humanistic and ethical ideas that can be gleaned from the Bible making them very relevant today. Admittedly there is a significant portion that isn't relevant and perhaps is unpalatable too. Those parts I choose to relegate for the past. I focus instead on the positive portions and find meaning there.
-------------------------------
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thefrumskepticsgroup/message/15723
has a thread about whether Judaism should be preserved.
Daniel wrote:
"What is the value in the survival of Judaism? Is it b/c we (the "practitioners" of Judaism)believe we have a divine mandate?"

No, the survival of Judaism is important because we have a long and proud heritage which gives us a unique perspective on life and how we understand the world. Judaism is so rich in content and history that it would be a real shame to see it die. It is what makes us who we are and provides direction and meaning in life if you are willing to probe its depths. I believe that we, as Jews, have an obligation to
learn about our heritage, understand it, to make it part of our lives and ensure that it gets passed on.

Anonymous said...

Wow-some people are REALLY concerned about Jewish survival! Re: anti-intermarriage comment (ripping parents' souls to shreds). Intermarriage and assimilation etc is an eventual path that all Jews will take and soon we will be no more.
What's wrong with that? No more persecutions, holocausts etc. We finally be free of the burdens of being different.

Jewish peoplehood and Judaism will be a thing of the past. It contributed alot to our culture to be sure--but its outlived its usefulness.

Keep intermarrying and keep assimilating and eventually we will all be happy and atheistic Christians.

And we will never ever ever have to hear anymore venom from people so concerned about Jewish survival ever again.

Anonymous said...

This has little to do with religion and much more to do with race/ethnicity. There is a large body of evidence demonstrating that Ashkenazic Jews have been a highly cohesive group for over 1000 years. In fact 99 percent of yiddishkiet is culture/mannerisms. We have the same diseases, look the same, etc. That is one of the main reasons the halacha about conversion is so strict.... and wh secular Jews tend to marry each other also. It is much more of a genetic issue.

swurgle said...

And the best way to outwit some of those awful diseases is to marry the goyim...

(This is Esther signing in under my new official name.)

smoo said...

swurgle-
Or get new ones.

Jewish Atheist said...

Cyberkitten:

Or hopefully making both of you happy - if possible.

Yeah, that's my hope right now.

Or of course you could just not get married and don't tell them who you're dating......

This could be a possibility if I decide I don't want children. Having children with a non-Jew I'm NOT married to would probably be even worse for them than having children with a non-Jewish wife. :-)


smoo:

Choice 4 you can stay happy by avoiding marriage altogether! (Saves a lot on lawyer fees)

See my last comment to CK. :-)

Interesting posts, thanks.


Esther,

My question is why is Jewish survival so important?

I agree. Genocide is awful, but what's the harm of assimilation?


It begs the question - where will you go looking for this potential spouse?

That is indeed the question. 'Twill be difficult, unless I go the JDate route or something.


Q-

Paul's point is well taken. It is appropriate to sacrifice something of lesser significance in order to preserve something of greater signficance.

True. However, marriage may not be of "lesser" signifance than pleasing one's parents.

And what I'm saying is, the religious community has an obligation to help the weaker brother get over it.

If only.


Anonymous,

Keep intermarrying and keep assimilating and eventually we will all be happy and atheistic Christians.

And we will never ever ever have to hear anymore venom from people so concerned about Jewish survival ever again.


Sometimes, that sounds like a really good idea.


Anonymous (2),

This has little to do with religion and much more to do with race/ethnicity.

To be fair to my parents, I'm positive they would have no problem with me marrying an Ethiopian Jew or an Asian convert, for example. With them, it really is the Jewishness rather than the race/ethnicity.


swurgle/esther:

Nice name. What does it mean?

And the best way to outwit some of those awful diseases is to marry the goyim...

Agreed! Genetically, it would make a LOT of sense to marry someone from another race. Or at least a sephard. (Though, and this is REALLY not pc, there are some advantages that may go along with the tendency towards disease among ashkenazim. Nobody can prove it's genetic, but ashkenazic Jews have a significantly higher IQ than the average person, for example.)

Jack's Shack said...

That Judaism seems no longer relevant now. That is the failure of our religion, that it hasn't sufficiently adapted to the changing needs of our society.

I am not sure that you can say that it is the failure of the religion. It may be the failure of those who taught you to show why and how it is relevant.

This post just makes me sad. Really, it does. I think that there is something very disappointing here.

I understand that some people made choices to leave and go elsewhere but the comments that join seem really self serving.

swurgle said...

I guess I've now become a champion for assimilation. Who knew?

I think it's important to remind everyone that when a person assimilates, they don't evaporate.

I'm here. I exist, with all the wonderful characteristics that make me unique. Even though my children aren't specifically Jewish, they're still smart and delightful (and well-behaved, may I add, Jewish mother that I am)

With any luck, my descendents will be unique, intelligent people who will contribute great things to the world and who I will be proud to be an ancestor of, even if they aren't Jewish.

Anonymous said...

when i went on birthright, we sat through a lot of shpiels against intermarriage. One girl, whose father was jewish and her mom was christian, adn who was herself actively Jewish, was quite offended.
SHe thought the problem wasnt intermarriage, it was Judaism not being important enough to people for them to teach it to their children.
Once someone's considering intermarriage, chances are they no longer have much Jewish identity.

-sarah m

elf said...

Once someone's considering intermarriage, chances are they no longer have much Jewish identity.

I disagree. There are different varieties and levels of Jewish identity. If Judaism permeates every aspect of your daily life, it is very unlikely that you will find a non-Jew with whom you are romantically compatible. But there are also people who live generally secular lives and still go to synagogue for lifecycle events, celebrate holidays, and feel some connection to the Jewish people. A person like that might fall for someone of a different religion, and if they love each other enough to get married, I don't think that any good can come of dissuading them.

Reasonable people can disagree over whether or not intermarriage is a "bad thing," but I don't think that it's at all reasonable for Jewish parents and communities to ostracise intermarried couples. They'll just be that much less likely to have children like your friend, who are actively committed to Judaism. How exactly does that benefit "Jewish continuity"?

Anonymous said...

Just so you all know, I am the one who wrote about ripping the souls of the religious parents when marrying out and abandoning our nation that has a covenant with G-d. I also wrote in another comment about how great it is to intermarry and assimilate. I played devil's advocate to both extremes.
Actually, I am a very committed member of the Jewish people (nation) and I will never understand how a Jew can abandon their people, history and destiny.

Most likely, it's a severe lack of Jewish education as well as a lack of parental guidance and concern when it comes to Jewish peoplehood.

Being Jewish is NOT being a member of a religious group. Religion is a non-Jewish word. The Torah never refers to the Jews as being part of a religious group--we are ONLY referred to as a nation.

The "religion" word came about as a response to Christianity and Islam. Fellow Jews are not co-religionists-we are part and parcel of the same nation that formed a covenant with G-d.

Polish Jews do not look at all like Polish non-Jews and now with DNA testing available-we now learn that the DNA of Jews from Poland is MUCH more similar to the Jews of Iraq than with Polish non-Jews.
That's how come it was so easy for our enemies to see by our looks during the Holocaust that we werent real Poles,Germans, etc etc.

Fashionable today to call someone a racist or ethnocentric if one insists that Jews marry other Jews---well I have informed my children that if they choose to marry a Jew from Ethiopia, Iran, Morocco, Syria, Poland, Germany, etc etc-then that's okay by me. That doesnt sound racist to me--just proud of my Jewish heritage, nation and value system that my being Jewish has given me.

Let's all ponder the idea of no more Jews or Jewish values in the world--think about how much we have influenced history in general.

We will ALWAYS survive as a people and a nation--I just wish that ALL of us will be a part of it.

I thank G-d literally every day that Im Jewish and that my teenage children wear that same badge of Jewish pride as well. One doesnt have to believe in G-d to be Jewish since a Jew is born into the Jewish nation.

Be proud fellow Jews of who you are, where you came from and the major contributions to the world from our people.

Ask most non-Jewish Americans what percentage of this country is Jewish and you'll probably hear answers like 20% or something. They are always shocked to learn that we are only 1.8% of the population here. How many other people have so much to offer? Yes, the world and this country would be less well-off if it wasnt for the contributions of the Jews-no matter how devoted to G-d or the Torah they are.

With ahavat Yisrael (love of the Jewish people)

Menachem

swurgle said...

Hey Menachem - Your expressions of Jewish pride are strikingly similar to David Duke's expressions of "White" pride.

Jack's Shack said...

MYour expressions of Jewish pride are strikingly similar to David Duke's expressions of "White" pride.

Swurgle,

That is a real leap.

Rabbi Seinfeld said...

Funny, like an Arthur Miller play, I find myself sympathetic with all sides here.

I agree that intermarriage is a symptom of weak Jewish acculturation, not the problem itself. Ergo, the solution is to make Jewishness more relevant.

However, I would like to suggest that we all agree that marriage is a choice in every sense. That is to say, if you decide you want to marry a Jew, you simply will not date non-Jews. On the other hand, if you do date non-Jews, there is a chance that you will meet one whom you would like to marry.

Now, my grandfather used to say, "a family ought to have one religion" - he was talking about family harmony rather than Jewish pride or continuity. The fact is that single-religion families tend to be more enduring and have happier children (all else being equal). If you have two potential mates, all equal except one is Jewish and the other not, why would you not choose the one with a background more similar to your own?

Believe me, I've seen this countless times: a Jewish man marries a non-Jewish woman (Christian, Buddhist, atheist) and they are very much in love. A few years later, a baby boy is born. Suddenly, he wants a bris for the kid, she thinks he's nuts.

Do yourself a favor - if you decide to marry a non-Jewish spouse, discuss these things before hand. Don't say, "let's cross that bridge when we get there" - it can be very painful, especially when your atheist-Catholic wife decides she wants the kid Baptised after all and starts taking him to church.

And do the kids a favor - don't try to raise them in 2 religions. Give them a clear, concrete sense of identity.

My 2 bits, as my grandfather would have said.

Jewish Atheist said...

Jack's Shack:


This post just makes me sad. Really, it does. I think that there is something very disappointing here.

I understand that some people made choices to leave and go elsewhere but the comments that join seem really self serving.


And we would argue that parents using emotional blackmail to choose their children's spouses are self-serving. :-)


swurgle:

With any luck, my descendents will be unique, intelligent people who will contribute great things to the world and who I will be proud to be an ancestor of, even if they aren't Jewish.

Well said!


sarah m:

SHe thought the problem wasnt intermarriage, it was Judaism not being important enough to people for them to teach it to their children.

Interesting point.


Reasonable people can disagree over whether or not intermarriage is a "bad thing," but I don't think that it's at all reasonable for Jewish parents and communities to ostracise intermarried couples. They'll just be that much less likely to have children like your friend, who are actively committed to Judaism. How exactly does that benefit "Jewish continuity"?

Another good point.


Menachem:

Actually, I am a very committed member of the Jewish people (nation) and I will never understand how a Jew can abandon their people, history and destiny.

Intermarrying is not necessarily abandoning people or history. It's generally the people that abandon the intermarry-er. As for destiny, well, this atheist doesn't really believe in destiny.



Most likely, it's a severe lack of Jewish education as well as a lack of parental guidance and concern when it comes to Jewish peoplehood.


I had a good Jewish education, much parental concern, and certainly attempted parental guidance.

Being Jewish is NOT being a member of a religious group. Religion is a non-Jewish word. The Torah never refers to the Jews as being part of a religious group--we are ONLY referred to as a nation.

Interesting point.

Let's all ponder the idea of no more Jews or Jewish values in the world--think about how much we have influenced history in general.

The ideas may live on without the religion living on.


swurgle, Jack's Shack:

MYour expressions of Jewish pride are strikingly similar to David Duke's expressions of "White" pride.

There are similarities. I tend to see religious pride a little differently, but because Menachem does focus on the "nation" aspect of Judaism, you might have a point.


Rabbi Seinfeld:

However, I would like to suggest that we all agree that marriage is a choice in every sense.

Well, it's obviously correct that nobody's going to force me to marry a non-Jew. However, one could make the argument that I could end up with an inferior marriage if I artificially limit the pool of potential wives. So it's a choice, but not necessarily a good one.

The fact is that single-religion families tend to be more enduring and have happier children (all else being equal).

(First, as a skeptic, I'd like to see a citation for this claim. :-) Second, no matter what happens, my marriage will have at least one atheist, so if I marry a theistic or agnostic Jew, there will already be a multiple-religious-beliefs family.

If you have two potential mates, all equal except one is Jewish and the other not, why would you not choose the one with a background more similar to your own?

Rabbi, if they were lining up to marry me, I'd agree with you. :-)

Believe me, I've seen this countless times: a Jewish man marries a non-Jewish woman (Christian, Buddhist, atheist) and they are very much in love. A few years later, a baby boy is born. Suddenly, he wants a bris for the kid, she thinks he's nuts...

especially when your atheist-Catholic wife decides she wants the kid Baptised after all and starts taking him to church.


Yes, this sort of thing is definitely something to think about.

And do the kids a favor - don't try to raise them in 2 religions. Give them a clear, concrete sense of identity.

I have some trouble with the idea of religion as identity. Isn't each person unique? Aren't religious beliefs fundamentally beliefs about the world, some of which are true and some aren't? Is a kid really better off knowing he's 100% Jewish or 100% Mormon than 1/4 Cherokee, 3/4 Catholic?

Interesting comment, though. Thanks.

dbs said...

My parents would react the same way as yours, and even though I don't want to hurt them (and still have a strong instinct to try to please them)this is all very destructive and silly.

Is it that easy to find the perfect soulmate? I don't think so. Isn't that a higher priority than making your parents happy?

Sure. It's just like ordering a steak! As evidenced by all of the perfectly harmonious couples in the orthodox community.

All of these comments are just racist crap - not that the motivation is a negative view of others - I understand all that, but it is just a misplaced emotional instinct. At least if you treat judaism as a religion, you can argue this from faith.

When parents create this type of strong expectation about the lifestyle of a child, then either they or the kid have a good chance of being let down. Better the parents, I say.

Jewish Atheist said...

dbs:

When parents create this type of strong expectation about the lifestyle of a child, then either they or the kid have a good chance of being let down. Better the parents, I say.

I agree in theory. We'll see what happens in practice.

Juggling Mother said...

"Jewishness is not a religion, it is a nation."

OK, and for how many generations should people from one nation live within another nation before taking on the culture of their adoptive home?

How do you feel about immigrants coming to your country, speaking their own language and refusing to use your language, following their own laws even if they are in direct conflict with your countries laws, exclusively employing their own people & not contributing to or interacting with your countries cultural/social way of life?

The earliest Jewish immigrants that I can trace in my family came to the UK in the 1600's. That's easily 15 generations. In what way is my nationality Jewish? It's British!

Anonymous said...

When I was in college I actually explored Christianity-quite by accident (long story).
If you tell most committed Christians that their religion is the best and that they are the only ones to go onto "heaven", they (most) will agree that it is so.

I was even told that if the Nazi accepted Christ as lord and savior they will go to heaven-but the 6 million jews are doomed to hell. People telling me this were sad and troubled by revealing this to me but that is actually how many believe.

Jews, on the other hand, for the most part, dont accept the betterness notion. "Chosen" does not mean better. If a jew is told that Jews are the best etc-most jews would balk, run, yell and scream "NO"

Only Judaism believes that ALL righteous people regardless of background have a place in "the world to come" ONLY JUDAISM! Christianity and Islam believe otherwise. So thank G-d I'm a Jew!

To those who were sooo offended (comparing me to David Duke) because i have much Jewish pride, I say sorry, better to have pride than shame or indifference or worse ignorance.

I'm not going to give you the nonsensical adage that some of my best friends are not Jewish-but the reality is--they are. I even lost my very best friend (a devoted Irish Catholic) who was sadly killed in the WTC on 9-11. He used to question me as to why so many Jews dont follow Judaism. I never could give a good enough response. I felt embarrassed by that question. My friend's brother is a Catholic priest. I was asked to say the opening benediction at my friend's memorial service in his Catholic church.

Most religious Christians and Moslems have utmost respect for religious Jews and almost no respect for the "liberal" Jews who have left their belief system.

Yeah, committed Jews are disparaged quite often by the less committed Jews and sadly always will be. One day, however, those less committed amongst us will just disappear into the gentile world and their offspring won't be embarrassed by us anymore. And the Jewish atheists too will be history as well.

Menachem

PS For all of you who Ive offended, feel a sense of relief. I wont be writing on this blog site again. Frankly, it's a complete waste of time. And as much as I may have angered you or pressed some "hot buttons" of yours--most of your comments are so depressing. The content of the comments are empty and lack depth.
Your goals are to be free from Judaism and jewish peoplehood. Live your "deep" and "meaningful" lives as you see fit. Most of the non-Jewish world, for better or worse, is much more spiritual than you all and have much closer ties to their own religions than you.

No doubt your children and/or grandchildren will envy the comittment of the non-Jews around them- and become part of them. And of course that won't bother you-since your ultimate goal was to break the chain of jewish continuity anyway. At last, your offspring will never have to hear the pure unadulterated bullshit of Jewish continuity as you all have had to hear. They'll be FREE of that ridiculous guilt.

Yasher Koach--keep knocking the jews and judaism--I know it makes you all feel strong, proud and very intellectual.

Anonymous said...

" how much we have influenced history in general"
[I am an Ashkenazi Jew who in contact with almost exclusively Jews, attending Jewish school, but am skeptical of the religion]
Yes. Jews always mention this. But they NEVER ask why. Never. It's indicative of my skepticism of Judaism - the answer to everything, implied or asserted, is G-d did it. G-d is the universal to answer to everything. Thus my deism. But, I attribute, as have other scholars, this effect to the high IQ of Ashkenazim. If it were being Jewish only, why have Sefardim (actually Mizrahim - Sephardic means Spanish) had such a marginal effect on Western civilization (and no, Maimonides was Spanish, not Mizrahi). You may say they've had little time to do so, considering their location. But examine Israel, and you will see the cultural elite is Ashkenazi.

Is it really proper to be proud of something you haven't done? To make any claim on the achievements of Ashkenazi Jews is absurd. This reflects the collective nature of Jews and Judaism (Kol Yisrael Arayvim zeh lazeh). But appreciation is fine.

I don't think it's that hard to marry Jewish, especially if you live in NY or L.A. Also, Jews become more common as you go up the social (read:IQ) pole in society (25% at an IQ of 145 I believe).

Orthodox Jews are very arrogant in that they believe if every Jew heard their spiel, went to Jewish school, etc. they would become religious.

"Jews, on the other hand, for the most part, dont accept the betterness notion. "Chosen" does not mean better. If a jew is told that Jews are the best etc-most jews would balk, run, yell and scream "NO""
Depends who you run with. I'm sure some (maybe only Ultra) Orthodox Jews would disagree, and tell you so. That is, if you yourself were an Orthodox Jew. There was a rabbi who came to my synagogue who claimed that you could not break the Sabbath to save a gentile's life. It was controversial and argued, but the opinions exist just the same.

"Yasher Koach--keep knocking the jews and judaism--I know it makes you all feel strong, proud and very intellectual."
No moral superiority here. Nothing to see here folks.

There's a book circulating among the Orthodox community - why marry Jewish. Maybe you should look at it. http://www.whymarryjewish.com/

Anonymous said...

The site I cited sounds remarkably like Menachem:
Excuse to marry out: Its my life
Response: Yes... but this is our people. Where is your sense of responsibility to continue the Jewish people who have brought to the world- universal ethical monotheism, social justice, universal education, charity, belief in the sanctity of human life....Are you willing to have the Jewish line of heritage...end with you?

Jewish Atheist said...

Interesting point, (the second) Anonymous. I should point out that it's not at all clear that the IQ difference is genetic rather than cultural. Did you know that the average IQ for the whole country has gone up a whole standard deviation in the last generation? Nobody knows why, but it (obviously) couldn't be genetic.

Anonymous said...

Jewish Atheist,
There is little direct evidence for the genetic thesis at the moment. And, the Flynn effect you mention, has not been satisfiably explained. One skeptic of its effect, I forget who, said that the effect does not correspond with any increase in g, the general cognitive ability. But despite it, the gaps between groups, at least in America, have remained constant. (I've heard that in Israel there has been lots of intermarriage between Ashkenazim & Mizrahim).

But the vast majority, if not all, of the indirect evidence points to a genetic role. For instance, culture theory predicts that, on average, black kids raised in white homes should have the IQ of an average white, as long as the white adopters are representative of whites. But that hasn't been the case. Twin studies have found similar results. The heredity of IQ, by the way, increases with age, meaning that your education affects it less and less as you age. Arthur Jensen the foremost scientist of the IQ field (psychometrics), recently estimated 70-80% heredity at adulthood, assuming there was no extreme malnutrition and such (http://www.ssc.uwo.ca/psychology/faculty/rushtonpdfs/PPPL1.pdf). Studies have found a correlation of 0.76 in IQ among identical twins raised in different homes and milieus.

But even if the genetic role is unproven, the fact that Mizrahim have achieved little (at least relative to Ashkenazim) suggests that Judaism generally has little to do with it. Perhaps it (if you believe the culture theory) suggests that Ashkenazi Judaism is superior. Again, the Jews proclaiming Ashkenazi achievements neither bother nor care to ask why. We just strut about. (How representative of my beef with Orthodoxy!)

The only place you will hear fair debate about IQ are in refereed science journals, the more obscure the better. Reed Elsevier has the journal Intelligence. (Try accessing it through your university login name, if you have one. I do, and can access the journal from my home computer.) But it's probably best to read meta-articles that cover modern findings of the field, not some specific paper.

Jewish Atheist said...

Anonymous,

It certainly seems reasonable that a lot of IQ is genetic. Trust me, I'm not one of those "look at us" strutting Jews. It's such an un-PC topic, it's hard to even think about honestly, though.

JA

Anonymous said...

Not a religious issue to me.
I am Jewish by heritage but agnostic in my religious beliefs and understand the idea and importance of keeping our numbers up if at all possible. All things being equal, I'd like to marry a Jewish woman but chances are it's not gonna happen.

Anonymous said...

...for anyone stumbling upon the blog. If you are Jewish and you are planning on dating, date Jews. You are leaving out one key person in this discussion...the person you will love. It's not very nice to selfishly date and make some poor shiksa fall in love with you and set her up for a lifetime of alienation and conflict. It's so romantic to be the Juliet however...they both died in the end because nobody was happy. Speaking as a gentile who has had a terrible experience blind sided by a Jewish-atheist...just don't go there. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

Hi, just wanted to say thanks for your post and I can relate to it completely even though I am not Jewish. However, I feel that your statement that: 'Religion, she is a powerful and cunning memeplex. Once present in a brain, it compels not only its own host to bid its wishes, but also those who care about its host.' is a bit simplistic. I suppose it depends on how you define religion, but in my parents case their opposition to my choice of life partner is not to do with religion (we are both practising Muslims) but due to different race and nationality. So despite the fact that in Islam one's faith always comes before tribal, ethnic and other such affiliations (and indeed under Islamic law I'm not bound to listen to them on this matter), in my parents' mind some misguided form of nationalistic fervour has become their basic for the same arguments as you describe. So IMHO its not 'religion' per se that is the problem, its any ideology that sets boundaries between oneself and the 'other', which can of course include religion. In my case though, I do face the same difficult choice as you, in that I know that even though I am not doing anything wrong my choice would cause them a lot of pain, and it's not so simple as to just say "that their own irrational beliefs caused their anguish, and not my behavior". Just my two pennies worth. As your post appears a few years old, I hope that everything worked out well for you.

Eclipse said...

So much of this focus on intermarriage is really about the kids. But what about intermarrying couples who either don't plan on having children or are past the age of childbearing?

I'm one of those who chose not to marry at all because I don't share my parents' values, and felt unfairly constrained by being restricted to only dating and marrying Jews. Religion really messed up my head when I was a teenager; the so-called Jewish education did such a number on my head that I decided I wasn't going to have kids, period.

If people who intermarry break this chain by not having Jewish kids, what about those of us who never have kids at all, whether we're married or single? I'm not going to have any descendants, and it doesn't bother me at all. There are other ways to live on, such as through one's accomplishments and work to make the world a better place.