Gender Differences Amongst Jews Marrying Gentiles Affect Their Jewish Identities

Among the intermarried Jewish women I have interviewed, having children made them decidedly proactive about making Jewish connections, about observance, and about Jewish education. The experience of having children also forced women to come to terms with the inadequacies of their own Jewish upbringing and to look for creative ways to teach their children (and themselves) about Jewish heritage.

Men may also experience an awakening of their Jewish identity when they marry and become parents, regardless of whether they intermarry or in-marry, due to greater communal opportunities. Historically and at present, the organized Jewish community directs much of its programming toward family units rather than to single Jewish men or women. Still it appears that intermarriage influenced a deepening of men’s Jewish identities in relation to their Gentile-born spouses and through becoming fathers.

Keren McGinity, “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle: How the Gender of the Jewish Parent Influences Intermarriage”, AJS Perspectives (Spring 2013), 42.

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