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In his article in the Crimson (April 28), Professor Dershowitz presented statistics claiming that the current intermarriage rate is between 53 percent and 58 percent. Because there is so much intermarriage, he proclaims that "Jews must become more welcoming of anyone who wants to be part of our heritage." I'd like to present some statistics from September 19, 1996's The Jerusalem Report which more accurately portray the current inter-marriage situation in the US.
There are 1.3 million intermarried households in the US, three times the number of identifiably Jewish households. There are more children under age four in mixed-marriage households than in all-Jewish ones. Only 28 percent of children in mixed-marriage households are being raised Jewish. Only one in 10 of those children will marry a Jew.
In contrast to Dershowitz's claim, these non-Jewish spouses clearly have no interest in themselves becoming part of the Jewish heritage, or making their children a part of this heritage. Intermarriage does lead to assimilation and a decrease in the Jewish population. How can Dershowitz dare ask Jews to welcome those who are contributing, no matter how unintentionally, to their destruction?
No matter how Dershowitz tries to spin the facts, intermarriage will destroy the Jewish community, because somewhere along the line, whether in the first generation or the third, a child who should have been Jewish will not be. The more Jews "embrace intermarriage," the faster the rate of their demise will be.
There is a solution to the intermarriage problem, and it's not the easy way out Dershowitz is looking for. It involves making Jews value their Jewish identity so much that they cannot even fathom the possibility of not marrying someone Jewish, that the prospect of their children being raised in a half-Jewish environment terrifies them. Jews should believe with all their heart that it's wrong NOT make the religion of a prospective spouse a crucial determining factor. Tammy A. Hepps '00
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