Posts Tagged ‘Intermarriage’

Yona Zeldis McDonough on Second Time Intermarriage

December 27, 2013

This piece first appeared on The Sisterhood blog at the Forward.

two_of_a_kindcoverIn a Huffington Post piece from late October, author Yona Zeldis McDonough positions her latest, highly readable novel, “Two of a Kind,” as a reflection of the growing intermarriage rate between Jews and non-Jews as reported in the by now notorious Pew study.

Certainly, we can take Zeldis McDonough’s story about Christina Connelly, a Christian interior decorator, and Andy Stern, a Jewish obstetrician, as a tale of intermarriage in general. However, for me, its value lies in its particular focus on intermarriage the second time round under the huppah — or at the altar. Handwringing about Jews marrying out of the faith is usually in reaction to young people and first marriages.

Less is said about Jews who choose to pursue long-term relationships or marriage with non-Jews after becoming widowed or divorced in middle age or later.

Click here to read more.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.



Kugel and Kimche

May 30, 2011

This interview was first published as “On Raising Asian-Jewish Children” on The Sisterhood blog of The Forward.

Sociologists Noah Leavitt and Helen Kim and their son Ari

The recent Forward article “Raising Children on Kugel and Kimchi, and as Jews” centered on a new study that found that many families in which one parent is Jewish and the other is Asian are raising their children as Jews. The research was conducted by a married couple of sociologists, Helen Kim, who is of Korean descent, and Noah Leavitt, who is Jewish. Having written a post for The Sisterhood about the stereotypes about Jewish men and Asian women that are found in popular media — a post that garnered quite a few pointed comments — I was eager to get a behind-the-scenes look at Kim and Leavitt’s methodology and findings. The researchers spoke recently with The Sisterhood.

Renee Ghert-Zand: How did you end up choosing the specific 37 couples that ended up being the sample in your study?

Helen Kim: We worked with Be’chol Lashon. They helped us send out a screening survey. There were waves of responses. We recruited people based on where they were in the queue of 250 or so responses as they came in. We also chose couples so there was a wide range of different demographic variables: ethnicity, religious affiliation and religiosity, kids or no kids, age. For instance, we didn’t want to have an overrepresentation of Chinese-Americans.

Click here to read the rest of the interview.

© 2011 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

Thinking Ahead

July 26, 2010

It seems the rapidly approaching wedding of Chelsea Clinton to Marc Mezvinsky is on everyone’s mind these days – even those who claim not to really care. It’s not surprising really, given the rampant speculation about all the secret details – from the location to the VIP guest list to the gluten-free cake. In the Jewish media, much ink has been spilled wondering whether (ie. hoping that) Clinton will convert to Judaism, or at least become interested in the religion and possibly agree to raise a Jewish family.

I was amazed, however, that this topic of intermarriage even managed to enter my 8-year old son’s consciousness in this critical pre-nuptial period. As far as I know, he hasn’t read anything in the news about THE WEDDING, and he doesn’t yet have a Facebook account, Twitter feed and the like – so I have no idea where he got wind of it. I guess it’s just in the air these days.

Here’s the conversation he started with me out of the blue a bit earlier today:

Son #3: Imma, what do you think the chances are that I will marry someone Jewish?

Yiddishe Mamme: Well, what do you think the chances are?

Son #3: Not good.

YM: Why do you think they’re not good?

Son #3: Because all the Jews are taken already.

YM: They are? I’m not so sure about that.  There are actually still a lot of Jews out there. Do you want to marry someone Jewish?

Son #3: How should I know? That part of my life hasn’t happened yet.

Clinton and Mezvinsky’s wedding (but hopefully not marriage) will be over very soon, but I have the feeling that this conversation with my son will continue for quite a few years to come. Because, after all, that part of his life hasn’t happened yet.

© 2010 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.