Monday, September 8, 2008

Is there such a thing as "Jewish feminism"?

Recently, I received several emails from (American) Jewish men in their twenties and early thirties, all asking the same question: "Where can I find a nice, decent Jewish woman who wouldn't be too career-minded and would simply want to get married?"

All these men expressed their frustration about the women they met being too pushy, too career oriented, too uncompromising, and too harsh. This got me thinking: is there such a thing as "Jewish feminism"? Or are we simply part of a feminism-driven world?

Then I came across this article about the demographic situation of American Jewish population.

Right now I don't plan to comment on the tragic issue of intermarriage, even though I know it reached catastrophic proportions in the United States. Obviously the young men who contacted me, even if not strictly Orthodox, were interested in a Jewish wife, and were introduced to women who also looked for a Jewish husband. I will focus on another aspect the article discusses:

"Jews marry later than other Americans, with the greatest disparities occurring in the age group between twenty-five and thirty-four. For Jewish women in particular, late marriage means lower rates of fertility compared with other Caucasian women."

"Jewish women in the United States are significantly less fertile than their white, Gentile counterparts. To explain this fact, the demographer Frank Mott has pointed to the extraordinary rates of educational achievement among Jewish women, who spend significantly more time than their Gentile peers in programs of higher learning. For many of them, still more childless years follow as they work to advance their careers."

This rang a bell. As a young, college-educated woman, I know this pull of "You must get your degree first! But that's not enough - continue learning. Get your PhD. Advance your career. And then maybe, just maybe, if you really think you've had enough years alone, get married and have a child. Or two. But definitely not more than two, if you don't want to really mess up your life!"

This attitude is true not only for Jewish women, of course. But Jews have always been known for high rates of excellent education and professionalism. I'm not saying there's a problem with education in itself; but for the vast majority of population today, "good education" is equaled with "investing ten years in a PhD". This usually means a higher marriage age, and fewer children. According to the quoted statistics, the average number of children per Jewish woman is 1.86, which can mean only one thing: dwindling of the American Jewish population.

Of course, the situation is better among Orthodox Jews:

"An informed estimate gives figures ranging upward from 3.3 children in "modern Orthodox" families to 6.6 in Haredi or "ultra-Orthodox" families to a whopping 7.9 in families of Hasidim." (emphasis mine)

"But what accounts for the high fertility rates of Orthodox Jews? It is certainly true that they marry much earlier than other Jews. Almost two-thirds of Orthodox women are wed by the age of twenty-five, and 90 percent by thirty-five."

From my experience, the average secular, college-educated 25-year-old woman either isn't thinking about marriage at all, or dreads it like a beast that will tie her down and prevent her from enjoying single, carefree life. It seems as though there is "a predisposition among the best-educated to regard family itself as a suspect category and child-rearing as a chore best left to others".

"Thirty- and forty-year-old singles speak freely of their loneliness, and their inability to meet eligible Jewish mates. Because of late marriages, huge numbers of Jewish couples are struggling with infertility or with the difficulties of finding babies to adopt."

"A small but growing number [of single Jewish women] have taken the extraordinary step of bearing children through artificial insemination, and reportedly some, in the name of Jewish continuity, have contemplated asking the organized community to support their choice financially."

So far, it seems to me that the "Jewish spin" of feminism suggested by the men who wrote to me could probably be found in any community with adult singles, especially women, spending many years in institutions of higher education. It all boils down to two points: there are so few eligible potential wives to choose from in the first place, and so many of them opt for delaying marriage until their mid-thirties.

My suggestion was simple: keep looking, and don't be ashamed to use online dating services if you live in a small community. Oh, and while in general it's less difficult if you have a similar observance level, if you meet someone "more Orthodox" than yourself, building a bridge over the religious gap is a much better option than "dropping out" entirely.

41 comments:

Laura said...

I agree about the online dating. It seems like a lot of relgious people shy a way from meeting someone online becuase it's not the "tradional" thing to do. But there is nothing wrong with it though.

Gothelittle Rose said...

I don't know if it has anything to do with anything, but I've found that most Jewish groups in the U.S. that I've known about or heard of trend politically towards Liberal Democrat. Not to say that one always means the other, but that political party has the higher concentration of feminists, a stronger pull towards abortion rights, and policies that edge closer to socialism, especially the sort currently used in large parts of Western Europe.

I'm not quite sure why this is, though I think in my grandfather's case it has something to do with him having fled Russia during the fall of Imperialism. He worked hard for worker's rights, and in Russia that developed into socialism. (My Jewish heritage comes through my father's father.. that's why I'm a 'mischlinge in the second degree' (I don't find the term offensive, just for the record) instead of having a shot at the full title. :) )

I live in a "blue state" (a state dominated more by Democrats than Republicans), so I've found the liberal groups in my area are a bit bolder with their statements than they are in other parts of the country. Delaying marriage or avoiding it completely is increasingly more common in my state, along with that accompanying 'you blew it' sense if you marry early and settle down instead...

Personally, I went from highschool straight to college, picked up a bachelor's degree in four and a half years, met my now-husband during that time, and we married when we were both 23 years old. (He's six months older than me.) While I've had reason to be very glad for my degree in recent economic troubles (well-paying work that doesn't take me away from my home), it was very difficult and possibly mildly damaging to our early relationship to have to wait two and a half more years after we began to date officially... as he and I both had the desire to wait certain intimacies until marriage.

Anonymous said...

I have always strongly associated Jewish culture with feminism, at least in America. Many, many Jewish women have been at the forefront of second wave feminism. Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, and Bella Abzug come immediately to mind, but there are scores of other famous Jewish feminist women. Certainly, most Jewish women I know are very feminist. It's sort of taken for granted.

Just speculating here, but I think it has to do with several factors, some of which you touched on: (1) Jews, because of Jewish scripture and Jewish historical experience, are very concerned with social justice. Feminism is a social justice movement. (2) Jews are already a minority. So it was always easier for a Jewish woman to buck the system by being an out-and-proud feminist too. (3) Jewish culture places a high priority on education. As a result, Jewish culture has produced a high percentage of utterly brilliant, highly educated women. Such women are inclined to be feminists. (4) I read recently that over 90% of Jews who immigrated to New york City in the early 1900s were secular and not well acquainted with Jewish belief. By mid-century, the children of immigrants were trying to get back in touch with their Jewish heritage. But even so, a lot of Jews are not fervent religious believers, and therefore are not as tied to patriarchal pronouncements in the Bible. (5) Also tied to some of my prior points, Jews in America tend to support strong separation between church and state. That is because they know what it is like to be a religious minority; they don't want their government making policy based on Christian religious beliefs they don't share. Therefore, they are not enthusiastic about applying patriarchal scriptural beliefs to the public arena either.

I note your concern with low birthrates among Jews. But Jews have always been a minority in most Europe and America, and yet have maintained a cultural influence vastly out of proportion to their numbers. This is due to the emphasis on education, analytical thinking, hard work, and the belief in public service and social justice. There are many ways of having an impact besides simply outnumbering everyone else through reproduction, and the success of Jews throughout history proves that.

-- Pendragon

Sammy said...

I'm Jewish and married to a man who is not. My mother is Jewish, my maternal great-grandparents were Orthodox and came to the US from Lithuania. I am pregnant with my first child and I plan on raising him in a Jewish community. Because I am Jewish from my mother's side, this means my son will be Jewish as well, right? Despite the fact that my husband is not?

It saddens me when people are so strongly against intermarriage. Sometimes we just can't help who we fall in love with. I thank God every day that I was lucky enough to find a man like my husband. I am blessed beyond measure. And he is fully supportive of our children being raised Jewish.

What do you think? It is an example of intermarriage, but our children will still be Jewish. Am I right about this?

Michelle Potter said...

A sort of a side question, Anna. One of your quotes says that Jewish couples have a hard time finding babies to adopt. Are they looking for babies that were born of Jewish parents, or would any baby adopted by a Jewish woman be a Jew automatically?

Mrs. Anna T said...

Pendragon,

You are right - Jews have always been a minority. The Lord has *never* promised us we'd be a majority, nor is it needed. Furthermore, Jewish religious practices (never trying to convert others) didn't promote large numbers.

It's not being a small people that concerns me. It's the loss of Jewish family values, which are such a vital part of Jewish identity.

You are right that Jews have had lots of impact throughout history - we are notorious for that. But making impact isn't necessarily positive. When the Lord told us to be a "light to other nations", the instruction was to be a living example of His Word. I highly doubt He meant it as being a "light" in the Gloria Steinem or Betty Friedan way.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Sammy,

Yes, if you are Jewish all your children will be Jewish. If you have daughters, their children will be Jewish as well, regardless of whom they marry. However, the preservation of Jewish identity is another matter entirely.

If you read the article I linked to (it's a long read, I know), you'll see that it touches on the issue of intermarriage. According to their statistics, "Nearly three-quarters of children raised in intermarried families go on to marry non-Jews themselves, and only 4 percent of these raise their own children as Jews."

I know right now you might be shaking your head and saying, "I'm not a statistic - they just didn't preserve enough. I can succeed where others failed."

My great-grandparents, like yours, were Orthodox. 6 of their grandchildren (my mother's generation) opted to marry non-Jews, or had children with non-Jews. How many of those great-grandchildren are in any degree observant, or even aware of their Jewish identity?

Just one.

The one sitting here in front of the screen and typing this down; of their seven children and dozen grandchildren - just one great-granddaughter who values her being Jewish and knows what it means.

My cousin, M., whose mother also intended to raise her as a Jew despite being married to a non-Jew, recently congratulated me on "becoming Jewish". You see, she's so far from knowing anything about Judaism that she doesn't even know it's a birthright for me. AND for her.

M. is about to marry a non-Jewish man. She and her children will be Jewish, but will know nothing about it unless a miracle happens.

Sammy, please know that in no way I intend to say anything personally against you and the choices you have made in life. In the past, I have been on the verge of intermarriage myself. You're right - sometimes we can't control our affections.

But we have full control over whom we marry. Sometimes, we'll opt out - even if we are very much in love - if we realize the reasons are good enough. The question is, which reasons are good enough? Statistics? Odds? Social pressure? Ultimately, no.

You say, "It saddens me when people are so strongly against intermarriage"; I used to feel the same way, before I realized it's not about "people".

It's all about the Word of God.

He clearly prohibits intermarriage (Deut. 7:3) - just as clearly as He prohibits homosexual relationships, idol worship, violation of the Shabbat, or eating non-kosher animals. Nothing you or I say can change what is written clearly in His Word.

For me, after I progressed in my Jewish studies, it was strikingly clear that my emotions, desires, affections and attractions couldn't change the least bit of what the Lord said in His message to us.

I could go on, but I'll stop here. Again, it was never in my intentions to offend you, personally. I wish you all the best, and do hope you succeed at raising your children with a sense of Jewish identity - at least enough to keep bridges from burning entirely.

I cannot, however, stop my heart from constantly aching over the pain of silent destruction brought on the Jewish community worldwide by intermarriage and resulting assimilation.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Michelle,

Any baby adopted by a Jewish couple from a non-Jewish mother wouldn't be considered Jewish, and would have to convert (at which age, I'm not sure).

I will have to assume the "difficulties" are in finding Jewish babies, because as far as I know, there's no lack of non-Jewish babies up for adoption.

Kate said...

Pendragon:

This is off-topic, but I'd be interested in seeing the source about levels of Jewish knowledge and observance among early-20th-c immigrants to the US, if you have the citation available.

(Anna, forgive me for distracting from your original post.)

Anonymous said...

I agree with others that feminism seems to be ingrained in many Jewish circles. This is true even in the ultra-Orthodox circles. While there are some Orthodox groups that are extremely patriarchal, forbidding women to drive (Hassidut Gur, for example) or to study for a degree, there are many more Orthodox groups where feminism is felt indirectly. No one there would ever admit to being a feminist (considered a nasty word), but the truth is the women are educated, work, earn money, and decide what it's spent on. Indeed, many support their husbands who learn Torah all day.

As for the guys who wrote you. It's true Jewish women, especially the secular, tend to be career-oriented, but there are always less ambitious girls around. Not everyone is cut out for a PHD or a fast-track career. And good Jewish men are sorely lacking in the marriage market. I think these guys just need to make themselves felt and seen in the community. Once an older lady or two gets hold of these guys and puts them on the matchmaking list there will be no end of offers.
Tammy

Mary said...

Anna, I respect your (well-considered) opinions, though I admit we will probably never see eye-to-eye on most key points of ideology.

As a soon-to-be Ph.D. graduate still in her 20s, however, I have to take issue with your characterization of women pursuing higher education as clinging to the single life, rapidly aging beyond their fertility, and resistant to childbearing/mothering/domesticity.
Nothing could be further from the truth in my experience -- most of the women in my department (as well as in most other departments I'm aware of) are married or partnered, and most either already have a child or two, have one during the program, or plan on having them right afterwards. I myself got married during my Ph.D. and am planning to have at least two children starting immediately after I'm finished, when I won't yet be 30.

I know the stereotype of the academic woman as dried-up, obsessive, uni-dimensional spinster is attractive, especially when one feels so strongly that women are called in a different direction, but it really isn't fair or accurate.

Anonymous said...

Babies who are adopted by Jewish parents are usually converted at the time of adoption. They are raised as Jews. It is not a regular conversion, though, and the children are given the choice whether to continue as Jews or rescind the conversion at the age of adulthood.

Adoption is much more popular in the secular and the modern Orthodox world than in the closed ultra-Orthodox world, where it poses too many Halachic problems for them.

It is very difficult to find a healthy baby up for adoption, Jewish or non Jewish. The waiting list can be five to ten years. That's why people go to the ends of the world.


Tammy

Miss Amy Smarty said...

The idea of only believing people are Jewish because their mother is, is sort of strange to me. Is that in the scriptures somewhere?


It's true, our idea of a "Jewish woman" over here in America is of a loud feminist woman from New York...a liberal democrat who probably voted for Teddy Kennedy at some point. I know it's a stereotype, but it's what most famous American Jewish women have been over here that we've seen/heard on the news.

I wasn't aware that Jewish meant "non-Caucasian". I know that's ridiculous of me, but it never occurred to me. I guess since I live in the South (Texas) I never understood the stories about anti-Jewish prejudice in the North I've heard of, because Jewish people didn't look any different to me than another other white person. I guess maybe it's because we don't have a large population of Jews here in Texas? I don't know. They just never looked any different to me!

Mrs. Anna T said...

Mary: perhaps the situation is different for you and your department; I'm discussing trends here.

Good for you for giving family values a high priority. However, statistically, the more years a woman invests in higher education, the later she will marry and bear children, and the fewer children she will have. It's common sense.

Some do not even realize the consequences before it's too late; I know women who say "I will have children as soon as I'm finished with my degree, and then work only part-time so I can spent more time with them while they are little." At the same time they opt for degrees who won't end before they are 30, and will leave them with HUGE amounts of debt in student loans. Having to pay off those loans means they will either delay having children, or have to work very long hours while their children are very young. It's possible to acquire a degree without loans - I did, and hopefully so did you, but so many women don't think realistically about exactly how and when they will return their student loans. It may become a burden on family financies for long years after the degree is completed.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Amy: matrilineal descent is part of the Oral Law based on Deuteronomy 7:3.

There's no reason you should recognize someone as a Jew based on his or her looks, unless they are very very traditionally dressed, or at least the man is wearing a kippa.

Also, not all Jews are white. There are Yemenite Jews, Indian Jews, and Ethiopian Jews - whom, again, you won't recognize as Jews unless the men have their kippas on their head and not in their pocket.

Anonymous said...

Anna,

This isn't exactly related to the subject at hand, but do you regret going to college?

Anonymous said...

Kate,

The place where I read the statistic about most Jewish immigrants circa 1900 being secular was in a book called Judaism Beyond God: A Radical New Way to Be Jewish by Sherwin Wine. Unfortunately, I don't have the book with me so I can't tell the source of Rabbi Wine's information. I should note his book came out in 1985, but I assume the info. is still good. I will look up his citation when I get home tonight and get back to you.

-- Pendragon

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anna that statistically the more educated a woman is, the later she marries, and the fewer kids she has.
On the other hand, as someone who has spent far too many years at universities, I must corroborate with Mary. Most of the women professors I knew did ultimately marry and have kids, and some even did it young. So I'm sure the statistics are accurate, but there are countless exceptions.

And I return to the young Jewish men who wrote you. Lots of Jewish women are on the career track, but the fact is that in most US and Canadian Jewish communities it is also quite common to be a stay at home mom for several years, especially among the better off. The suburbs are full of them. I personally know many women both in the US and in Israel who would love to escape the rat race and spend a few years at home pampering their children. I really don't think these men have looked hard enough. Trust me, not all Jewish women are doctors!!

Tammy

Mrs. Anna T said...

Anon: do I regret going to college? No, not really, due to two major circumstances: one, I continued to live at home; and two, I was careful to pay off my degree by the time I was finished. I finished without loans. So I avoided the two biggest falls of college: campus life and dragging student loans.

I managed to navigate my way through negative influences, and find positive ones. I also learned many things that will be useful to me as a wife and mother (although they could be learned not only via traditional college system).

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe that there are large numbers of women who take on graduate studies and large student loans yet "do not even realize the consequences before it's too late . . . "

I think it is pretty much impossible for any woman not to consider the issue of decreased fertility after the 20s. The media has been blaring this since I was a little girl. Those of us who postpone childbearing are perfectly aware of the risk of not having biological children of our own, and also the risk of not having any children.

But we make these choices because it is worth the risk. The vast majority of us do get married and having children. And many of us who don't have no regrets. If some of us do have regrets, well, that's life. I also know plenty of women who regret marrying and having children young.

May said...

Mrs Anna T, I am delurking to ask about your views on conversion and whether it is an acceptable solution to the problem of marrying out. I apologise for the length of my comment.

I have a very good then-Gentile friend who fell in love with a Jewish man, who regarded himself as Orthodox, although from what I can tell not quite as observant as you and your husband. They tried several times to split up, because he didn't want to marry out, but always ended up getting back together.

Finally, after nearly 10 years of this to and fro, he asked whether she would consider conversion and was quite surprised when she said that she would, but that she had always thought that it might not be good enough for him. For his part, he said that he always thought that this was far too much to ever ask her to consider, hence his surprise when she said that she would.

So she went to classes at the local shul and eventually after a few years (because it takes ages to convert), she converted. His family welcomed her conversion, they then married and now have two lovely children.

However, her conversion was Reform as the local shul was Reform. She tells me that an Orthodox family wouldn't regard this as one that "counts".

I thought that this was a trifle unfair since it seems to me that she made a huge effort and that, importantly, she considers herself and her family to be Jewish.

She learned Hebrew and spent years going to conversion classes and then married in the Jewish faith and is committed to raising their children with a Jewish identity and faith. She and her husband participate in activities at the local shul and take an active part in helping to run it. I have the sense that she is as observant as her husband wants them to be, although doubtless they would say that it is a mutual decision.

In the end, my friends married in their early 30's. Had her husband asked her to convert before he did, I feel sure that they would have married in their mid-20's.

Whilst I note from what you say that Jews do not actively seek to convert potential partners (and that certainly Jews are under no biblical injunction to do so), I wonder whether maybe a more proactive and welcoming attitude to considering conversion would be better in the longer run?

It could assist with both the loss of population caused by marrying out and in promoting the enthusiastic adoption and maintenance of a Jewish identity, respectively by convertees and their spouses.

I note that Aish UK (the American version of which published the article that you quoted) is as worried by the fact that many British Jewish marriages do not produce children who want or aspire to be "Jewish" (in the sense of being proud of their Jewish identity and dedicated to living an observant Jewish life), as by the fact that marrying out in itself remains an issue for the British Jewish community. If a person converts, having made that commitment as a mature adult and with the goal of having a Jewish family, surely that is something to be valued?

What do you think? Is conversion a solution? Does it matter how you convert and which form your conversion takes, bearing in mind that a person could start off in a particular way and become more observant as time moved on and that many people who are born Jews are considerably less observant than my friends?

As you will no doubt have gathered from my enquiry, I am not Jewish so I ask, first, to find out what a strictly observant Orthodox Jew thinks of the question and secondly, because unlike many bloggers you express your opinions in considered, reflective and respectful language. (It is suprising how many do not!)

Although I have a number of Jewish friends and acquaintances, including some who are Orthodox, none of them are as strictly observant as you are. I trust that you will appreciate therefore that my intention in asking these questions is to seek information and understanding, rather than to be needlessly contentious.

Thank you very much for considering my question.

november said...

This is really disturbing. To know that there are godly men looking for equally devout wives without gain is very indicative of our times.

As a 30-something unmarried Catholic (who desires to marry Catholic) with few of my kind, well, at least single ones, in my area, I am now entertaining the possibility of exploring non-traditional avenues, such as online dating sites as you mentioned. I've been warned though that I should limit my search to specifically Catholic sites so as to increase the likelihood of finding a suitable match; but even then, I've been told, one still might get a lot of casual observers.

MarkyMark said...

To Mary & the Other Ladies,

One reason why educated women marry later and have fewer kids comes down to opportunity cost. This isn't the only reason, but it hit me as I was reading this post and the comments that this is certainly one of the reasons why.

Opportunity cost is a term from economics. Economics is about the allocation of scare resources, one of which is money. Since money and resources are finite, since there's only so much to go around, this means that certain expenditures will have to be sacrificed. To put it another way, the dollars I spend on X are dollars that I cannot spend on Y or Z. What does THAT have to do with anything?

The concept of opportunity cost also applies to the personal realm. It applies not only in the financial or economic sense; it also applies to another finite resource-time. For example, if I spend the afternoon on a motorcycle ride, that is time that I cannot spend kayaking; that is time that I cannot spend reading a book; that is time I cannot spend doing anything else. I have sacrificed the OPPORTUNITY to do other things since I went on the motorcycle ride.

The concept of opportunity cost also applies to longer term endeavors, such was marriage & family vs. education. If one spends years attaining a Ph.D, that is time one cannot spend dating; that is time one cannot spend getting married; that is time one cannot spend having children, nor is it time one cannot spend raising them. When one has to dedicate the lion's share of each day to studies and work, how much time is left over for any other activity? How much energy will you have at the end of the day? I don't know about anyone else, but I wouldn't have much of either. So, since a woman spends a lot of time in school and on her career, this is time an energy that cannot be expended on finding someone, cultivating a relationship, getting married, etc.

Secondly, the dirty little secret is this: a woman's fertility peaks between 20-24. By the time a woman is 35-39, her fertility has dropped between 25%-50%. Those numbers are courtesy of the Mayo Clinic, one of the most prestigious medical organizations in the world; if they weigh in on anything medically related, you can bank on them being right. Ah, but you never hear the feminists or their media stooges TELLING us this now, do you? To hear the feminists tell it, you can have a kid anytime-wrong!

What does this mean in practical terms? if a girl goes straight to college after high school (often called secondary school in other nations), and spends four years at college or university, that means she's 22. If she pursues even a masters degree, she's already 25 or so-past her peak fertility!

Ah, but there's yet ANOTHER fly in the ointment here: to wit, unlike most other endeavors, none of us can control where, when, or how we'll meet someone who's relationship material, let ALONE be marriage material-ouch! I can decide that, if it's nice out next Saturday, that I'll go on a motorcycle ride. I cannot decide that I'll meet someone on Saturday though. That is TOTALLY out of our hands, and we all know it.

Now, if our young lady in question decides to pursue a high powered career or Ph. D after her masters, well, she's in her 30s by now. According to the Mayo Clinic, if she's 35-39, then her fertility is well on its way to expiring by the time she gets around to dating, marrying, and having children.

If she's 35, it'll take the better part of a year for the relationship to progress to the point of marriage-ASSUMING SHE MEETS SOMEONE QUICKLY! By the time she's married, she's 36 or so, and her fertility window is closing fast. They say it takes the average couple eight months to get pregnant. By the time the baby's born, and mom's recovered from the hospital, she's pushing 37. Please remember that this is just to get to the point of having one child-one!

So, what do we have here? We have perfect storm of sorts. We have a woman squandering her best years in pursuit of education and career; this is time that cannot be spent doing other things, such as finding a husband, getting married, or having children. By the time she does get around to doing these things, she's older, and her fertility window is closing fast. By the time our woman is ready to have children, she's: 1) not as able to do so (declining fertility); 2) doesn't have as much TIME in which to do so. It stands to reason that, by virtue of this double whammy, that a more educated woman will have fewer children, and she'll have them later. Can we expect any other outcome? I don't think so.

In closing, opportunity cost is a major reason why educated women have fewer children later. Their best years for having children, 20-24 years of age, were spent in pursuit of education and career. That means that, by the time she's ready to have children, that her fertility will be dropping, which in turn means that she'll have fewer children.

MarkyMark

Anonymous said...

Would you only recommend online dating services to men, or do you think it is okay for women to search there too?

Marste said...

Anna,

I haven't got any insight to the issues you raise (which is why I read your blog faithfully - one should always welcome new opportunities to learn!), but for the gentlemen who have written to you, there is a Jewish online dating site here in the US called "JDate," that is specifically marketed to the Jewish community and I BELIEVE (I could be wrong, this is second-hand info, as I am not Jewish) one of the things you can "select" for in your search is the level of Orthodoxy in the other party.

Thanks again for a wonderful blog that gives me so much insight and education in so many ways!

Aelwyn said...

I think it has more to do with secularism than ethnicity or culture. Yes, Judaism highly prizes education, so that is probably a factor. But as a goy =), I notice that those non-Jewish people I know who are more secular, or who separate their religious beliefs from their daily decisions, are more likely to be more feminist. Part of my definition of feminist would be a career centered attitude as well as an emphasis on "self fulfillment" as opposed to interdependence that a family represents. My in-laws are, for the most part, secular Jews. They have a very hard time understanding the importance my husband and I place on raising our child within our Christian beliefs (my husband is a convert) as well as our desire towards a traditional family. I think part of it is the difference in economic status that traditional families may experience when confronted with families where two people are career focused. I think that when we don't care what God thinks about how we are doing things, we tend to focus more on being an individual than on being a family.

Mrs. Anna T said...

May,

Conversion has always been an acceptable option. However, we should be very very careful NOT to see it as a "solution" to marrying out. It's an option for those few individuals who feel a desire to join the Jewish people - a desire not dependent on marriage or other personal circumstances, but purely a matter of faith.

Could it be that a person is first introduced to Judaism through a potential marriage partner, and then finds it's actually his or her genuine path? Yes, it might happen. In this case, the sincerity of the potential convert can be tested by one simple question (provided that it's answered honestly, of course): would you still want to convert *for your own sake*, if your future marriage was cancelled? If the conversion depends on marriage alone, then I guess it isn't sincere and that's NOT what we want! Diluting our general level of observance by bringing in half-hearted converts for the sake of having them "nominally" Jewish before they marry won't solve anything.

Certainly, the question of whether conversion is an acceptable option or not should have been raised much, much earlier in the case of the couple you mentioned! There's no reason to waste so many years dillydalling.

For the record, I know a few wonderful Jewish converts, or people in the process of conversion, whose sincerity I would never doubt. All of them have one thing in common: their conversion has/had nothing to do with marriage. They either converted before they had any marriage plans, or converted/are converting together with their spouse.

Your friend is right in saying that Orthodox Judaism does NOT accept a Reform conversion. However, this has nothing do with what an Orthodox family would say, how much time she spent on conversion, or how sincere her intentions were. It has everything to do with the *substance* of conversion, if I may say so.

To accept an individual as a Jew, he or she must prove, through diligent studies, that he or she accepts the Torah, with both written and oral instruction, and is committed to obeying it. Obviously, a conversion authorized by religious "leaders" who are not committed to observing *every single word of the Torah* themselves, who dare to challenge it, cannot be considered valid.

A "Jewish" movement which strives to "achieve the fuller acceptance of gay and lesbian Jews in our midst", in order to "respond to the communal and spiritual aspirations of gay and lesbian Jews" cannot be counted upon in the matters of trustworthy conversion! Especially not when "all rabbis, regardless of sexual orientation, be accorded the opportunity to fulfill the sacred vocation that they have chosen."

Furthermore: "kedushah (sanctity) may be present in committed same gender relationships between two Jews and that these relationships can serve as the foundation of stable Jewish families, thus adding strength to the Jewish community."

Sanctity and strength to the Jewish community - from what is clearly stated as abomination in the eyes of the Lord!!!! I'll stop right here. I don't want this discussion to go in the direction of Reform-bashing. And it will inevitably go there, without me even having to say anything - all I need to do is simply quote, quote and quote from the Reform Jewish Statement on Homosexuality.

Of course as you can imagine, it doesn't end with homosexuality. I could find equally infuriating quotes about observing Shabbat "in your own individual way" and not how we are commanded. To sum it up: conversion to Judaism is NOT acceptable unless done in a way that presents the Torah as One, irrevocable, unsplittable, unchangeable LAW!!

Of course, as you say, a person MIGHT become more observant as time moves on. I have a friend who first had a non-Orthodox conversion, and then later a proper Orthodox one. It's also true that many Jews are, in fact, secular, and know less about Judaism than Reform converts. However, conversion cannot be granted on the basis of any of that! It should only happen when an individual is completely and truly committed to full Torah observance. Yes, there may be failures. But we aim for full committment.

We should be doubly careful because there's no "opting out" - once a Jew, always a Jew, no matter if you are born Jewish or you are a convert. Judaism simply doesn't acknowledge "converting out of Judaism"... it's a lifetime commitment and cannot be taken lightly.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Marste - JDate is active in Israel as well. I would rather recommend specifically Orthodox-targeted sites, though.

Anon - I believe it's perfectly acceptable for women to place their profiles on online dating websites, though I still think it's better if first initiative towards getting to know each other is taken by men.

Mary said...

Markymark, I wonder whether you even read my comment. If you had, you'd see that it's manifestly untrue to claim that a woman cannot pursue both a Ph.D. and a home life, whatever economic laws may say -- I'm living proof, as are 90% of the women I know in academia. People tend to begin the Ph.D. in their early 20s, in fact, not their mid-30s, unless they've spent some time working (or having children, or both!) first. There is no law to say you can't date during the Ph.D.; many people even find suitable mates among their peers. And I know many women who had kids mid-degree and found that the flexibility of their dissertation work fit in quite well with the demands of childcare.

To reiterate: I'm in my mid-twenties, married, and planning on having both a Ph.D. and children before 30. Not only can it be done, I've seen it done many times. I'm doing it now.

Busy with school does not equal incapable of having a full, well-rounded life. A decreasing fertility rate does not equal zero fertility. I think you'll find that economic science is useful for describing economic systems, but its laws very, very rarely apply to human beings.

Andrea said...

"Any baby adopted by a Jewish couple from a non-Jewish mother wouldn't be considered Jewish, and would have to convert (at which age, I'm not sure)."

Anna, to expand on what Tammy has already said, this can be done in infancy on the child's behalf (although I believe most rabbis prefer to wait until the immersion of the child in the mivkah will not pose a risk the baby) and follows a process nearly identical to the conversion of an adult; if the child adopted is of age (thirteen or above) the conversion needs to follow the normal pattern, but children from infancy to twelve years of age can be converted by their adoptive parents' agreement to observe all 613 mitzvahs on behalf of the child until he or she becomes bar or bat mitzvah (the circumcision for the male and the mivkah remain the same). Rabbis warn parents to beware of anyone who offers to perform a "conversion" ceremony for a child that covers only the circumcision and mivkah but omits the obligation to perform the commandments, because of course such a conversion would be invalid.

As Tammy says, a converted child who becomes bar or bat mitzvah has the opportunity on coming of age to renounce the conversion performed on his/her behalf. his is why coming of age takes on special significance for children adopted by Jewish parents, because it gives them the opportunity to publicly affirm the conversion first initiated by their parents when they were too young to understand the full significance.

I did follow one adoption blog of a Jewish couple who converted their Russian-adopted children (one and two years of age at the time of their adoption) but it's since become password-protected, so I cannot link you. It was extremely informative, though, and I found the topic so fascinating that I've been researching it for a while now.

http://www.ujc.org/page.aspx?id=24757

The above article not only touches on the topic you mentioned (delay of marriage leading to declining fertility) but also examines what this means for adoption within the Jewish community, and examines the problems that Jewish adoption can present for the parents and children involved. You will notice that Rabbi Gold indicates that orthodox rabbis do condone conversion of very young adopted children, they simply are more strict in the requirements made of the adoptive parents and of the converted children.

Analytical Adam said...

I have a number of comments to make. First of all I really feel these numbers (Orthodox birthrates) are misleading. I read similar stuff 15 years ago and I really wonder who they ask. I was never surveryed and I grew up Orthodox and I associate more with Orthodoxy then other branches although I don't agree with Orthodoxy 100% of the time but I agree with them overall much more so then the other branches. THe problem is if it was true Orthodoxy would outnumber the other branches and become larger and that just hasn't happened. They represent only 15% (Orthodoxy does) of Jews and that is about the same numbers about 15 years ago.

I also have heard that in Israel far more women are involved in Orthodox Judaism then men are. (Same problem in America. It is a problem with Churches as well)
Many of the men who I do see get married though are very passive types which could only work for so many people and isn't good for Judasim for children if you have fathers that are very passive and nebesh types.
IN regards to feminism and Judaism I suspect it has more to do with Rabbinic Judaism more then anything else. In exile I think Judaism competed with Chrisitianity who is more PRO WOMEN but they didn't care how it affected rank and file Jewish men. I heard on You Tube John Hagee saying that Christianity has more compassion then Judaism towards women this case with the women comiting adultry and Jesus saying you should have mercy on her. Of course in Judaism the punishment is the same whether a man or woman commits adultry (which it should be consistant) but Rabbinic Judaism has always made women to be the victim (I think they were affected by the culture around them ) even when clearly they are the one's who are the first to act wrongly in some cases.

As someone else posted here they married a nonjewish man and their kid is Jewish even though they have NO MALE JEWISH INFLUENCE and make it harder for Jewish men by marrying a nonjewish man. I feel Orthodoxy should close this loophole (this was passed at a time where polygomy was allowed regarding men intermarrying and as I said I think they were affected by other cultures that make women to always be victims) and as someone who works I see Jewish women marrying nonjewish men knowing their kid will be Jewish and I really feel it is a slap in the face to Jewish men and they are hurting Jewish men by what they are doing because there is a fairly equal ratio of men to women so who the heck are the men suppose to marry and if their kid wasn't automatically Jewish they wouldn't do it and I see it brothers from the same family who can't get married. And many Rabbi's are vicious to men who intermarry but have compassion on women who do the same thing and it is terrible and not right. And it gives the impression that fathers are meaningless and of course just as the Muslim faith allowing men to marry nonmuslims creates contempt for women I think allowing women to marry nonjewish men creates contempt for men and does lead to an overly feminized Judaism as children only need a Jewish mother but not a Jewish father (or a immoral man that makes a lot of money is suitable for many women becaue they are taught fathers don't matter or a man that doesn't work and a snorer is OK too) which is contrary by the way to passage in the Torah telling parents to NOT GIVE EITHER THEIR SONS OR DAUGHTERS to certain nations. It wasn't JUST MEN OR WOMEN. Israel by the way in this area if you are 1/4 Jewish (from any side) you are considered Jewish from what I understand and I really think this is an area the Orthodox world should change. There should be no difference if a man or a woman marries outside the faith especially since in Israel they aren't following it anyway.

These are just a few examples of how Rabbinic Judaism has been feminized as some Christains have said out about their own religon ( I have read some of the Ladies Against Feminism articles) as they feel in the middle ages Christianity was overly feminized with the church leaders taking the place of fathers and demasculizing other men and there may be some crossover. It is easy to blame liberal elements but I am so frustrated I am 35 and Jewish and single and most single events (Orthodox ones) they are always puting down men as a group and of course if men are inheritely bad the only good man is a very untalented man which again feminizes Judaism. And I know there are a lot of singles in Orthodoxy today which also leads me to question this survey on birth rates. Did they only ask married Orthodox women? I;m sorry if I jumped around a little I just had a lot to say on this issue from my own experience growing up in an Orthodox home that I wasn't treated well and most religious leaders don't care much for boys being mistreated and I see men being put down all the time in the Orthodox world in the US in Orthodox shules. Rabbi's deserve respect. Women deserve respect. But rank and file Jewish men sadly never are given credit which they shold be given credit when credit is due.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Adam,

A few clarifications: you said something about Israel ("if you are 1/4 Jewish (from any side) you are considered Jewish") that might imply Israel has a different definition of being Jewish... which isn't true of course!

What you said applies to the Law of Return: a person who has a Jewish parent or grandparent (no matter from which side), may obtain an Israeli citizenship. This caused a HUGE problem in the 90's, when many non-Jewish descendants of intermarried families came to Israel from the former USSR.

However, these people are NOT recognized as Jews by rabbinical courts. They cannot get married by a Jewish ceremony, be buried in a Jewish cemetery, etc. The Rabbinical court is VERY careful about people who weren't born in Israel and want to get married - I know what I'm talking about, I stood there a few months ago. The only thing they were interested in was to see whether my maternal grandmother (and therefore, my mother) is Jewish. My father's identity is unknown, and since the default assumption was that he isn't Jewish, it was stated in my documents that I cannot marry a Cohen - which I knew beforehand, and avoided any potential suitor who's a Cohen.

So the bottom line: in Israel or not, you are Jewish if your mother is. The secular Law of Return has nothing to do with the Jewish Law!!

You said intermarriage is prohibited for men as well as women. Of course you are right! Some women (including one commenter here in this thread) say, "who cares, my kids will be Jewish regardless whom I marry".

They are fooling themselves.

The odds of keeping a somewhat Jewish home and educating the children as Jews, while being married to a Gentile, are close to zero - the prevalent mass culture is NOT Jewish, and it takes both parents to build a Jewish home.

If a Jewish woman marries a non-Jew, most likely her children will only be nominally Jewish, and her grandchildren probably won't be Jewish at all.

Andrea said...

Hmm, I see I managed to cleverly transpose the k and the v in every spelling of mikvah in my post above. Goodness, I need some sleep!

Analytical Adam said...

Thanks for your response Mrs. Anna. I just want to say a few things. There are people who are partially Jewish and really relate to the Jewish people who don't convert because the conversion process they make more difficult then it should be because many Rabbi's have poor interpersonal skills especially towards other men but towards women as well that may share different views (I heard about a recent case Rabbi's in Israel where they invalidated women who converted.Do they only convert women that they were ALL WOMEN?). I know of a woman converted where only the father was Jewish and she was raised mostly Jewish and she told me the Rabbi's taught her that men don't want to have children according to our religon. Just what I need to hear I have always wanting to have children although I don't have much control of it but this being the case (Rabbi's puting down men when converting women) men are afraid to deal with some of the Rabbi's if they were in the same situation where their father was Jewish and they sincerely want to convert. Not all children from intermarried familes are unpracticing and we should HOPE THEY DO PRACTICE IT. I understand it made it easier for you that you didn't have to convert but I really feel that the Rabbi's ignoring this (women intermarrying with really no consequences) are hurting rank and file men and they should close this loophole going forward but at the same time be a little more tolerant of children who by no fault of their own are the children of a mixed marriage. Some of the Rabbi's will have to answer for their intolerance towards children where part of their ancestors are Jewish and it isn't their fault their parents intermarried and they treated them as complete strangers. It goes against the whole spirit of the torah and the whole reason for observing parts of the torah is because our ancestors were in certain situations that the G-d of Israel saved them. Deutoronomy 7:3 is as clear as can be that it makes no diference between a son or a daughter intermarrying. Many Rabbi's do IGNORE the issue and pretend only men intermarry and only condemm men for this and they refuse to study the issue and just rely on their own dogma. They know the truth and pretend women never intermarry which is different then the reason you are giving but the reason you give is all the more reason they should also have to convert (that they are only nominally Jewish) just like if men intermarry. If they are Jewish and don't practice the religon or distort the religon that is exactly why they should not be automatically Jewish. This is a classic area where Rabbi's have adopted the marxist feminist type atitude where they feel they need to protect Jewish women from Jewish men but don't protect Jewish men from inappropriate behavior of Jewish women and rank and file Jewish men be dammed which the Rabbi's don't mind making life more dificult for rank and file men while making women look up to the Rabbi more at my and other rank and file men's expense. I would hope you defend rank and file men when well connected Rabbi's really don't care about their needs. My whole life Rabbi's have never helped me when I have been mistreated by my family by my mother (who didn't allow me to read growing up and called me vicious names and I found vicious feminist books that said it is ok to abuse during certain times of the month becaues men control everything during certain parts of the month and my Rabbi REFUSED TO HELP ME and told me to GET OVER IT I have had the same experience over and over again) and by my father (who didn't like my tempermant and compared me to other relatives). That is why I no longer just agree with them on some of these male-female issues that are purely Rabbinic in nature and to be honest with you Moses (who received messages from G-d) did make adjustments based on feedback from Yitro and the Bnot Zelaphchad. If that is true in the time of Moshe who had direct communication with G-d certainlly that should be true today but while Rabbi's are more knowledgable then I am in issues of Kosher and Shabbos many have very poor interpersonal skills (they think the torah absolves them from the normal give and take of human relations and they are sadly distoring the torah) and dealing with male-female issues and Jew-nonjew issues and feminism is one of the end results of their poor interpersonal skills that they overidealize other women while puting down other men and even blaming them when they are the victim and close their eyes and ears and pretend that in every case the man is the bad guy and the woman is the good guy except of course for them. I have lived long enough to know that that is not always the case although there are some cases like that but not all. Sometimes women are the instigator's. The level of Misandry to rank and file Jewish men that I have witnessed in Orthodox Judaism in the United States is just terrible and I pray it isn't the same way in Israel although I suspect it is a serious problem as well.

Anonymous said...

There has been much talk here of PHDs, and whether or not a woman can pursue one and have a family at the same time.
In truth, the academic world is one of the most comfortable fields for a women to build a career. Many studies have been done on this, by the way. The hours in academia are usually very flexible, and much work can be done at home. The vacations and semester breaks are long.

A woman with energy and dedication can complete a PHD and marry/have a child. The upper echelons of academia are much more demanding, or course, which is why fewer women choose to go there. But being a regular lecturer at college is often more family friendly than working at hi-tech or law.
Tammy

Mrs. Anna T said...

Adam,

I don't want to appear as though I'm nit-picking, but there are a few points I simply must comment on.

You said: "There are people who are partially Jewish..."

There's no such thing as "partially Jewish"! Either you are Jewish or you are not.

"... and really relate to the Jewish people who don't convert because the conversion process they make more difficult than it should be."

The conversion process is *supposed* to be difficult - for everyone. How else will we avoid potentially uncommitted converts?! Now lack of compassion, that's another thing, and that depends on everyone's personal experience I guess.

"If they are Jewish and don't practice the religon or distort the religon that is exactly why they should not be automatically Jewish."

But that's just the point, you know? There's no such thing as "backing out" of being Jewish. A Jew is a Jew is a Jew - forever!! Even if he renounces anything Judaism-related and joins the Hare Krishna! That's precisely why I ache so for all those lost souls. If they could just "become non-Jewish", why, we have nothing against non-Jews, let them be...

I'm sorry your experience with Orthodox rabbis has been so ungratifying, to put it mildly. I suppose there is some cultural/local influence, though I'm not sure to which degree. It seems things are better here in Israel, though often I feel we are in trouble too regarding "modern" Orthodox rabbis catering to women's whims. One rabbi, for example, proclaimed not so long ago that artificial insemination might be an acceptable option for a childless woman at the end of her fertility years! So much for promoting Jewish family values...

Anonymous said...

Let's not get carried away here. Orthodox Judaism is still, by and large, a patriarchal entity. Just go to the nearest rabbbinic court to find out. Do you know how difficult it is for a woman to divorce her husband if he's not interested? Do you know how easy it is for him to do so in the reverse situation? Indeed, if a man's wife refuses to divorce him and the rabbbis fail to convince her over the course of a long period, the man can get persmission to get married to someone else anyway. Needless to say, no such liberty exists for women and there are thousands of women hanging on a limb, married in name only. Their husbands either refuse to divorce them or have disappeared in order to avoid the divorce courts. This is just one example. The rabbinic courts in Israel are also infamous for favoring men in child support cases and other issues.

It's actually natural for the rabbinic courts to favor men, since they are run by men. Most women in Israel prefer to complete as much of the divorce proceedings as possible in civil court for these reasons (such as separation of property).
Tammy

Lady Violet said...

I have a question but I would prefer to ask in private. I will be sending you an email titled "Question for You". I quite enjoyed this post.

Analytical Adam said...

It sounds like you feel that having male leaders is a problem and rank and file and men should be punished for having only Male Rabbi's and I am sorry to tell you but you are incorrect. The leaders are all men that is true but in terms of participation in Orthodoxy a larger number of women then men participate. (It is true in chucrches as well. 61% who attend churches are female while the population is 51% female. It is true in Judaism that more women attend then men and I have heard over and over again from women there aren't enough men in the community and I see it myself both quality and quantity that women overall seem happier and have more of their needs met then the men do. Go to any shul and see who participates more and who are overall happier. )Furthermore, you never hear about divorced men because most of them leave Orthodoxy while divorce women do not. I don't think you have ever heard the man's side of the story and some of the horrible things that have been done to fathers. Most Rabbi's do side with mothers unless the man is VERY WEALTHY and contributes a lot or has some connections which is a small percentage. The whole divorce thing is very much part of the feminst movement and women wanting to divorce the man WHENEVER SHE WANTS and wanting his money even though the women is violating the marriage contract and actually should compensate the man and most Rabbi's have given in to women wanting to divorce whenever they want and some women are not satisfied because it still isn't fast enough for them. You don't hear the man's side of the story and if you did you would see that overall the Rabbi's actually do side much more with the women then they do with the men in MOST CASES although there are some exceptions. Rabbi's want to save dasmal's in distress but the problem is OTHER JEWISH MEN ARE NOT THE ENEMY. I have had VERY FEW POSITIVE EXPERIENCES WITH RABBI'S and they have allowed my family to treat me like a piece of garbage and actually some have said I should go on medication and my parents have tried to force me on medication even though the one docotr I did see said no. My parents would shop endlessness to find a doctor to put me on psychiatric medication. THESE RABBI'S OPENLY ALLOW MY MOTHER TO BELIEVE THIS FEMINST GARBAGE AND DON'T CARE that it effects the way she treats me. I certainlly don't think ALL MEN STICK TOGETHER TO KEEP WOMEN DOWN. THat is pure feminst propoganda. Yes they may stick together as Rabbi's but they don't treat rank and file men very well and view OTHER MEN WHO MAY NOT AGREE WITH THEM ON ALL ISSUES AS MORE OF A THREAT THEN WOMEN.The biggest lie of feminism is that all MEN STICK TOGETHER TO OPPRESS WOMEN. Any women who reads history knows that is not true and regardless that does not make it OK to allow women to marry nonjews and if the Rabbi's were less feminist oriented they would themselves come to the same conclusions that there needs to be consequences if women marry nonjews just as there is with men and for anyone to say well because the community is sexist in other ways (which may be true in some cases) therefore we let men at the lower end who are most hurt by women marrying outside the faith we punish them.

Analytical Adam said...

Well Mrs. Anna. I'm sure you know Feminism has different problem in Modern Orthodox circles then Ultra Orthodox circles (in Ultra Orthodox circles men are discouraged from working and the women becomes the primary bread winner and the Ultra Orthodox want the gov't to have laws that favor women in the workplace which raises taxes and leads to more feminism) I just wanted to give a few examples of why I really feel (and hopefully at some point Rabbi's if they were less feminist oriented would reach the same conclusion) that both parents should be Jewish (and the loophole for Jewish women marrying nonjews should be closed as soon as possible) and if not the child is not Jewish but can convert if they so desire and are sincere. I do feel it is bad for Judaism to have children that there only connection to Judaism is through a mother. They likely will lead to negativity towards men and not understanding men and fathers in addition to possibly having bad influences from a nonjewish father. Maybe they would be a few exception (maybe a few on the men side as well) but that is it. If we really want to protect ourselves it should be both ways. It is amazing that we have more distrust of Jewish men then nonjewish men when you start analyzing this that we see nothing wrong with a women marrying a nonjew man or the possible consequences if the children find an Orthodox Rabbi who has to have compassion to them and Rabbi's openly say this without anyout any coveats which I will never understand other then they like to pander to women.

Example 1:On the site Frum Community this Rabbi David Lapin started by having an article claiming that in 20 years Orthodox men he thinks will intermarry. He did this based on asking the questions. I find it hurtful but he didn't ask women. We need to know their atitudes as well don't you think. If 5% of men are thinking of intermarrying is the percent of women the same or not. Many Rabbi's don't want to know their atitudes sadly which is not fair to the men. Maybe the men are reacting because they see Jewish women are interested in Orthodox men.

Example 2: I went to a single event and this women was sayihng women are 6 times better then men and women wouuld never intermarry and obviously she felt men would.
It is bad for women as well that I have seen many young women go off the derech because the refuses to believe that women can EVEN GO OFF THE DERECH and only men can. And in this age of feminism and rampant abortion and rampant materialism women of course go off the derech as well and of course the snake in the story of Adam and Eve actually started with the woman and not the man which I know is very Politically Incorrect but the story shows that in some cases our enemies first focus on getting the women off the derech.

Thirdly, many of the articles on this issue are intellectually dishonest and in your face. Any thing that favors men (and in a few cases I don't know if I agree) but nevertheless Rabbi's are very sensitive about. They aren't when it is favoring women and many make this issue out as bigger then what it is and unique to Judaism which it really isn't. Many societies your religon is passed on by who your parents are. Doing it through the mother may be unique but that is only because Rabbi's want to prevent men from marrying nonjewish women and they made this decree when Jews were going into exile. They should do the same for women so that men are not hurt by women who marry outside the faith and also children need a Jewish father just as much as they need a Jewish mother. I pray for the day that Rabbi's where a person will only be Jewish if BOTH parents are Jewish and in cases where ONE of the parents are Jewish we make a larger attempt to see if the person is sincere about Judaism then someone who has no ancestors of the Jewish faith. In other generations some well known Rabbi's were more sensitive to this issue (of children of intermarriage who are not Halachically Jewish) then some Rabbi's are today sadly. Since I have been negative on Rabbi's I did want to say something positive that there here is a link from Arutz Sheva about Rabbi's being concerned about discrimination towards fathers and how easy it is to remove a father from a home and I give the Rabbi's credit for caring about fathers who are mistreated. Which is another thing many Rabbi's I think get money from gov't feminist groups that support favoritism towards women at the expense of men while not given the men a break in a different area to be fair which to only favor women is not good for male-female relations. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/123940

Analytical Adam said...

I just wanted to add that I do want to correct my connect because many children who've mother is Jewish and father isn't do consider them Jewish and many of them hurt the Jewish people to a very large extent. It isn't just this. IN general Rabbinic Judaism rarely holds women responsible for anything and blames men for everything. I don't blame the women as much as I blame our relgious leaders that for the most part let women do what they want and it hurts decent women to allow these things as some women wouldn't do them if they were consequences to their actions. As someone who works for a living Jewish women are overall are extremely arrogant more so then nonjewish women and are always focused on feminism and I am sure some of them don't have a Jewish father and it shouldn't suprise anyone that allowing this would lead to Judaism be overly feminized. Many son's are abused seriously in these kind of situation as well when women can marry nonjewish men. I am completely against Rabbi's not taking a look at closing this loophole which is what it is. A Jewish child should have BOTH parents be Jewish end of story. And it isn't just a Modern Orthodox problem. Both MO and Ultra ORthodox throw the feminist football at each other but each side refuses to look at their own problems.