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What Difference Does Intermarriage Make?
Saturday, October 9, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Adult Ed Lecture via Zoom
Jennifer Thompson, California State University, Northridge
For much of the 20th and 21st century, American Jews have talked and written about their fears that including people who are not Jewish in Jewish communities would dilute and ultimately destroy Jewish identity. These fears have not diminished the rate of intermarriage. The Pew Research Center’s 2020 study of American Jews tells us that if you’re Jewish and you got married in the last 10 years, you probably married someone who’s not Jewish. If you’re part of an intermarried couple, you’re probably raising your children Jewish. And if you’re an American Jewish child, it’s likely that you have a parent who’s not Jewish. Come and learn about how Jewish institutions and culture are adapting to these important shifts in the makeup of Jewish families and communities.
Jennifer Thompson is the Director of the Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Program and the Maurice Amado Professor of Applied Jewish Ethics and Civic Engagement at California State University, Northridge, in Los Angeles. Her research uses ethnography to investigate the cultural categories that contemporary American Jews use to organize their individual and collective lives. She is the author of Jewish On Their Own Terms: How Intermarried Couples are Changing American Judaism from Rutgers University Press, which examined the gap between discourses about intermarriage and the lived experiences of intermarried Jews. She is currently working on a book about the Jewish expressions and commitments of unaffiliated Jews, drawing on ethnography among Jewish genealogists, High Holiday services at a Hollywood comedy club, a secularist Jewish community, self-identifying “unconventional Jews,” and Twitter users who call themselves “bad Jews.” She has also written numerous academic articles as well as op-eds for HaAretz and The Forward.
The zoom room will open at 6:45 pm. Refer to the weekly email for the zoom link.