Religious and not racial grounds are the basis for Jewish opposition to intermarriage said Rabbi Nathan Krass Suday in a sermon on “Intermarriage” at Temple Emanu-El.
“Mere prudence” said Rabbi Krass, “would caution against intermarriage because nothing reaches down so far into the depth of the soul as religious difference. It may be concealed, apparently it may not even exist, but in crises it comes to the surface with the accumulated power of suppression.
“For persons hailing from different religions to marry is indeed taking a dubious step. The conflicts and clashes in the home, particularly when children have to be reared, are indicative of disaster, not of happiness. But there is a deeper reason why the Jew should refrain from intermarrying. The Jews are a minority people in America, 3,000,000 out of 110,000,000. While they are not a put race, they are a historic brotherhood that has suffered through the ages for a great religious ideal. As the soldier that goes to fight for his country sacrifices his personal happiness and pleasure for his country, so the individual Jew should sacrifice his personal pleasure to the end that his religion may continue to function in the world as a power that in a unique way makes for righteousness.
“The minority is always in danger of being absorbed through intermarriage by the majority, and if intermarriage increased Jews as Jews would diminish, and with the disappearance of the Jew Judaism would disappear, although many of its teachings have been incorporated in western civilization.
“Tennyson has a very suggestive phrase, ‘the wilderness of single instances’. In this wilderness we may find a number of instances of happy intermarriages from the personal point of view, but by and large the general proposition cannot be controverted that inasmuch as intermarriage tends to decimate Jewry, it will necessarily weaken Judaism. The liberal Jew of today has much in common with the liberal Christian, but not enough to overcome that psychic heritage which each possesses and which acts as a subconscious urge in one direction or another. The Jews welcome proselytes, though they do not go out for them as missionaries. The Jews welcome people of other faiths into the household of Israel, provided they accept Judaism. But the believing Jew who clings fast to his destiny and feels deeply his mission will always oppose intermarriage only because it points the way to the dissolution of his faith.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.