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Intermarriage, Low Birth Rate Seen Decreasing Ratio of Jews in U.s.a


The possibility that the American Jewish community would fade from 2.9 percent of the population of this country to 1.6 percent by the end of this century was raised in an article featured in Look magazine, issued today. The article, entitled “The Vanishing American Jew, “by Thomas B. Morgan, attributed the decline to the “soaring rate of intermarriage” which, it said, resulted in Judaism losing 70 percent of the children of mixed marriages. It also cited as a factor the low birth rate among Jews, who, it declared, are “scarcely reproducing themselves.”

Reporting on the concern expressed by religious leaders around the country over the effects of intermarriage on Jewish survival, the article cited the views of Rabbi Max Schenk, president of the New York Board of Rabbis. He voiced concern over the “alarming” rate of intermarriage, which, he said, if allowed to continue unchecked, would jeopardize “the vitality and the entire future of the Jewish people.”

Rabbi Eugene Lipman, of Reform Temple Sinai, Washington, charged that “the religious forces of America have not been giving young adults a commitment. This is really a sad generation,” he declared, “a lot of lost people who have a tendency to pool their loneliness and depression in marriage.”

Asserting that intermarriage was only a rare occurrence among Orthodox Jews, the article cited the experience of Rabbi Harry Kaufman of Beth Sholom Congregation, Washington, who recalled that 16 years ago was the last time anyone who tad attended his synagogue had intermarried.

The article also cited a 1958 study of the San Francisco Jewish community which reported an intermarriage rate of 17.2 per cent in the city proper, ranging as high as 37 per cent in the surrounding suburbs. The article also mentioned a survey of residents of midtown Manhattan in New York, which indicated an intermarriage rate of 18.1 per cent.

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