Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Kitty Dukakis Says Intermarriage Strengthened Her Ties to Judaism

July 5, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Kitty Dukakis has responded to critics who say that, as a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man, she would serve as a bad role model were her husband to be elected president of the United States.

In an interview with the bimonthly magazine Tikkun, the wife of Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis said her marriage to the likely Democratic presidential nominee actually encouraged her to seek a “more formal identification” with her Jewish roots.

“When people write articles, as they have, about the fact that I would be a bad role model because I am married to a Christian, what they don’t realize is that there are men and women like myself who are much more closely identified with their Jewish roots because they have married outside the faith,” she said in an interview conducted May 20 by Michael Lerner, editor of the progressive magazine.

Dukakis was responding to an editorial that appeared in the Denver-based Intermountain Jewish News at the height of the primary campaign, charging that a Dukakis presidency would represent a troubling endorsement of intermarriage.

In the Tikkun article, Dukakis spoke at length about her Jewish upbringing in the Massachusetts suburb of Brookline, saying that she has a “very emotional connection with my heritage.”

She also indicated that she would play an active role in shaping White House decision-making on Jewish issues should her husband be elected president in November.

Asked by Lerner which Jewish leaders a Dukakis administration would work with, Dukakis replied, “I don’t think I can answer that definitely, because it’s a policy Michael and I haven’t discussed.”

Recommended from JTA