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Problems of Intermarriage Discussed at Two Day Jewish Parley in N.Y.

February 15, 1960
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

“More than 2,000 non-Jews are being converted to Judaism in the United States each year, “Dr. David M. Einhorn, of the new chaplaincy commission of the National Jewish Welfare Board, today stated at a two-way conference on intermarriage convened by the Theodore Herzig Institute here. He noted that rabbis agree that “most of these converts are at least as good Jews as born Jews and in many cases much better Jews.” He termed the converts “a precious spiritual asset.”

Rabbi Ralph M. Weissberg, of Smithtown, Long Island, reported that more Jewish men than women intermarry and that “very frequently the non-Jewish wife converts to Judaism and becomes active in Jewish communal affairs.” He asserted that there was no recent increase in intermarriage and that despite common interesting, intermarriage in the small community was likely to be decreasing.

In a similar vein, Mr. Isaac N. Training, advisor for religious affairs of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, noted that the anonymity of the large city encouraged intermarriage while in the small town, despite the very limited number of potential males, social pressures militate against intermarriage. He called upon Jewish federations and welfare funds to make available the means for a thorough study of the problem.

Dr. Werner Caveman, of the department of sociology of Yeshiva University, stressed that “the idea that Judaism is not a missionizing religion is historically incorrect and out of tune with a democratic society which is based on the principle of voluntary association. He proposed a halacha ruling allowing children of non-Jewish mothers and Jewish fathers to be considered as Jews.

Rabbi Richard L. Rubinstein, director of the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation at the University of Pittsburgh declared that intermarriage seems to be increasing markedly among students at American colleges and universities. He revealed that the greatest single reason why students sought his advice and counseling was to find guidance in problems of intermarriage.

“Intermarriage is most likely to occur at the graduate and professional school level,” he declared. He noted that social mobility and growing estrangement from middle class background were important factors in the increased rate of intermarriage among college and university students.

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