Why Do Jews Intermarry at a Much Higher Rate Than Others?

One Overlooked Reason: Americans May Like To Marry Jews

Why Us? Jews tend to get married later, which is a factor in the high numbers of intermarriages. But why do non-Jews marry Jews.
jta
Why Us? Jews tend to get married later, which is a factor in the high numbers of intermarriages. But why do non-Jews marry Jews.

By JTA

Published May 23, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

She says assimilation has been both a good thing and a bad thing for American Jews. On the downside of interfaith marriage, Riley’s research showed that intermarried couples reported lower rates of marital satisfaction than in-married couples. The children of interfaith couples also tend to grow up to be less religious than in-married couples.

Riley predicts what some might consider an ominous future for American Jewry, but one that comports to some degree with what several other scholars have hypothesized about American Jewry’s future: A small core of religious Jews will run Jewish communal institutions, and a large contingent of assimilated Jews on the periphery will have little enthusiasm for or connection to their faith.

What Riley doesn’t devote too much attention to is who are the gentiles marrying America’s Jews. In most cases, interfaith marriages may be the result of happenstance: non-Jewish Americans happen to meet and fall in love with a Jew.

But some Americans are specifically looking for Jewish mates. About 5 percent of the 750,000 members of JDate, the popular Jewish dating website, are non-Jewish, according to JDate spokeswoman Arielle Schechtman.

In more than a dozen interviews with JTA, non-Jewish JDaters talked about the reasons they’re seeking out Jews (on the condition that their last names not be used), though practically all said they were not exclusively seeking Jews.

“I have a positive bias toward Jewish men,” said Elizabeth, 37, a teacher in New York who was raised Christian. “They tend to be very smart, successful, gentlemanly and less sexist,” she said. “They are a safer choice.”

Neil, a doctoral candidate in physics in Texas who was brought up Muslim in Iran, said he believes American Persians and Jews gravitate toward each other because their “common roots” enable them to communicate well and get along. He also noted that many stories in the Koran come from the Bible.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Why genocide is always wrong, period. And the fact that some are talking about it shows just how much damage the war in Gaza has already done.
  • Construction workers found a 75-year-old deli sign behind a closing Harlem bodega earlier this month. Should it be preserved?
  • "The painful irony in Israel’s current dilemma is that it has been here before." Read J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis of the conflict:
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.