Will the Kids Stay Jewish? Hopes, dreams, and rationalizations aside, the reality is that children of intermarriage are extremely unlikely to identify as Jews when they mature into adults. This conclusion was predicted by Marshall Sklar, widely known as the foremost sociologist of American Jewry of the twentieth century: Many intermarried parents declare...that upon maturity their child will have the right to choose his own identity. This generally means that his identity will be with the majority group...the majority of the children of intermarried Jews, then, will be Gentiles.1 As we will see, sadly, Dr. Sklar?s prediction has been proven to be correct. The explanation is important: Hebrew University?s researcher Dr. Peter Medding studied what keeps families Jewish generation after generation. He found that the key is giving children what he calls an ?unambiguous Jewish identity.?2 This conclusion is not surprising. We live in an overwhelmingly non-Jewish society with powerful media and cultural influences pushing us away from identification with a Jewish minority comprising less than 2% of the general population. If the children involved do not grow up ?unambiguously? Jewish, there is little chance of any Jewishness surviving long term. As we will see, intermarriages almost never provide the needed ?unambiguous Jewish identity.?
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