I was raised in a typically American town where I knew about five Jewish girls of my own age and about 100 girls of other races and religions. For numerical considerations alone - let alone the attractions of dating someone a little different - the chances were 20 to one that I, and the other Jewish boys who had a bar mitzvah in my year, would fall in love with a shiksa.
Now it's happening. According to your new book, Will We Have Jewish Grandchildren?, the intermarriage rate among young Jews in the United States has increased in 25 years from 6 per cent to 57 per cent (with only 28 per cent of the children of these mixed marriages being raised as Jews). And something similar is happening among Jews in Britain. In fact, on your figures the UK has lost 'more than 10 Jews a day, every day, for the last 40 years'.
Catholics, too, are worried about the children of mixed-faith marriages not being brought up as Catho-lics, and no doubt Muslims will soon be expressing the same concerns, if they're not already. If things go on like this, the Prince of Wales will have a full-time job on his hands trying to defend all the faiths in his kingdom from each other.
Now, I know it is your professional duty to worry about these things, and to suggest remedies; but I want you to put aside your job description for a moment and look on the bright side.
You point out that Jews have often led the way in matters of the spirit. You say we 'taught monotheism to the world, and with it the supremacy of ethics'. You're proud of Jewish accomplishments over the years, but look at one of your lists of great Jewish thinkers: Spinoza, Marx, Freud and Einstein are more associated with teaching the world how to live without a personal god than with the Jewish one.
The world faces so many nationalist and religious conflicts (not a week goes by without more 'sectarian' killings in Northern Ireland, to name one example close to home) that a mixing of populations through intermarriage could be seen as a welcome development. If only it were to happen more among Arabs and Jews in Israel, there would be no need for a 'two-state' solution.
Let Jews lead the way again. Let us be the first of the ancient religions to relinquish the claim to an exclusive knowledge of God's nature and plans, and merge ourselves through our children in the creation of a new world of polyglot, polycultural humanity.
We can teach what is good from our heritage to our children, and our spouses can do the same. In miscegenation lies the future of the world.
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