Jews in the South

By Leonard Dinnerstein; Mary Dale Palsson | Go to book overview
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Mixed Marriages in the Deep South

Sidney I. Goldstein

T HE PROBLEM of mixed marriage still has high priority on the agenda of American Jewry. True, we know very little about the actual rate of its incidence, in spite of recent studies. Many a rabbi will often be heard to say that some of his best members are non-Jews. But the truth of the matter is that the problem still awaits a first-rate study.

With a view to shedding light on this problem as it affects the life of a small Jewish community in the Deep South, the following study may prove to be of some value.

Much Intermarriage

The community in question comprises a list of approximately 100 names -- family units, with or without children, widows, widowers, and unmarried adults. Of these, 60 are families. More than one-fourth of these, or 16 to be specific, are mixed marriages contracted in the Post- World War II period. In every instance, the wife is an unconverted non-Jewess. Four of these mixed-marriage families send their children to the religious school of the Reform congregation, which has the only Jewish educational program. Ten of the mixed families send their children to the Sunday schools of the various Protestant churches, although the Jewish father is a member of the Reform Temple and the mother participates in Temple activities on occasion. In a word, these families support "two churches," to use a good Southern phrase.

It must appear rather obvious that the fact of mixed marriage poses a serious threat for the survival of Judaism. Not that the individuals


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Jews in the South


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