If you are Jewish
( 3 Articles )
¬†Understanding the Gentile Perspective
This section is for Jewish people who are currently part of an ethnically mixed couple or family. It has been said if you know only one culture, you don't know any. Much of what follows is an attempt to help partners see their own culture in contrast to another. While Jewish cultural distinctions are precious and significant for the Jewish partners, they would not be universally received as true for all peoples. However, the first step toward creating understanding is the appreciation for cultural distinctions and differences.
The following articles are written to help Jewish people to appreciate Gentile culture and in some cases Christian beliefs. It is intended to build bridges of understanding. If you have a particular subject or question that you'd like to see explored here, please let us know.
If you are Gentile
( 14 Articles )
Understanding the Jewish Perspective
This section is for Gentiles who are part of an ethnically mixed couple or family. It has been said if you know only one culture, you don't know any. Much of what follows is an attempt to help partners see their own culture in contrast to another. While Gentile cultural distinctions are precious and significant for Gentile partners, they are not necessarily received as true for Jewish people. However, the first step toward creating understanding is the appreciation of cultural distinctions and differences.
The following articles are written to help Gentiles appreciate Jewish culture and to build bridges of understanding. If you have a particular subject or question that you'd like to see explored here, please let us know.
If you are a believer
( 2 Articles )
Understanding an unbeliever's perspective
Gentiles who are believers in Jesus Christ may find willing and attractive Jewish partners in spite of the sociological warnings. A former Jewish taboo against intermarriage collapsed early in this millennium. ¬†The former Jewish social prohibition dissolved. ¬†Nevertheless, social research has shown that interfaith marriages are at a greater risk or disillusion than same faith marriages [V.R. Call & T.B. Heaton. ¬†"Religious Influence on Marital Stability." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1997: 36 (3) Pp. 382-392.] Nevertheless, Jewish people are now more likely to intermarry with Gentiles in North America and Europe.
Research on marital stability and satisfaction often means little to individuals who are personally attracted to one another. However, Christian believers have a responsibility to the Scriptures and to their non-believer partners.
Today, American individualism and secularization are pressing back against Biblical material about intermarriage. ¬†Christian teaching regarding being "unequally yoked" is deemed by contemporary culture as "out-of-step" or "judgmental." ¬†Though the New Testament context for the passage in II Corinthians 6:14 deals with business partnerships, it is a clear warning for the potential spiritual disharmony when a believer in Jesus joins their life with someone who does not share the same faith. ¬†
The Old Testament provides prophetic warnings about the danger of taking spouses from non-Jewish nations. ¬†There is no implication that Gentile life is of supposedly lesser value than that of Jewish people. The message was consistently on the potential spiritual harm that an Israelite believer in God might endure by marrying people who reject the God of Israel (Exodus 34:11-15 and I Kings 11:1-2). ¬†
Some of the following articles address the spiritual responsibility of Christians in marriage. ¬†If you have a specific question or idea that you would like to see us discuss here, please write and let us know.
If you do not belive in Messiah... yet
( 3 Articles )
Understanding a Believer's Perspective¬†
North America is not the leader in Jewish intermarriage. Jewry in the former Soviet Union holds that distinction with an intermarriage rate near 80%. However, intermarriage has been a dominant characteristic of the North American Jewry since 1985. Roughly half of all American Jews, who were married in the last 25 years have wedded Gentile spouses. ¬†If you are in that trend, you are not alone.
Traditional Jewish social authorities, like rabbis, recognize that they can no longer prevent intermarriage. ¬†The religious taboo against intermarriage has collapsed in North America, Europe and the former Soviet Union.
While personal experience has shown Jewish people that they can choose to intermarry, sociological studies have shown that the consequences can produce great risk. ¬†Social research has shown that interfaith marriages are at greater risk of disillusion than same faith marriages [V.R. Call & T.B. Heaton. ¬†"Religious Influence on Marital Stability." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1997: 36 (3) Pp. 382-392.] ¬†Differences in religious faith, added to differences in ethnic heritage, have been found to be significant factors in marital stability and satisfaction [T.B. Heaton and E.L. Pratt. ¬†"The Effects of Religious Homogamy on Marital Satisfaction and Stability," Journal of Family Issues 11 (1990): 191-207.]
Social scientists are pointing out a significantly higher risk to marriages among partners like Jewish-Gentile couples. ¬†That does not mean that your relationship has to be ill-fated. ¬†The inability to find spiritual intimacy and harmony are at the heart of Jewish-Gentile couple dilemma. ¬†We hope the following articles would provide insight and encouragement in finding hope for a lasting relationship together. ¬†The section on Finding Spiritual Harmony is also recommended on this point. We would be glad to hear from you, to know of further questions or subjects that you would like us to develop.
Frequently Asked Questions
( 1 Article )