Since “Pew Report” became part of the Jewish vernacular last year, the role interfaith families play in upholding Jewish values and traditions has come into sharper focus.
On the one hand, Jewish adults with one Jewish parent are more likely than those with two Jewish parents to describe themselves as agnostic, atheist, or nothing at all. At the same time, however, Pew found a rising percentage of adults who were children of intermarriages identify as Jewish. For adults 65 and over that figure is 25 percent. But for adults under 30 that figure jumps to 59 percent.
As Pew noted: “When we look at all adults who have just one Jewish parent – including both those who identify as Jewish and those who do not – we see that the Jewish retention rate of people raised in intermarried families appears to be rising. That is, among all adults (both Jewish and non-Jewish) who say they had one Jewish parent and one non-Jewish parent, younger generations are more likely than older generations to be Jewish today.”
That’s where Ed Case sees opportunity. He’s the founder and CEO of InterfaithFamily, the leading support organization for interfaith families who want to engage in Jewish life and make Jewish choices.
At the 2014 Jewish Funders Network conference, Case was part of a panel called “Engaging Interfaith Families Jewishly,” which looked at the unique needs of interfaith families as well as programs that successfully engaged them in Jewish life. In an interview with JFN, Case said people were making a conscious decision to be Jewish rather than shopping around for a religion that suited them.