The face of intermarriage

Julie Wiener

The Steins, Kveller's first

The Steins, Kveller’s first “Up Close” family. (Kveller)

Eight years ago, I approached my boss with an idea that, at the time, seemed radical: a monthly column about intermarried life.


I was working for The New York Jewish Week, a newspaper with a predominantly Orthodox and Conservative reader base, and, like all mainstream Jewish publications then, we wrote about intermarriage all the time – but almost never from the perspective of actual intermarried Jews, or their spouses or children.

My column, called “In the Mix,” ran for several years, eventually morphing into a blog and exploring everything from the large number of non-Jewish moms raising Jewish children, to people who convert to Judaism after years of marriage, to issues that arise when intermarriages end in divorce.  I also wrote about my own experiences raising two Jewish daughters while married to a lapsed Catholic.

A lot has happened since I nervously proposed my column. The organized Jewish community has become far more accepting of interfaith families, recognizing for the most part that it’s counterproductive to write off, let alone condemn, a growing sector of the Jewish population and that aggressive efforts to discourage intermarriage tend to be more alienating than effective.

There’s also a growing recognition that there is no typical interfaith family, just like there’s no typical in-married Jewish family. And if you need further proof of that, check out “Up Close,” a new feature in Kveller that profiles interfaith families in their own words and photos.

So far, two families – the Steins and the Chens – have been featured. I’m looking forward to meeting the rest.

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Julie Wiener Julie Wiener is JTA’s online editor. Previously, she was the associate editor of The New York Jewish Week, where she wrote about education, food and assorted other topics along with intermarriage.