Intermarriage is not the central focus of a new study about people working for American Jewish organizations.
Rather, the most dramatic finding (according to me) of the Jewish Communal Service Association of North America/Berman Policy Archives study can be summed up this way: Jewish women workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!
Women, the new study finds, “significantly trail men in compensation, with an overall gap of $28,000. Holding constant age, years in the field, level of responsibility, hours worked, and degrees earned, women’s salaries still trail men’s by about $20,000.”
Ouch. But why am I mentioning this on a blog devoted to all things intermarriage?
Well, since “Profiling the Professionals” was conducted by Steven “Marry A Jew” Cohen, I of course was curious what it would say about intermarriage. Not surprisingly, it echoed the findings of Jack Wertheimer’s recent study of young Jewish leaders: fewer people see intermarriage as a problem.
As Cohen writes:
Once a cause of much concern and a focus of ideological opposition in Jewish life, intermarriage has become increasingly tolerated, accepted, and even welcomed. Significantly, only 58% of Jewish communal professionals would be upset were their child “to marry a non-Jew who didn’t convert to Judaism.” An even smaller number — about one-third — express normative support for the endogamy (in-marriage) norm and are not comfortable with the idea that Jews should marry whomever they fall in love with, even if they are not Jewish.
This being a Cohen study (see my complaints about his Foundation for Jewish Camps study) the author makes a point of noting that:
Jewish communal professionals come disproportionately from stronger-than-average Jewish home and educational environments. More than the population at large, they report in-married parents who were more observant and more traditional than the norm. In addition, the professionals participated in a variety of Jewish educational experiences from childhood through young adulthood.
According to the study, only 7 percent of respondents have intermarried (weaker-than-average?) parents and:
Of those who are married, the vast majority (89%) are in-married. Clearly, the intermarried are significantly underrepresented in the ranks of the Jewish communal professional. These results point to the power of in-marriage to both reflect and predict engagement in Jewish life.
Another potential explanation for the results, one that Cohen leaves unexplored, is the possibility that the intermarried do not feel comfortable or welcome working in the Jewish community.
Since this is a Cohen production, the conclusion includes the “diminished enthusiasm” for in-marriage among its “disturbing trends” demanding “attention and contention.”
So Jewish gals, head straight to your boss and demand a $20,000 raise! (Don't blame me if you get fired.) After all, with intermarriage increasingly the norm, you can no longer rely on that rich Jewish doctor husband of stereotypical lore to pay the bills!
Do you like “In the Mix” even though it is authored by a “weaker than average” Jew? Then like it on Facebook!
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