Can Intermarriage Lead to an Increase in the Number of Jews in America?

Hopeful arguments to that effect have been proffered since the Pew survey two years ago. They’re wrong.

November 9, 2015 | Steven M. Cohen
About the author: Steven M. Cohen is a research professor at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and director of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service.


Could intermarriage be good for Jewish continuity? Could it actually lead to an increase in the numbers of American Jews, even committed and involved American Jews? Such an argument—which flies in the face of conventional wisdom—was put forth by the social scientist Theodore Sasson two years ago, based on his analysis of data in the latest Pew Center survey of American Jewry. What led him to this conclusion was the surprisingly high number of under-thirty offspring of intermarried parents who identify themselves as Jews.

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