Recently, the Conservative youth group USY lifted its ban on ‘interdating’ between Jews and non-Jews, thus leading to a fresh round of hand-wringing over the growing assimilationist tendencies of non-Orthodox American Jewry. While I share their concerns, I believe they are barking up the wrong tree.
As I have pointed out a number of times before, the problem with non-Orthodox Jewry is less that they are marrying out, than they are largely not marrying at all and when they do, they rarely have children at replacement rate. Even if not one Jew intermarried, the non-Orthodox contingent would shrink by sheer demographic inertia.
So what’s going on? A possible clue can come from a highly read and discussed double article by Milo Yiannopoulos on Breitbart entitled ‘The Sexodus‘. There Yiannopoulos recounts how throughout the developed world, western and not, young men are giving up on relationships with women in droves and retreating into porn, video games and other non-relationship pursuits.
There are many reasons for this widespread phenomenon, but a key factor in all of them is feminism. Simply put, the war on masculinity as such throughout popular culture and society, to say nothing of the constant ramping up of the threat of “rape culture” and “patriarachy”, has reached the point that many men have decided love and marriage just ain’t worth it. That’s to say nothing of the “divorce culture” which inherently favors women.
One would think that such an issue might not affect non-Orthodox Jewish men, who are often rigidly and even fanatically liberal and obviously feminist. But I posit that they are affected whether they like it or not. No matter how much they try to deny it, full religious egalitarianism effectively makes men disposable and unnecessary. Add to that the increasing feminization of non-Orthodox Judaism which goes to war against any “patriarchal” or “sexist” (re: male) references or positions in Jewish sources, and Jewish men get the hint that they simply are not wanted or needed.
There are other parts to this story, too. Women’s delay of marriage to focus on career, which often lasts into their early thirties, frees up men and lessens the pressure on them to marry. Meanwhile, once the women are “ready”, they find their prospects are not quite so rosy, as they now have to compete against younger, chirpier and often more attractive women a decade younger. As one commenter put it, women start the marriage strike and men complete it.
Intermarriage is not the key problem of Diaspora Jewry. It is merely a symptom – of weak to non-existent Jewish commitment, of increasing shunting of men out of society and of the collapse of family in western society as a whole. If Jewish leaders truly wish to solve these problems, they might want to deal with this first, before any debate on ‘interdating’.