Intermarriage: So What Else is New?

There’s a lot of talk these days about intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews. Discussions revolve around the pros and cons of this phenomenon with cons usually outweighing the pros - at least in the minds of many Jewish parents.

Young people today don’t realize that not too many years ago, other kinds of intermarriages caused distress for Jewish parents. As a child, I learned that I was a product of such a marriage - a Galizianer father (one who emanated from a country that was occasionally a part of Poland) and a Litvak mother, a Jew from Lithuania! This meant little to me until I overheard a conversation one day . "What a shonda (shame) it is that Sylvia is marrying Moshie. She’s a Litvak, you know, and he’s a Galizianer." (Shonda was one of the few yiddish words I knew, so I recognized the gravity of the situation.) Actually, I noticed little difference between my Galizianer and Litvak bubbies except for their kugels.?As a teenager, I learned about still another kind of intermarriage - one between a Sephardic Jew and an Ashkenazi Jew. This was more serious, because my Ashkenazi friends and I had reached dating age. It took us only a few visits to the Jewish center to realize that the best dancers were Sephardic boys, probably because they practiced constantly. I was luckier than some, because my parents didn’t mind whom I dated as long as he was Jewish. I was delighted with their liberal stance until the day I brought home a new friend. After he left, my mother asked "So where do you think his mishpocha come from?"

"Dunno," I responded?"Well, the name sounds German to me," she sniffed.So much for liberal parents.

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