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But make no mistake: This doesn’t mean they have a laissez-faire attitude about intermarriage.In every denomination, the leaders I talked with are thinking intentionally about how to strengthen the sense of connection among teenaged Jews.“There’s no question that one of the purposes of the organization is to keep Jewish social circles together at this age,” said Matt Grossman, the executive director of the non-denominational organization BBYO, which serves about 39,000 American students each year.“If they’re in an environment where their closest friends are Jewish, the likelihood that they’re going to end up dating people from those social circles, and ultimately marry someone from those social circles, increases dramatically,” Grossman said.Owned and operated by Spark Networks, the same company that runs Christian Mingle.com, Black Singles.com, and Silver Singles.com, JDate is the primary dating service for Jews (and gentiles who are particularly interested in marrying Jewish people, for that matter).According to data provided by the company, they are responsible for more Jewish marriages than all other online dating services combined, and 5 out of every 9 Jews who have gotten married since 2008 tried finding their match on the Internet.“The way that we do that is by making more Jews.”Indeed, pictures of so-called “JBabies” featured prominently in promotional materials sent over by the JDate team.In JDate’s view, these new Jews will be the future of the people, but they’re also good for business.In large part, that’s because Jewish organizations put a lot of time and money into spreading precisely this message.For the Jewish leaders who believe this is important for the future of the faith, youth group, road trips, summer camp, and online dating are the primary tools they use in the battle to preserve their people.***Although Judaism encompasses enormous diversity in terms of how people choose to observe their religion, leaders from the most progressive to the most Orthodox movements basically agree: If you want to persuade kids to marry other Jews, don’t be too pushy.“We try not to hit them over the head with it too frequently or too often,” said Rabbi Micah Greenland, who directs the National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY), an Orthodox-run organization that serves about 25,000 high school students each year.

The waitlisted group is particularly large—in some years, up to 70 percent of those who sign up don’t get to go.“But our interpersonal relationships are colored by our Judaism, and our dating and marriage decisions are equally Jewish decisions.”On the opposite end of the spectrum of observance, a Reform organization, the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY), seems to take a similar tack, especially in response to frequent questions from donors and congregants about intermarriage trends.“Our response to [concerns about] intermarriage is less to have conversations about dating—we want to have larger conversations about what it means to be Jewish,” said the director of youth engagement, Rabbi Bradley Solmsen, who estimated that NFTY serves about 17,700 Jewish students each year.Debates about intermarriage, or marriage outside of the faith, are common in the Jewish community, but her question still struck me as remarkable.Here were four twentysomething women who hardly knew each other, already talking about the eventuality of marriage and apparently radical possibility that we would ever commit our lives to someone unlike us.

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