19 Pages

Intermarriage among Jews in France

ByErik H. Cohen

Rising rates of intermarriage have become a key issue of concern to Jewish communities throughout the Diaspora. In France, the second largest Jewish Diaspora community, 30 percent of the heads of Jewish households have a non-Jewish spouse. Cohabitation without marriage seems to be a way of solving the issue of intermarriage by circumventing it. Clearly, the nature and character of the French Jewish community in the twenty-first century will be affected by the trend of increasing rates of intermarriage. At the same time, current attitudes towards intermarriage are informed by the nature and character of the French Jewish community, and its educational system and social patterns. Self-definition is an important aspect of ethnic and religious identity. French Jews define themselves using one or both of the terms "Israelite" and "Jew". Only 5 percent of the French Jewish population choose to call themselves exclusively by the term Israelite.