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13 Pages

British Jewry and Its Attitudes towards Intermarriage

ByMarlena Schmool

The present-day British Jewish community traces its origins to 1656 when, after representations to Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell by Rabbi Menasseh ben Israel, Jews were allowed to worship openly in England. Thus, in European Jewish terms, modern British Jewry is relatively young. The British Jewry has no special obligations in respect of the host society and no benefits, such as the proceeds of local religious taxes. The British Social Attitudes survey distributed in 2000 found that, of the 3,426 adults living in private households sampled, 39.5 percent said they had "no religion." Both the "Women in the Community" and the Jewish Policy Research studies included questions that probed attitudes to intermarriage. The percentage for women is in line with that of the total in the Women 1994 study although there is a marked difference between attitudes of the affiliated and the unaffiliated women.