13 Pages

Kosher and the Christmas Tree: On Marriages between Jews and Non-Jews in Sweden, Finland, and Norway

ByLars Dencik

A questionnaire entitled "Questions about Jewish Life" was sent to the affiliated members of the Jewish communities in Sweden, Finland, and Norway. The Jewish communities in the surveyed countries organize synagogal, educational, social, and cultural services for their members. It is estimated that between one third and one half of the Jews living in Sweden, Finland, and Norway are affiliated members of a Jewish community. A major factor explaining the differences in Jewish marriage patterns as observed is the size of the Jewish communities in the respective countries. One might conclude that, in mixed marriages, the Jewish identity markers tend to penetrate the relationship so deeply that even halachically non-Jewish children become physically marked with a symbolic Jewish identity. Finally, there are families in which one lights both Shabbat candles and Christmas lights, or where the family both keeps kosher and has a Christmas tree.