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Some Asian-Jewish families have struggled to find a synagogue where they feel at home, but others tell stories of warmth and welcome.
While the two cultures are not mutually exclusive, the availability of Jewish culture and religion can make Jewishness easier to instill and maintain than an Asian identity from which today’s Asian-American parents may already feel a generation removed.
Through conversion, adoption, and being in Asian-Jewish families, more American Jews of Asian descent come into the Jewish community each year.
We don’t have precise quantitative data about marriage between Jews and people of Chinese descent, but the qualitative information alongside the broader data about Jewish-Asian American unions show a remarkable trend that bucks larger statistics about intermarriage: Jewish identity for the household and children is very high.
Intermarriages between people of different races or ethnicities has increased immensely since Loving v.
But this can’t explain the rate of Jewish-Asian-American marriages.
People also tend to partner with someone of a similar socioeconomic and educational background.Still, a close look at the research suggests that there is more to the story.In 2012, sociologists Noah Leavitt and Helen Kim interviewed 24 Jewish-Asian- American couples with children.Many Jewish leaders frame this as “the problem of intermarriage” and assume that intermarriage means the loss of Jewish individuals and their children to the community. Sylvia Barack Fishman’s 2004 study of Jewish-Christian marriages suggested that only about a third of couples with children decided to raise them Jewish, and the 2001 National Jewish Population Survey suggested a similar figure across all Jewish intermarriages.And yet: in the case of Asian-American-Jewish marriages, Jewish identification — both religious and cultural — appears to be the norm.In its most pragmatic version, this helps account for where people meet prospective partners.