Coverage of a new report released by the Metropolitan Chicago Jewish Community has spawned what is possibly the summer’s best condescension-laced intra-Jew term yet: Intermarrieds. The report, which tastefully referred to these mystery pairings as interfaith couples, was itself about trends in the Jewish community, so it’s no surprise that it would spawn its own trendy nomenclature.
We think this term is a shoo-in for entry into the Oxford English Dictionary, particularly if that esteemed institution was willing to take ‘OMG’ under its proverbial wing. And an “oh my god” situation this surely is. There is even evidence that this term is being embraced and reappropriated by the intermarried community, as racially and ethnically charged terms often are. The website Intermarrieds.com, which calls itself an “online resource” for intermarried couples and children of intermarriage, represents this shift toward taking agency over the term—though it being a product of the Messianic Jewish Theological Institute and all, it really only opens up a whole new can of labeling woes.
Like a cultural scourge, this creeping demographic has—wait, what?—been raising their children with stronger Jewish values, thereby contributing to the Jewish community’s increasing numbers, which is the main thrust of the report. The intra-marrieds declined to comment about it—insular much? No word yet from the frums on this developing terminology, and we all basically agree it’s of little consequence to those damn seculars.
Jewish Identity of Intermarrieds in Chicago and their Kids Up [Jewish Journal]
The 2010 Metropolitan Chicago Jewish Community Study [Jewish Data Bank]
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.