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I’ve always thought that part of the fun of getting to know someone is finding out about their upbringing, learning about their family, being introduced to new people and traditions.

In the US, more Jews identify themselves through Jewish culture and tradition than formal religious affiliation.

Those who consider themselves affiliated generally fall into three categories – Reform, Conservative and Orthodox, which, most basically, refer to levels of observance.

Without doing any complicated math, it’s easy to understand why the Jewish community encourages dating and marrying within the faith or conversion of a prospective spouse to Judaism. These and other similar issues may come up when Jews date non-Jews, and it’s important to address them sooner rather than later down the relationship road.

When Jews date non-Jews, in many ways it can seem no different than any new relationship.

Marrying within the religion also ensures the continuance of the Jewish people, since their children will naturally be Jewish.

Jewish Interfaith Dating and Intermarriage Whatever your own personal feelings are about intermarriage, there’s a very basic reason why Jewish community leaders urge Jews to date and marry other Jews: survival of the religion and culture.

There are many positive elements to the cultural stereotype of a Jewish family – warmth, lots and lots of love, unconditional support, and deep, intense family values (The food can be pretty terrific, too).

It can seem like an over-the-top free for all sometimes, and even when you grow up in the middle of a big, close Jewish family, like I did, it can take a lifetime to get used to.

(Israel has the largest.) For a number of reasons – some practical, others emotional – there was a lot of pressure in the years that followed for Jewish children to only date and marry other Jews.

At the same time, after years of discrimination, Jews were finally being included in mainstream American life, which has led to a more blended population … When I was growing up in Queens, one of the suburban boroughs of New York City, the neighborhood was very ethnic and predominantly Jewish.

When Jews date non-Jews, this can seem a bit overwhelming to someone who might have grown up in a more emotionally restrained environment.