If current trends continue in the Diaspora, and particularly in the United States, barely a fraction of existing secular Jews will remain in another generation or two.
Assimilation is sucking the life out of European and American Jewish populations.
In Europe, 50 percent of secular Jews are married to non-Jews — a statistic that was true of secular American Jews just a generation ago.
The lowest rate of European Diaspora Jews marrying non-Jews is found in Belgium; the highest is found in Poland.
But currently in the United States, 70 percent of secular Jews are married to non-Jews, according to a new report published by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) entitled “Intermarriage of Jews and Non-Jews: The Global Situation and its Meaning.”
According to the report, 42 percent of Jews in the Diaspora worldwide are married to non-Jews.
Only in Israel has the phenomenon been held to a minimum: five percent of Jews in the Jewish State are married to non-Jews.
The rate of intermarriage is lowest among Jews who maintain their traditions and faith — “traditional” and Orthodox Jews.
A strong connection to one’s Jewish heritage and faith appears to be the best vaccine against intermarriage, which ultimately is bound to result in the disappearance of the Jewish People outside Israel.
But here’s the thing: it’s not just about intermarriage. Low fertility and birth rates among Diaspora Jewish communities are also a factor.
In Israel, the population is increasing thanks to high fertility and birth rates among Orthodox Jews.
If Diaspora Jewry is to survive, secular Jewish leaders must take a serious look at these facts and consider some changes to the message they are broadcasting to their populations.