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This has been the majority rule since the days of the Talmud. Judaism generally recognizes that Christians and Moslems worship the same G-d that we do and those who follow the tenets of their religions can be considered righteous in the eyes of G-d. Contrary to popular belief, Judaism does not maintain that Jews are better than other people. Although we refer to ourselves as G-d's chosen people, we do not believe that G-d chose the Jews because of any inherent superiority. According to the Talmud Avodah Zarah 2b , G-d offered the Torah to all the nations of the earth, and the Jews were the only ones who accepted it.
The Jewish fear of intermarriage
The story goes on to say that the Jews were offered the Torah last, and accepted it only because G-d held a mountain over their heads! Another traditional story suggests that G-d chose the Jewish nation because they were the lowliest of nations, and their success would be attributed to G-d's might rather than their own ability. Clearly, these are not the ideas of a people who think they are better than other nations. Because of our acceptance of Torah, Jews have a special status in the eyes of G-d, but we lose that special status when we abandon Torah.
Furthermore, the blessings that we received from G-d by accepting the Torah come with a high price: Jews have a greater responsibility than non-Jews. While non-Jews are only obligated to obey the seven commandments given to Noah, Jews are responsible for fulfilling the mitzvot in the Torah, thus G-d will punish Jews for doing things that would not be a sin for non-Jews. According to traditional Judaism, G-d gave Noah and his family seven commandments to observe when he saved them from the flood. These commandments, referred to as the Noahic or Noahide commandments, are inferred from Genesis Ch.
These commandments are fairly simple and straightforward, and most of them are recognized by most of the world as sound moral principles. Any non-Jew who follows these laws has a place in the world to come. The Noahic commandments are binding on all people, because all people are descended from Noah and his family. The mitzvot of the Torah , on the other hand, are only binding on the descendants of those who accepted the commandments at Sinai and upon those who take on the yoke of the commandments voluntarily by conversion.
Jewish Attitudes Toward Non-Jews
In addition, the Noahic commandments are applied more leniently to non-Jews than the corresponding commandments are to Jews, because non-Jews do not have the benefit of Oral Torah to guide them in interpreting the laws. For example, worshipping G-d in the form of a man would constitute idolatry for a Jew; however, according to some sources, the Christian worship of Jesus does not constitute idolatry for non-Jews.
The most commonly used word for a non-Jew is goy. The word "goy" means " nation ," and refers to the fact that goyim are members of other nations, that is, nations other than the Children of Israel. There is nothing inherently insulting about the word "goy.
The Jewish fear of intermarriage - BBC News
Because Jews have had so many bad experiences with anti-Semitic non-Jews over the centuries, the term "goy" has taken on some negative connotations, but in general the term is no more insulting than the word "gentile. The more insulting terms for non-Jews are shiksa feminine and shkutz masculine. I gather that these words are derived from the Hebrew root Shin-Qof-Tzadei, meaning loathsome or abomination. The word shiksa is most commonly used to refer to a non-Jewish woman who is dating or married to a Jewish man, which should give some indication of how strongly Jews are opposed to the idea of intermarriage.
The term shkutz is most commonly used to refer to an anti-Semitic man. Both terms can be used in a less serious, more joking way, but in general they should be used with caution. If you are offended to hear that Jewish culture has a negative term for non-Jews, I would recommend that you stop and think about the many negative terms and stereotypes that your culture has for Jews.
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I once received a message from a man who told me that many Jews do not like gentiles. He knew this because his Jewish girlfriend's friends and parents disapproved of him. I explained that these people did not disapprove of him because he was Christian; they disapproved of him because he was a Christian dating a Jew, which is another issue altogether. Traditional Judaism does not permit interfaith marriages. Neither are non-Jewish spouses usually encouraged to convert to Judaism anymore. Humanistic Judaism is a Jewish movement that offers a nontheistic alternative in contemporary Jewish life, and defines Judaism as the cultural and historical experience of the Jewish people.
The Society for Humanistic Judaism answers the question "Is intermarriage contributing to the demise of Judaism? If the Jewish community is open, welcoming, embracing, and pluralistic, we will encourage more people to identify with the Jewish people rather than fewer.
Intermarriage could contribute to the continuity of the Jewish people. All branches of Orthodox Judaism follow the historic Jewish attitudes to intermarriage, and therefore refuse to accept that intermarriages would have any validity or legitimacy, and strictly forbid sexual intercourse with a member of a different faith. Orthodox rabbis refuse to officiate at interfaith weddings, and also try to avoid assisting them in other ways.
Secular intermarriage is seen as a deliberate rejection of Judaism , and an intermarried person is effectively cut off from most of the Orthodox community, although some Kiruv minded Rabbis and Organizations do reach out to intermarried Jewish couples. The Conservative Movement in Judaism does not sanction or recognize the Jewish legal validity of intermarriage, but encourages acceptance of the non-Jewish spouse within the family, hoping that such acceptance will lead to the spouse's conversion to Judaism.
The Rabbinical Assembly Standards of Rabbinic Practice prohibit Conservative rabbis from officiating at intermarriages. The Leadership Council of Conservative Judaism recently published the following statement on intermarriage:. Different movements in Judaism have different views on who is a Jew , and thus on what constitutes an interfaith marriage.
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Unlike Reform Judaism, the Orthodox and Conservative streams do not accept as Jewish a person whose mother is not Jewish, nor a convert whose conversion was not performed according to classical Jewish law. Occasionally, a Jew marries a non-Jew who believes in God as understood by Judaism, and who rejects non-Jewish theologies; Jews sometimes call such people ethical monotheists. Steven Greenberg , an Orthodox Rabbi, has made the controversial proposal that, in these cases, the non-Jewish partner be considered a resident alien — the biblical description of someone who is not Jewish, but who lives within the Jewish community; according to Jewish tradition, such resident aliens share many of the same responsibilities and privileges as the Jewish community in which they reside.
In the early 19th century, in some less modernised regions of the world, exogamy was extremely rare—less than 0. For this reason, as early as the mid 19th century, some senior Jewish leaders denounced intermarriage as a danger to the continued existence of Judaism. In the United States of America, other causes, such as more people marrying later in life, have combined with intermarriage to cause the Jewish community to decrease dramatically; for every 20 adult Jews, there are now only 17 Jewish children.
Some religious conservatives now even speak metaphorically of intermarriage as a silent holocaust. On the other hand, more tolerant and liberal Jews embrace interfaith marriage as an enriching contribution to a multicultural society. Regardless of attitudes to intermarriage, there is now an increasing effort to reach out to descendants of intermarried parents, each Jewish denomination focusing on those it defines as Jewish ;  secular and non-denominational Jewish organisations have sprung up to bring the descendants of intermarried parents back into the Jewish fold.
In some cases, children of a Jewish parent were raised in the non-Jewish parent's religion while maintaining a sense of Jewish ethnicity and identity. In Christian—Jewish relations, interfaith marriage and the associated phenomenon of Jewish assimilation are a matter of concern for both Jewish and Christian leaders.
Interfaith marriage in Judaism
A number of Progressive Christian denominations have publicly declared that they will no longer convert Jews. They have made use of dual-covenant theology. Many Israeli Jews oppose mixed relationships,  particularly relationships between Jewish women and non-Jewish Arab men. A opinion survey found that more than half of Israeli Jews believed intermarriage is equivalent to "national treason".
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A group of 35 Jewish men, known as " Fire for Judaism ", in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze'ev started patrolling the neighborhood in an effort to stop Jewish women from dating Arab men. The municipality of Petah Tikva has also announced an initiative to prevent interfaith relationships, providing a telephone hotline for friends and family to "inform" on Jewish girls who date Arab men as well as psychologists to provide counselling.