The American Jewish Family Today

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Adoption in Jewish Families

Adoption is also on the rise in Jewish communities, for several reasons:

· Couples are waiting longer than in the past to get married and have children, increasing fertility problems.

· Many women, having spent years focusing on education and career, experience difficulty finding Jewish partners when they feel ready to marry. This is partly due to the fact that a higher percentage of Jewish men than Jewish women marry a non-Jewish partner. Some will choose to adopt children as single parents.

· Gay and lesbian couples are finding Jewish communities to be increasingly accepting of them, and they are adopting children and raising them within the Jewish community.

building a jewish home quizMany adopted children come from racial minorities in America or from other countries, such as China or South America, creating an increased number of multicultural and multiracial families. Parents then face the challenge of instilling in their children a Jewish identity as well as pride in their native culture; with the American Jewish community overwhelmingly white, children of color also face all the issues of being different and facing potential taunting or discrimination from classmates or synagogue peers. Several new organizations dedicated to the needs of Jewish multicultural families have recently formed.

Interfaith Families

Interfaith families are also a growing part of the portrait of Jewish families, and they are faced with myriad choices: one religion for the whole family or two? Jewish communities are likewise faced with choices about how accepting to be toward interfaith families: Is it better to embrace interfaith families in hopes the children will become and remain active in the Jewish community? Or should the opposition that many Jews feel toward intermarriage lead them to a less-than-welcoming stance toward interfaith families?

With so much emphasis on families, unmarried Jewish adults have often felt sidelined in Jewish communal life. As more Jewish adults choose the single life style--or remain unmarried by default--it remains to be seen whether they will become integrated into a synagogue life that so often focuses on the education of children and families, or whether they will create new communities on their own.

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