October 14, 2005

by Andrew Silow-Carroll
Get your brisket in the oven and your bobke in the bed

JTS's Jack Wertheimer blames the falling Jewish birthrate on educated women -- not without strong stats to back him up, but without a smidgen of appreciation for their achievements or rachmones for their predicament. The Forward describes the reaction , and I add mine:

Wertheimer’s probably right that the “independent-mindedness” that characterizes many Jews is (often, I would add) “pursued at the cost of other values” — namely, group identification and practice. But since Wertheimer seems to be addressing Judaism’s leadership class (and is said to be on the short list to succeed Rabbi Ismar Schorsch as the chancellor of JTS, the training ground for Conservative rabbis), you don’t have to disagree with his conclusions to question the tone in which they’re expressed. It’s one thing to demand that Jews speak “boldly and forthrightly” about behaviors that would reinforce early marriage, large families, and in-marriage. But it’s quite another to suggest, as he does, that Jewish men marry gentile women because they remind them of their mothers — unlike those over-educated, career-minded Jewish gals.


You claim, at the end of your piece in the New Jersey Jewish News that,

"The trick is doing it in a way that doesn’t make educated women and those with fewer than 2.1 children feel lousy about their lives — or hightail it out of synagogues and federations altogether."

The second point, about the federation system, is complete nonsense. Only 25% of the Federation system employees are men as is, and affirmitive action programs are being implemented to curb their numbers still further.

As for Jewish life generally, you are insisting the same thing the Provost has pointed out in his employement of statistics is a miconception, that it is women who are dissatisfied. In fact, it appears to be men.

In order to dismiss this important point, you should explain how these stats are wrong, or give a different explanation.

Instead, you are merely repeating the usual line about how if we aren't more careful, women will leave, even though it is more often intiated by men, they just complain less than the feminists.

Posted by: David Kelsey at October 15, 2005 10:36 PM

that Jewish men marry gentile women because they remind them of their mothers — unlike those over-educated, career-minded Jewish gals.

Funny, the gentile girls I dated were just as over-educated and career minded as the Jewish ones, but seemed a lot less obnoxious. Sorry, there's something about Jewish culture that makes the women overly critical and demanding with excessive expectations about what they want from theor men, and it isn't because they are over-educated feminists.

My wife (who is Jewish) is the exception.

Rabbi Jack might be right in that we JGuys are looking for someone like our mothers. On the other hand, Rabbi Jack might not know what it part of our Moms we're looking for. I've got no problem with a well-educated woman who thinks for herself.

(and my take on Rabbi Jack can be found here:


Posted by: conservative apikoris at October 16, 2005 1:06 AM
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