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Even the Maccabiah sports games attract more girls than boys.The implications of the gender gap in Judaism are great and extend far beyond the teen years.“For some couples, it is that religiosity that some people see as a conflict, but it often it is a bridge.” Traditional proximity between Jews and Catholics is a result of parallel immigration patterns, explains Rabbi Blecher.A majority of the Jews--as well as a good number of the Catholics--in the United States are descendants of European immigrants who came to the United States in the early part of the 20th Century.Personal religiosity, home rituals, participation in adult education, and other indicators of commitment to Jewish life tend to be higher for women than men.A comprehensive 1997 survey by the American Jewish Committee found that the feeling of being Jewish is "very important" for 60 percent of women and 41 percent of men.My wife and I have several Jewish female friends in their mid-30s who are still single.When any of them visit, our Shabbat talk inevitably turns to the people they are dating and how difficult it is to find a nice Jewish guy with whom to start a Jewish family and raise Jewish children.
As a result, many of our Jewish leaders and even major philanthropists are finding that their grandchildren are not necessarily being raised Jewishly.One unpartnered friend, a rabbi, actually flew to Israel for in vitro fertilization and is now pregnant. "But since I'm getting older and haven't found a soul-mate yet, I'm going to start my own family." These Jewishly involved single women could have other options, but those aren't sanctioned by the Jewish community. It is time to remove the stigma from dating and marrying non-Jewish men.The word "intermarriage" has been the convenient scapegoat for many of the ills in American Jewish life.To denounce this idea fails to recognize an important, yet largely unstudied trend in Jewish life: That women, more than men, carry the spiritual spark of Judaism.According to Sylvia Barak Fishman of Brandeis University, based on the percentage of bar to bat mitzvahs, more girls than boys are now affirming their commitment to the Jewish people.