Are we trendy?


I’m going to TribeFest, March 6-8 in Las Vegas. We’ll be giving a presentation on interfaith issues and will be set up in the Big Show. We hope to see you there!

Meanwhile, USA Today ran a short article on TribeFest. Which wasn’t a big deal, except I found one part noteworthy:

The event comes at a transitional time for American Judaism, which is grappling with a membership crisis in non-Orthodox congregations and concerns about the high cost of synagogue membership and Jewish day school tuition.

Contributing factors, which are hotly debated among Jews, include the decline of anti-Semitism and accompanying rise of intermarriage, lower birth rates among liberal Jews, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the economic downturn and shifting cultural priorities.

TribeFest is taking an “all of the above” approach, with discussion topics including U.S.-Israel policies, interfaith relationships, homosexuality, female leadership, social media and what it means to be Jewish today.

Given that TribeFest is trying to be hip and cool (see above reference to “Big Show,” which is what they’re calling the exhibition hall) as it reaches out to the “young adult” crowd (ages 22-45), I think it’s interesting that the topic of interfaith  relationships/families is up there with other trendy items like LGBTQ issues (“homosexuality” – really, USA Today?), gender (in)equality and social media.

Is “interfaith” or “intermarriage” or “interdating” trendy?

2 thoughts on “Are we trendy?”

  • When I read the USA Today story, I got excited about a different “trend” – but I may have misread it.

    I thought that a representative of the Jewish Federations of North America had highlighted interfaith relationships as a discussion topic at TribeFest. To me, that would be significant, because in my experience the JFNA has not been very comfortable talking about intermarriage. But they did let me speak at their General Assembly last November, so I thought that maybe there was a “trend” to be more open about intermarriage if the JFNA was now talking about it to USA Today.

    Except that reading the story again, it’s not clear that it was a JFNA spokesperson who mentioned interfaith relationships. If the writer, Nicole Neroulias, checked the program, she could have found the session that Benjamin Maron is leading at TribeFest, and decided that was worth mentioning. If you look at the JFNA’s own leadership briefing on TribeFest, there isn’t any mention of interfaith relationships as a topic.

    So now I don’t know. Is there a “trend” for the JFNA to discuss intermarriage?

  • Not trendy so much as emerging, I’d say. It’s an issue that’s current & relevant, which is, perhaps, what “trendy” means after all. But it’s one that matters in the now, & it makes sense that a trendy, relevant program is focusing on it. If that puts you guys at the forefront, all the better!

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