THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 147
Chapter 5: I Am a Jew
 
 
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I Am a Jew 147

bphenomenon of alienated Jews, when the JDL came into bexistence. Statistics, trends, and everyday experience made bit abundantly clear that assimilation and intermarriage were bincreasing at a frightening rate. Figures that were already boutdated when JDL came into being showed a 1959 inter- bmarriage rate of 17.2 percent, a 1960 New York rate of 18.4 bpercent and a 1963 Iowa rate of 53.6 percent. Erich Rosen- bthal in his Studies of Jewish Intermarriage in the United States bshows a Washington, D.C., 1956 rate of intermarriage bamong American-born husbands of American-born par- bents of 17.9 percent. Since that time, needless to say, the bfigures have become much bleaker and the Jewish groups bwho rallied against a fictional television series that dealt with bintermarriage did not begin to understand that the real-life bversion was far more foreboding and could not be dealt with bthrough protests to a commercial sponsor.

bMore, intermarriage went hand in hand with an assimila- btion that found Jews no longer converting to another faith bbut simply disappearing from the Jewish scene, feeling no bJewish commitment at all, no need in any way to be Jewish. bWhat so many Jewish groups had ardently wanted and bstubbornly fought for—the mixed fraternity, the open bcountry club, the knocking down of social barriers—was bnow theirs for the asking, and Jewish youth was asking! His bpoor parents could only stand pathetically by and murmur, b“But we didn’t mean for him to go that far.” Poor, foolish bJews.

bThe young Jew simply did not see any reason to feel banything about being Jewish, and the Look magazine May 5, b1964, article titled “The Vanishing American Jew” was chill- bing. According to a 1972 survey at the University of bCalifornia, close to one half of the 7,000 Jews studied agreed bthat intermarriage was a reality and a positive event that bshould not be fought. As to the question concerning inter- bdating, 60 percent viewed it positively, some adding, provid- bing it was not with Blacks—apparently the only nachas (joy) bleft to the American Jewish grandmother.

bAnd while every decade approximately half a million Jews bsimply disappear into the general American society and are b 

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THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 147
Chapter 5: I Am a Jew