With approximately half the country's Jews marrying gentiles, the survival of American Judaism has become an open question.
To encourage Jews to marry within the faith, several local Jewish organizations are sponsoring tomorrow's "The Love, Dating & Ultimately Marriage Seminar," a seminar that applies the wisdom of the Torah to the world of romance. It begins at 5 p.m. at the Woodholme Country Club, 300 Woodholme Ave., in Pikesville.
"In Judaism, the continuity of the Jewish people is in the forefront of everyone's mind," said Rabbi Shlomo Porter, director of Etz Chaim, The Center for Jewish Living and Learning in Upper Park Heights, one of the program's sponsors.
"If Jews aren't going to marry other Jews, we're not going to survive," he said. "The intermarriage rate is zapping away at 40 or 50 percent of marriages. We need to concentrate and try and stop that."
The seminar is a national program that is coming to Baltimore "that has attracted a lot of singles to give them skills, to learn from Jewish tradition in relationship-building," Porter said.
"The Jewish community is affected by the secular community in terms of relationship-building," Porter said. "People are scared of divorce. And so there are singles who came to us and said this is something that would be very helpful."
The program combines Jewish tradition with psychology and humor to identify the principles that promote strong and lasting relationships. It begins by addressing issues that make or break relationships. It includes such discussions as "How to Have a Good Fight," "Which Qualities are Musts for a Marriage Partner?" and "The Language of Intimacy."
In addition to Etz Chaim, the seminar is sponsored by JCC Young Professionals, the Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, the Jewish Singles Social Network, and The Baltimore Jewish Times.
The cost of the seminar, which includes a buffet dinner, is $15. Information: 410-764-1553.