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Wiener’s Winning Column

There’s an interesting “back-story” behind Julie Wiener who, for nearly a decade, has been one of the most prolific and widely-read journalists in the Anglo-Jewish press, especially during her tenure as national reporter at the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), a kind of “Jewish Associated Press” feeding articles to local Jewish newspapers across North America. Currently writing a first-person monthly column called “In the Mix” for the New York Jewish Week, she reveals something few readers would have known about her based on her prior objective news reporting: she is intermarried.

That a prominent Jewish communal professional is intermarried comes as no surprise to us at JOI. The high intermarriage rate has permeated all aspects of non-Orthodox Jewish life, including among communal professionals. What is amazing about Wiener’s column is the open way in which she discusses her personal journey, especially considering that being intermarried is probably the most closeted topic among professionals in the organized Jewish community today.

To date she has written three very intriguing columns that we highly recommend reading:

  • Conversionary Tactics(4/21/06) about the challenge of promoting Jewish conversion to non-Jewish spouses;
  • A Rosenblum By Any Other Name…(5/19/06) about whether to give her daughter a “Jewish-sounding” name;
  • And “Making the Cut(6/16/06) about the emotional issues surrounding ritual circumcision for new parents who are intermarried.

We look forward to reading many more columns from Ms. Wiener, and we are especially thankful to our friends at the New York Jewish Week—the largest local Jewish newspaper in North America—for having the conviction to publish it. (NOTE: if you live in the New York City region and don’t subscribe to the Jewish Week, you can try it free for two months through a special arrangement with JOI by completing this form.)



2 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for bringing up this important issue. I was surprised by how much it moved me to see a prominent Jewish professional “coming out” as intermarried. It is so nice to see someone being so honest, nuanced, and articulate about some of the issues that we deal with when we choose to work for the Jewish community and also fall in love with someone wonderful who happens to have a different religious background than we do.

    Personally, as a Jewish professional who is both gay and in an interfaith relationship, I have been thinking a lot about the whole “coming out” issue. Strangely, I have been finding that both colleagues and family members are finding it easier to accept the gay aspect of my relationship than the interfaith part.

    Thanks, JOI, for continuing to foster discussion of this and other important issues!

    Comment by Rebecca — July 19, 2006 @ 11:37 am

  2. i am proud of the Jewish Week for allowing Julie Wiener to be so open about a topic that is normally behind closed doors to the Jewish community. Ms. Wiener is sincere and does not hide the fact that her husband is (a lapsed) Catholic from her readers, and her bravery to be so forward on this issue speaks volumes of her. even if a Jewish professional is intermarried (and there are probably several who are, more than we may realize), it should not impact their performance in the field. clearly, Ms. Wiener has not let her intermarriage slow her down from conveying important issues to the general Jewish public, and it has not affected how her daughter is being raised- as a Jew.

    Comment by heather — July 25, 2006 @ 8:32 am

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